Google is all set to challenge Apple TV and Roku by starting to fill the app void by announcing a key update that allows a major app to work with the $35 streaming dongle: Showtime Anytime. The video streaming app is Showtime’s version of HBO Go, delivering to movies and original series like “Homeland” and “The Affair.”
A similar app, Starz Play, also added Chromecast support today. Like HBO Go, both require an active subscription to Showtime and/or Starz and authentication via your cable or satellite provider.
Showtime Anytime has been available on Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV for a while, but Starz Play is not available on any of those three platforms yet.
Google’s announcement also touted a few new “party” games adding support for Chromecast. They include Wheel of Fortune, Just Dance Now, Emoji Party, Big Web Quiz, Simon Swipe, Connect Four Quads and Hasbro’s Monopoly Dash. All are said to facilitate family fun on the TV screen.
All Chromecast-compatible apps work via Google’s Cast technology, which allows content from your phone or tablet app to appear on the big screen. The process works well, but since it requires a phone it’s less convenient than using a “native” app on a traditional streaming box.
The addition of “party” game apps just adds to Chromecast’s appeal as an innovative, inexpensive, living-room entertainment platform.