If you’re an Android TV user, you’ve probably used the casting feature—the one that makes Android TV work like Chromecast. Historically, it hasn’t provided the best experience, but a new beta build promises hope.
The Android TV casting feature doesn’t compare too well to the actual Chromecast, but Google finally is making some changes to (hopefully) fix this. It recently released a new beta build of the Casting Receiver for Android TV, which will be the first place new features and improvements show up.
Before we get into how to get involved in this new beta program, we should first rein in the expectations. You won’t get a whole new casting experience as soon as you move into the beta program. This is the initial release, so it’s likely only a few small changes have been made at this point. What this will get you, however, is the newest features and fixes before they roll out to the masses running the stable build. So your stuff should work better earlier.
With that caveat out of the way, let’s get you set up in that beta program.
As with all beta programs in the Google Play Store, first you need to become a tester for the app. To do that, visit the Google Cast Receiver testing page, and click the “Become a Tester” button. If you haven’t already, you’ll need to log in to the Google account associated with your Android TV.
This enrolls you in the Google Cast Receiver beta program. This app automatically updates on your Android TV unit—since it’s part of the base software—but you can find the Google Play link just below the “You are a tester” text, if you’d like to check it on the web. It may take a little while for the updated channel change to take place, so don’t be alarmed if it’s not immediately available.
Note that beta apps in Google Play use the same link as the stable version—the beta is associated with your account, so there’s no need for a second link. You’ll know that you’re opted into the program because (Beta) is added to the end of the app name.
From there, everything is pretty much automated. Updates are installed as they become available, and you shouldn’t have to do anything more. That said, if at any point you notice something buggier or generally worse, you should definitely let the Casting team know about it by submitting a bug report to firstname.lastname@example.org. This helps them find and identify bugs as new code is implemented.
And that brings up one final point to remember: this is beta software, so it likely won’t be perfect. In some cases, the beta may actually break things that previously worked, but that’s the risk you take by opting into the beta program. If, at any point, you want to move back to the stable channel, just go back to the Become a Tester link and click the “Leave the Program” link.
Good luck! And do let us know in the comments how your experience with the beta goes.