Software & Web Development

New Chrome feature lets you watch Chromecast holdouts like Amazon Video on your TV

High-quality Amazon Video streaming is coming to the Chromecast, thanks to Google. The company is working on improvements to the quality of casting video from a Google Chrome tab on a PC to a TV, as first announced by Google Evangelist François Beaufort on Google+.

For those willing to tinker with their browser, the feature is available right now via an experimental flag in recent versions of Chrome for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chromecast.

Tab casting (also known as screen mirroring) from a PC is currently the only way to get Amazon Video on Chromecast. Since the quality is so terrible, however, Amazon Video is essentially unavailable. Streaming any kind of video from services that don’t already support Chromecast means tab casting with poor video quality, lots of stutter, and random jumps in audio.

The new feature improves this dire situation by forwarding the video bitstream directly to Chromecast when a video is being played on the source device in full screen. The feature should work with any unsupported video a user comes across online, but it will benefit Amazon Video users the most since that service is unlikely to ever support Chromecast due to the Fire TV’s existence.

I tried the feature casting an animated show from a Windows 10 PC with Chrome 57 to a 42-inch 1080p TV over a moderately fast 2.4GHz network. The HD image quality was just as good as Netflix or any other streaming service, with a picture that didn’t stutter or jump once.

Ian Paul/IDG

The impact on you at home: If you’d like to try the new feature yourself, type the following into your address bar: chrome://flags/#media-remoting and then hit Enter. Under the option highlighted in yellow labeled “Media Remoting during Cast Tab Mirroring” click the drop down menu, select Enabled, and then relaunch Chrome.

Now go to Amazon Video or Vimeo (which doesn’t support Chromecast from the desktop web), start playing a video, cast the tab to your television, and then make the video full screen. The quality on your TV should be better than anything you’ve experienced before with unsupported services.

It’s not clear when this feature will be built-in to the stable version of Chrome without the need to manipulate an experimental flag.

IDG Insider


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