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UK broadcasters shun Google Chromecast

Exclusive Don't they have Chromes to go to?
Fri Apr 04 2014, 13:53

Google Chromecast1UK BROADCASTERS are shunning Google's Chromecast, with no other major players planning to join the BBC and BT Sport in supporting the TV streaming dongle.

The INQUIRER contacted ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky to ask whether they will adapt their streaming media players for Chromecast.

ITV told us, "There are no immediate plans for ITV Player to go on Chromecast but we will continue to look at opportunities going forward."

Channel 4, whose 4OD service is available as an app but streams its channels live via Sky Go, said it has no plans to support Chromecast. At a leadership breakfast this week, Channel 4 CEO David Abraham responded to a question from Google regarding Chromecast support by dismissing it as "just one of a plethora of devices that will trickle into homes".

TVcatchup, the cross platform app for live television streaming that recently was forced to remove channels owned by ITV and Channel 4 after a court ruling, was even more scathing, telling its forum users, "We have done extensive testing into this and it just isn't powerful enough to reliable carry a live stream and push it out again - well, not enough to put our stamp of approval on it."

The post continued, "It is okay for recorded media but when it comes to a live stream it just doesn't cut the mustard I'm afraid, that is why there are no live TV apps for Chromecast in their store.

However, it did say, "Maybe if they improve it in the future then we will look again at this as we will always look to improving the service."

Sky gave a slightly more positive, if non-committal, response, saying, "We are always looking at potential distribution platforms for Sky GO and Now TV including Chromecast." Sky has its own set-top box for Now TV, a custom version of the Roku 2 that's available for £9.99, but it requires a subscription for most services.

Channel 5 was the only broadcaster to offer something slightly more positive than refusing to confirm or deny its plans, with a spokeman telling The INQUIRER, "The digital team [doesn't] share [its] roadmap for platform development."

Although screencasting from a desktop web browser is a workaround solution for users who wish to use TVcatchup services, The INQUIRER's attempts to watch TV this way proved less than fruitful.

With competition from Now TV's own streaming box, Roku, Apple TV and most recently Amazon Fire TV, along with existing set-top boxes and games consoles, this lack of enthusiasm from the UK mainstream could threaten the success of the fledgling Chromecast device, which - although it is significantly cheaper than its rivals - is not capable of harnessing existing apps without software development assistance.

Amazon's Fire TV app, meanwhile, runs Android apps from the Kindle Fire Store, and Amazon revealed at launch that it is non-proprietary, offering users access to both its own Amazon Prime Instant Video service and rival Netflix. µ


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