Chromecast has a Google TV OS at heart, piquing app devs' interest

Chromecast apps list grows
More Android than Chrome OS

Update: Chromecast seems to be casting an even wider net, hooking an in-the-works Hulu Plus app for Google's inexpensive media streaming dongle.

"We are actively working with Google to bring Hulu Plus to the platform," said Hulu spokesperson Meredith Kendall to Variety.

This is interesting because Hulu had long been skittish about joining the Google TV platform for years, forcing owners to resort to hacks to stream Hulu Plus content.

Original article...

Is Google TV or Chrome OS at the heart of Chromecast? Google said it was the latter, but hackers have rooted the media streaming adapter to discover Google TV is the OS behind the curtain.

"We had a lot of internal discussion on this, and have concluded that it's more Android than Chrome OS," revealed the GTV Hacker team, which rooted the newly launched device within four days.

"To be specific, it's actually a modified Google TV release."

The team isn't ruling out Chromecast's ability to become a "Google TV stick" in the future.

More apps on the way?

Having Google TV at the heart of Chromecast means that a variety of existing apps could come to Google's ultra-cheap media streaming device, currently priced at $35 (about £23, AU$39).

Redbox Instant and Vimeo apps are reportedly going to work with the dongle, according to Gigaom, and media streaming service Plex hinted at supporting it.

"Wow, lots of interest in Chromecast and Plex. Yes, we've ordered a few of them," tweeted Plex from its official Twitter account.

HBO Go, Sling Media express interest

Premium cable channel HBO told TechRadar that it is "actively exploring supporting Chromecast as another way to enjoy HBO Go, but at this point we can't comment on specific plans regarding timing."

That same wait-and-see sentiment was echoed by Slingbox-maker Sling Media.

"Right now, the SlingPlayer app is not available on Chromecast, but we're always evaluating new platforms for future development," a spokesperson told TechRadar.

A Chromecast of thousands?

So far Chromecast only supports a few apps, including YouTube, Netflix, Google Movies & TV and Google Play Music. Pandora is one of the few that Google has confirmed to be in the pipeline.

That contrasts with Google's slow-to-grow TV platform, which boasts a lot more apps.

However, Google TV's modified Honeycomb OS comes tied to either a "buddy box" like the Netgear NeoTV Max or an even more costly integrated TV from manufacturers like LG or Hisense.

The inexpensive Chromium solves the complicated hardware issue, and having an Android-based OS means it could start serving existing Google TV-compatible apps in the near term.

If that's the case, Google may be on its way to opening Chromecast's doors to a variety of app developers, something that Apple hasn't done with its extremely limited Apple TV.

Matt Swider