Oct 22, 2013 03:04 PM EDT
Google’s Chromecast streaming media dongle has added yet another offering to its ever-growing stable of video content. Previously, the Hulu Plus app was available to stream to Chromecast via Android or iPad, but on Monday, Hulu announced that the capability was being extended to its iPhone app as well.
“The Hulu Plus integration with Chromecast will convert your app into a custom remote letting you control video on your Chromecast connected TVs, while allowing you to browse the Hulu Plus app directly from your iPhone,” said Karan Nischol, senior product manager, in a Hulu blog post.
The Google Chromecast is a $35, 2.83-inch USB dongle that plugs into any HDTV and allows users to stream media through supported apps or the Chrome web browser. Chromecast debuted back in July and originally came with free access to Netflix for three months. Due to extremely high consumer demand however, the Netflix promotion was axed within 24 hours of the dongle hitting store shelves.
Ironically, while the new feature is sure to appease many users, a large segment of Chromecast owners has been using the dongle to bypass the $8 a month Hulu Plus subscription entirely. Hulu’s streaming service is free when accessed through a traditional computer and using Google’s USB dongle, viewers can simply stream their browser window directly to their TV, rather than paying for the same content to stream natively.
"What we’re seeing is consumers ultimately want their content, first and foremost, on the biggest screen in their home," Parks Associates Research Director Brett Sappington told the LA Times. "In many cases, the content rights don't really allow that to happen. So, Chromecast provides a work-around."
While the versatility of Google’s Chromecast dongle is one of its greatest differentiators against streaming devices like the Roku Player and Apple TV, it is also a significant cause for concern among many media owners, who worry for their ability to assert copyrights.
The issue of copyright might be one of the chief reasons for Chromecast’s thus-far limited availability. The dongle is only available for purchase in the US at the moment. Still, reports last week suggested that many international users have been able to download the Chromecast app through the Google Play store, which might indicate a possible international launch in the not too distant future.
In addition to Hulu Plus streaming, a number of native apps are currently in development for Chromecast, including iHeartRADIO, HBO Go, Pandora Radio, Redbox Instant, Vimeo and others.
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