CheapCast project turns any mini PC, smartphone or tablet into Chromecast clone

cheapcastGoogle may have created a new product for coders to rave over in its Chromecast dongle, but given the level of hardware inside it (which isn’t all that much), it’s surprising we haven’t heard of something similar being done with the existing billions of mini PCs on the market.

We’ve already told you about the new AirCast app that gives Chromecast more Miracast-like features such as direct-streaming from your Android phone. Now a new app has surfaced called CheapCast that enables any humble mini PC with at least Android 4.x into a ChromeCast clone – or so the theory goes.

According to cnx-software.com, the app has been around for some time but some recent bug fixes have enabled a Tronsmart T428 TV stick mini PC to stream videos from YouTube using the Cast button, similar to a genuine Chromecast dongle. However, at this stage, it only works with YouTube and Google Music, so in an effort to speed things along, CheapCast developer Sebastian Mauer has released to source code under the Apache License 2.0 in the hope of getting some extra hands making ligher work.

You can grab the source code from the CheapCast GitHub. Load the source code into Eclipse, compile it and load it onto your mini PC for a try-out. Of course, the source code should also work for smartphones and tablets too – all you need is a working Wi-Fi connection and Android 4.x operating system on-board.

But if you can lend a hand and contribute to the coding of this project, all the better.

Google’s ChromeCast is a small mini PC-like dongle selling for $35 in the US and features a cut-down Android operating system running on a Marvell 88DE3005-A1 SoC CPU now known as the Marvell Armada 1500-mini. It comes with 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, 512MB of RAM, 2GB of flash and an HDMI plug. Chromecast allows you to stream video via the web using your PC, smartphone or tablet as a remote control.

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