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February 1, 2018

Screencasting Wars

Filed under: Main — Tags: — admin @ 12:01 am

It’s been a few years since we cut the cable. Now I have several choices for my viewing pleasure. I have my computer, my tablet, and my phone. I have a Nexus Player box on the Big TV. I can also screencast from my Android devices as well as my PCs. Because our TVs have Chromecast dongles attached, I can cast to any screen that’s active — but so can any other user on the network.

Yet, from what I can surmise, only one device can cast on the Wi-Fi network at a time.

Say you have an Android phone and you have multiple TVs with Chromecast dongles attached. You want to binge watch Netfix, so you power on one of the TVs and set the HDMI input to Chromecast. After it’s warmed up, on your phone you start the Netflix app and tap the Chromecast icon, similar to what’s shown at the top of this post. Choose the given TV from the list. Start watching your show.

While you’re watching, the Chromecast notification appears on every Android device connected that same Wi-Fi network. In fact, anyone else with an Android could pause the show. That’s because only one device at a time can screencast. And that screencast is shared by every Android gizmo on the wireless network.

Say someone else wants to watch something: They can fire up a YouTube video, tap the Chromecast icon, then replace your Netflix show with something else on YouTube.

Or say someone wants to watch a Google Play Movie on another TV, that screencast takes over your screencast. I’ve done this trick a few times to shock my boys. It’s hilarious.

I’m not complaining, mostly because we have plenty of TVs and tablets that people can always watch something without being interrupted. But it’s weird that only one device can stream to only one output on a single Wi-Fi network. Maybe Google didn’t think screencast competition would be a problem. I suppos as screencasting becomes more common, the rule that “there can be only one” might change.

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