Popular media casting app AllCast is launching on iOS

iOS is great for using Airplay, but sending photos, videos or music to anything other than an Apple TV can be a bit more challenging. AllCast now wants to solve this with its new iOS app, which allows users to send their personal media to Google’s Chromecast streaming stick, Roku devices, Amazon’s Fire TV, Microsoft’s Xbox and a variety of smart TVs, as well as Apple TV.

AllCast is not a newcomer to personal media casting: The app has more than three million users on Android. In fact, AllCast was the very first app to bring personal media sharing to Chromecast, months before Google officially released an SDK to bring this functionality to third-party developers.

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I had a brief chance to check out the AllCast for iOS app on my iPad this week, and it worked mostly as it should, allowing me to cast photos and videos both from the device itself as well as from Google+ to my Chromecast streaming stick. Casting from a DLNA media server also worked, but I couldn’t really get music casting to work with Chromecast. I also briefly tried AllCast for iOS in tandem with a Roku streaming stick, and had a bit of a rockier experience — casting photos worked fine, but videos and music wouldn’t play.

It’s also worth noting that AllCast for iOS still has fewer online content sources than AllCast for Android, but the app can already access content from Google+, Google Drive, Instagram and Dropbox — and even more if you pair it with a Plex Media Server. Plus if the pace of the Allcast for Android development is any indication, then we should be seeing more media sources (and hopefully fewer playback issues) very soon.

TCL and Philips add Firefox OS-based Chromecast competitor to TVs

Matchstick, the Firefox OS-based Chromecast competitor that made waves on Kickstarter last year, is teaming up with TCL and Philips/AOC to integrate its technology into TVs, monitors and set-top boxes. Matchstick CEO Jack Chang told me at CES in Las Vegas Monday that he expects these new partners to ship around one million devices powered by Matchstick’s multiscreen technology this year.

At the core of the partnership between [company]Matchstick[/company], [company]TCL[/company] and [company]Philips[/company] is Flint, a new technology that brings multiscreen interaction to Firefox OS-powered TV devices. Flint is essentially Matchstick’s answer to Google Cast, with the key difference that it is completely open source, allowing anyone to build Flint-capable hardware or software. “With Flint, we are hoping to extend to all kinds of consumer electronics devices,” Chang said.

Chang said both TCL and Philips already have devices that are powered by the same chipset as the original Matchstick streaming stick, which made it easy to port Flint. TV sets and other devices from TCL and Philips will still run their own native apps, but also offer multiscreen interaction through Flint as an added benefit, Chang explained. Flint-powered devices from TCL and Philips are expected to be available as early as Q2, and Chang told me that both companies would make them available worldwide.

At CES, Matchstick is unveiling Flint with a number of demos, which include HTML, Android and Firefox OS apps capable of flinging content to the TV. As with Chromecast, Flint is capable of handing off interaction to the cloud, so that users can launch media playback on their phone, and then do something else or even turn the phone off, with playback continuing on their TVs.

Unlike Chromecast, it will also allow ad-hoc mode, meaning that users will be able to stream directly to the device without the need for any internet connectivity — something that will come in handy for travelers looking to watch videos in their hotel room.

Word about a Firefox OS-based Chromecast competitor first got out when I got hold of one of these devices last June. Matchstick then started a Kickstarter for its streaming stick in October, and raised some $470,000 in the process. The company is expected to ship its first streaming sticks in February.

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Allcast gets ready for iOS closed beta test

Popular Android media casting app Allcast is getting ready to take the leap to iPads and iPhones: Allcast developer Koushik “Koush” Dutta asked users to sign up for a closed beta test of Allcast for iOS on Google+ Friday. Dutta had first announced that he was bringing Allcast to iOS in late August, and at the time shared some first screenshots of the app. Allcast was the first Android app to bring personal media sharing to Chromecast back in 2013 even before Google had officially released the Chromecast SDK.