Android TV is an excellent operating system for smart TVs and set-top boxes. It’s based on Android (although Google could be rebranding the name so the average user won’t know that) and has access to a special catalog of apps optimized for TVs in Google Play. One of the best features of the platform, though, is integrated support for the Google Cast protocol. All Android TV certified devices can act as a Chromecast receiver thanks to the pre-installed “Chromecast Built-in” app. If you’ve ever owned a Chromecast device, you’ll know how convenient this feature is. Now, Android TV’s built-in Cast functionality is getting a new feature: Playing casted audio content in the background.
If you don’t have an Android TV right now, this news may come as a bit of a shock. After all, why would Android TV not allow you to play casted audio in the background? You have to keep in mind that we’re talking about TVs and set-top boxes connected to TVs, and as such, you’re probably not doing a lot of multitasking on them. But if you want to do it, now you can. All you have to do is open an app like Spotify or YouTube Music and then cast from your phone to your TV. (We should note that you can already play music in the background in some apps like Spotify for Android TV, but this new feature extends this functionality to other music apps you might use.)
9to5Google’s original coverage notes that backgrounding casted audio works with most music apps. It doesn’t work with casted video, though, as video content will cease when you press the home button. The notification itself provides you with basic controls: It shows the album art, the artist’s name, and of course, the song title. You also get a couple of buttons: “Open” to go back to the app that’s playing it and “Stop” to cease casting. If music is already playing from one app and you start media in another app, music playback will either continue or halt depending on the app. 9to5Google notes that Google Play Movies and Disney+ keep music playing while Hulu won’t.
It’s not clear when this functionality went live. It may have gone live at the same time that Android TV devices could be added to speaker groups in the Google Home app, which was enabled in a recent beta update to the Chromecast Built-in app.
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