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Enable Chromecast on the Sender

This article explains how to enable the Chromecast Sender capabilities on the Web SDK, iOS SDK and Android SDK. This article also documents how you can connect with a customer Chromecast Receiver application.

Table of Contents

Prerequirements

  1. The Chromecast feature needs to be enabled for your THEOplayer SDK. (THEOplayer is built in a modular fashion, and this feature might be disabled for your SDK.)
  2. You need to import the Chromecast Sender SDK

Import Chromecast Sender SDK

Web SDK

To allow Chromecast playback you need to include Google's Chromecast Sender SDK, which is a JavaScript file. The JavaScript snippet below illustrates how you include this Sender SDK. You can read more about it at https://developers.google.com/cast/docs/web_sender.

<script type="text/javascript" src="//www.gstatic.com/cv/js/sender/v1/cast_sender.js?loadCastFramework=1"></script>

Once this SDK is imported, THEOplayer will automatically add the Chromecast casting capability to your player (if you've enabled the Chromecast feature for your THEOplayer SDK).

Android SDK

In order to enable Chromecast on the THEOplayer Android SDK:

  1. Use a version of THEOplayer’s Android SDK ≥ 1.0.9.

    If you are using the Unified Android SDK, which combines all Android platforms in a single SDK, the setup is slightly different. Starting from 3.3.0 you are able to add Chromecast support by adding the dependency in your build.gradle file.

    implementation 'com.theoplayer.theoplayer-sdk-android:unified:+'
    implementation 'com.theoplayer.theoplayer-sdk-android:unified-cast:+' // add cast dependency

    Notes:

    • Using the Unified Cast dependency allows you to skip step 2, as the cast module includes the required dependencies.
    • More information on the Unified SDK can be found on our GitHub or in the changelog.
  2. Include the Cast Framework and Media Router libraries

    To add Chromecast support you need to include the Cast Framework and Media Router libraries under the dependencies node in your build.gradle file.

    implementation 'androidx.mediarouter:mediarouter:1.1.0'
    implementation 'com.google.android.gms:play-services-cast-framework:19.0.0'

    Note: you may need to adjust the above snippet to match your Android setup.

  3. Set CastOptionsProvider:

    To enable Chromecast on Android a CastOptionsProvider should be specified. This class contains the configuration for Chromecast on Android. A DefaultCastOptionsProvider is provided as part of the THEOplayer Android SDK. This DefaultCastOptionsProvider associates the default THEOplayer Chromecast receiver application with your Sender application. You will need to register this class in your AndroidManifest.xml file within a meta-data tag under your application node, as demonstrated at https://github.com/THEOplayer/samples-android-sdk/blob/master/Google-Cast/app/src/main/AndroidManifest.xml#L17-L19.

    <meta-data
        android:name="com.google.android.gms.cast.framework.OPTIONS_PROVIDER_CLASS_NAME"
        android:value="com.theoplayer.android.api.cast.chromecast.DefaultCastOptionsProvider"/>

Optional: Add routing button to your app

In order to get this button to appear in your application's Toolbar, the easiest way is to include it in the menu XML file for your Activity.

  1. In your res folder add a menu folder
  2. Add an activity_main_menu.xml file
  3. Add the following contents to this file:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<menu xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto">
    <item
    android:id="@+id/media_route_menu_item"
    android:title="Cast"
    app:actionProviderClass="android.support.v7.app.MediaRouteActionProvider"
    app:showAsAction="always" />
</menu>
  1. Initialize this new MenuItem in the onCreateOptionsMenu method of your Activity. (Make sure you have an AppCompatActivity).
@Override
public boolean onCreateOptionsMenu(Menu menu) {
        super.onCreateOptionsMenu(menu);
        getMenuInflater().inflate(R.menu.activity_main_menu, menu);
        CastButtonFactory.setUpMediaRouteButton(getApplicationContext(),
            menu, R.id.media_route_menu_item);
        return true;
}

Optional: Add MiniController to your app

In your main activity xml add the following fragment:

<fragment
        android:id="@+id/castMiniController"
        android:layout_width="match_parent"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:layout_alignParentBottom="true"
        android:visibility="gone"
        class="com.google.android.gms.cast.framework.media.widget.MiniControllerFragment" />

Optional: Set a CastStrategy to your THEOplayerConfig

THEOplayer Android SDK support Chromecast CastStrategy to define the joining behaviour.

new THEOplayerConfig.Builder()
    .castStrategy(CastStrategy.AUTO)
    .build();

Notes

  • Please note that Chromecast support is not available for the Android TV SDK (when considering the Android TV SDK the Sender application). 

iOS SDK

In order to enable Chromecast on the iOS SDK:

  1. Use a version of THEOplayer’s iOS SDK ≥ 1.0.3
  2. Setup the Cast Framework:

    iOS 14 Warning: Changes to iOS 14 local network access permissions have impacted the Google Cast iOS SDK in a number of ways. Please see the iOS 14 Changes document to see how your app is affected.

    THEOplayer iOS SDK version 2.85.0 upgrades Google Cast SDK to 4.6.0 which contains the iOS 14 specific changes from Google.

    iOS 13 Warning: Apple permissions changes to iOS 13 and Xcode 11 have impacted the Google Cast iOS SDK in a number of ways. Please see the iOS 13 Changes document to see how your app will be impacted.

    iOS 12 Warning: If developing using Xcode 10 and targeting iOS devices running iOS 12 or higher, the "Access WiFi Information" capability is required in order to discover and connect to Cast devices.

    https://developers.google.com/cast/docs/iossendersetup

    Static vs Dynamic Framework: Because the THEOplayer iOS SDK is a Dynamic Framework, it should not include any dependency frameworks on which it relies (e.g. the Chromecast SDK). Instead, developers should include the dependencies on which THEOplayer relies. Therefore, using a Dynamic Framework ensures that there are no symbol clashes. More info can be found in this article: https://medium.com/onfido-tech/reusing-code-and-resources-with-swift-static-libraries-and-resource-bundles-d070e82d3b3d

    Cocoapods setup

    Supported until version '4.3.0', pending further investigation for versions above '4.3.0'.

    # Comment the next line if you are not using Swift and do not want to use dynamic frameworks
    use_frameworks!
    
    # Uncomment the next line to define a global platform for your project
    # platform :ios, '9.0'
    
    def target_pods
      pod 'google-cast-sdk'
    end
    
    target'YourProjectTarget' do
        # Select one of the chromecast versions
        pod 'google-cast-sdk', '4.3.0'
    end

    Manual setup

    Download the Dynamic Cast Framework from the google developer website. Libraries without guest mode have been provided for situations where your app does not require the feature or you do not wish to require Bluetooth® permissions, which have been introduced in iOS 13. Please see the iOS 13 Changes document for more information.

  3. Set GCKCastContext

    To enable Chromecast on iOS the GCKCastContext shared instance should be set with a GCKCastOptions.

    let options = GCKCastOptions(receiverApplicationID: "A1B2C3D4")
    GCKCastContext.setSharedInstanceWith(options)

    or use the default THEOplayer cast options.

    THEOplayerCastHelper.setGCKCastContextSharedInstanceWithDefaultCastOptions()

    That 's it. When chromecast enabled devices are discovered, the player will display a Chromecast button. The player also works nicely together with the Chromecast controls that are part of the Chromecast Framework, (e.g. GCKUICastButton or the mini controller).

Connect with custom Chromecast Receiver application

The THEOplayer SDK on your Sender application connects with a Chromecast Receiver application by default, but you can connect it with a customer Chromecast Receiver application instead.

Web SDK

If you have your own Receiver app, then you adjust the PlayerConfiguration to connect with a specific appID as demonstrated below.

let customChromecastReceiverAppID = '1ADD53F3';
let player = new THEOplayer.Player(element, {
    libraryLocation: '...',
    license: '...',
    cast: {
      chromecast: {
        appID: customChromecastReceiverAppID
      }
    }
});

Android SDK

To connect with a custom Chromecast Receiver application, you can create your own CastOptionsProvider by subclassing com.google.android.gms.cast.framework.OptionsProvider and implementing the getCastOptions method. This approach is further demonstrated at https://github.com/THEOplayer/samples-android-sdk/tree/master/Google-Cast/guides/howto-google-cast-integration#initializing-cast-context, and in the snippet below.

@Override
public CastOptions getCastOptions(Context context) {
    return new CastOptions.Builder()
        .setReceiverApplicationId(DEFAULT_APP_ID)
        .build();
}

iOS SDK

By default THEOplayer’s Receiver app will be set when you set THEOplayerCastHelper.setGCKCastContextSharedInstanceWithDefaultCastOptions().

You can connect with a custom Receiver app by configuring its ID through GCKCastContext.setSharedInstanceWith(GCKCastOptions(receiverApplicationID: "A1B2C3D4")).

This approach is further demonstrated at https://github.com/THEOplayer/samples-ios-sdk/tree/master/Google-Cast/Guides/howto-google-cast-integration#gckcastcontext.

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