Google’s Chromecast turns the phone in your pocket into a really, really great TV remote — which is great, until your TV remote is nearby, but your phone for some reason isn’t.
Surprise! Chromecast suddenly lets you pause and un-pause videos with your TV’s infrared remote.
While it doesn’t seem that Google has officially announced the functionality, I’ve just tested it myself — and sure enough, it works. Here’s an on-the-fly demo:
“But wait!” you say. “The Chromecast doesn’t have an infrared receiver! How can an infrared remote control it?”
It’s all working through the magic of HDMI-CEC, the same protocol that allows the Chromecast to automatically turn your Smart TV on when it’s video time.
The bad news: that means it won’t work with all TVs, though most made within the last few years should be HDMI-CEC enabled. Some TVs sort of hide the protocol to avoid confusing people — so if you’re not sure, check your manual. (Oh, and your TV’s remote will need a dedicated play/pause button, of course.)
The functionality also seems to be enabled on an app-by-app basis. It doesn’t work when you’re casting from Hulu, for example — but from YouTube? It worked immediately, without me having to change a thing.
According to /r/Chromecast, it’s currently working in HBO Go, WatchESPN, Chrome’s built-in web player, Allcast, BBC iPlayer, Google Play Music and TuneIn Radio.
[via Janko Roettgers]