Only a few years back, DiskStations were network devices mainly used for file sharing. Today, they make setting up your own Media Center a breeze, along with streaming your entire media collection to a TV or speakers via Airplay, DLNA or Bluetooth. Actually you can now add Chromecast to that list: Google’s small dongle can now talk to your DiskStation!
What is Chromecast?
Launched less than a year ago, Chromecast is an innovative way to easily stream movies or music to a TV: plug it into the HDMI port of a monitor, and stream to it using your phone as a remote control. Some might call it “Google’s Airplay”: however at $35 USD, it makes streaming to your TV far more affordable that with an Apple TV… explaining the little dongle’s popularity! Obviously, we believe this is going to be a great match for DiskStation and Synology users!
How do I stream to Chromecast?
Using our 2 mobile apps: DS audio and DS video, on either Android or iOS. After upgrading to DSM 5.0 (as well as upgrading the Video Station package), you’ll notice your Chromecast listed alongside your AppleTV and DLNA players. A tap later the Chromecast will be ready for action, and you, geared up for an exciting movie night.
In DS video, you’ll also notice a “Chromecast” section (in iOS sliding menus and Android action menu), and it serves a specific but essential purpose: should you kill the app while streaming and log back in, you can get back control over your Chromecast (“re-attach” it) by selecting it in that list.
About Chromecast in DS apps
Implementation in our 2 “DS apps” is slightly different than in Youtube for instance, in which Chromecasts are listed separately under their own icon. When we implement a feature such as Airplay or Chromecast, we always follow the “general” practices, so as to reduce the learning curve of our users. However DS audio and DS video already have a mode for streaming to other Apple TV, DLNA and UPnP devices (the remote mode). Following Youtube’s implementation would have conflicted with this remote mode: when selecting an Apple TV for playback, the video starts streaming directly, there is no “attaching” to the device.
Some of you may also notice a difference between Chromecast and other devices when using DS video/audio as a remote: you can stream to a Chromecast which is in the same network as your mobile device, not necessarily the network of your DiskStation. What does that mean? Well typically, if you’re at your friend’s place, you can connect to your DiskStation back at home, and stream your movie/music collection directly to his Chromecast, a great way to “share” your collection. Does this mean the stream is going through your mobile device which acts as a bottleneck, as with the native Airplay sharing function of your iDevice? No worries to have on that front, as Google’s dongle gives you the best of both worlds. Chromecast is basically a Chrome browser, you can’t see it, you can’t feel it, but it’s there: when you select a song to stream, DS audio/video simply passes the HTTP(S) url to the browser, meaning the stream goes from the DiskStation to the Chromecast, the device is never a bottleneck. And if you kill the app or log out, streaming will carry on uninterrupted!
Judging by the eagerness with which Chromecast support has been asked for, we believe this is great news for all of you with a Chromecast, so no time to lose… happy casting!
[Edit 20/10/2014: Since the updates of DS video for DSM 5.1 beta, the Chromecast section has been removed since the re-attaching mechanism has been included in Video Station]