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Fling: An Open Source App for Chromecast Streaming

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aGNUdomain.com — Earlier this month Google introduced Chromecast, a $35 HDMI dongle that allows you to stream Netflix, YouTube and other Internet content directly to your TV from your smartphone or Chrome browser. While I was impressed with the simplicity of Chromecast, I was not nearly as impressed as my Attack of the Androids cohort Seth Heringer was. My major gripe with Chromecast  is that it is mainly geared toward streaming Internet content and does not offer the same, easy experience when streaming content on your local network. Fling is a simple Java application that solves that exact problem by giving users a way to drag and drop video files which will then stream to Chromecast.

Screenshot image credits: Eric Finkenbiner

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Fling works by utilizing the RAMP (remote application media protocol) and VLC’s transcoding ability to convert your video file into a WebM media format and stream it to your Chromecast. Because Fling is transcoding the video on the fly, it can be CPU-intensive and will cause a few seconds delay before the video begins.

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Fling uses both VLC and Java, so you must install both of them before it will work. Once they are installed, you can download Fling and launch it by simply double-clicking the file. If that does not work, you can also launch via command line by typing java -jar fling.jar. Once you launch Fling, it will automatically search for your Chromecast. After that, you simply need to drag and drop the file you want to play into the application.

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While Fling is functional in most aspects, it still needs some work. In my testing I came across some video files which never started playing even after feeding them through the Fling application. The user interface could also use some work as it is very basic and built with Java’s Swing components. While this next comment is purely a superficial criticism, I still despise the look of applications using Swing. But all these criticisms are minor compared to the benefit that you will get from using Fling. If you have a Chromecast but find yourself a bit underwhelmed, give Fling a try.

For aGNUdomain.com, I’m Eric Finkenbiner.

Based in Rangoon, Burma, Eric Finkenbiner is a foreign service IT specialist for the U.S. Department of State — and a senior contributor on the deeptech and rooting beat at aNewDomain.net.

 

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