Casting video content to your Android TV device will hopefully feel more native in the near future thanks to the introduction of Cast Connect. As pointed out by Twitter user Android TV Guide, this new feature will have the benefit of making it possible to use your remote control for casted videos.
A Google developer page explains how the new Cast Connect library works. It builds on top of the Google Cast infrastructure with the Android TV device acting as the Cast Receiver. After integrating the library, Android TV apps can receive Cast messages and broadcast media status as if they were actual Google Cast devices. Google says that in addition to loading media and playback control, the Cast Connect library also features media metadata, custom messages, repeat/shuffle, and sender join/leave events. Here’s a video from Google aimed at helping developers understand how to integrate this library:
In essence, content that’s casted from, say, your phone to your Android TV will be handled by a supported app instead of being opened up in an HTML5 player. As a consequence, you’ll be able to control content using an existing remote control rather than, say, your phone. That makes the casting experience feel more integrated, and it’s also better for users since the dedicated Android TV app may support more features and codecs than the generic HTML5 player. And if a supported app isn’t detected or if there’s a mismatch in user profiles when casting, then the Cast Connect library will initiate the session using the HTML5 player as a fallback.
As of now, developers must add Cast Connect support to their Android TV apps for the new features to work. Google also notes that Assistant functionality isn’t fully supported by Cast Connect at the moment, which means you won’t be able to control casted content by voice.
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