Fire TV users could soon have similar functionality to Google’s Chromecast dongle with a new feature called Amazon Fling.
Fling aims to turn existing iOS and Android apps into remote controls for Amazon’s streaming stick and set-top box. As long as the Fire TV is on the same Wi-Fi network as the phone or tablet, users can press the Fling button in any supported app to view its audio and video content on the big screen.
Much like the Cast functionality in Chromecast, Fling doesn’t simply mirror the smaller screen’s display. Instead, it points the Fire TV to a web address for streaming music and video, and sends playback instructions from the app’s on-screen buttons. This helps conserve battery life while freeing up the phone or tablet for other tasks. In fact, Fling is so similar to Chromecast that Amazon is providing directions on how to turn Cast-enabled apps into a Fling-enabled ones.
Even without Fling, Fire TV users can already cast videos from Netflix and YouTube. But this uses a standard called DIAL that has not been widely supported by other apps. Fling is Amazon’s attempt to take matters into its own hands, with its own developer toolkit.
So far, however, app support for Fling is limited. Amazon points to a couple examples, one of which is a karaoke app, while the other is an app for personalized Internet radio. By comparison, Google has hundreds of Cast-ready apps that work with both Chromecast and Android TV devices, including such heavyweights as HBO Go, WatchESPN, Comedy Central, and PBS.
Why this matters: Even if you prefer to use a proper remote control, casting comes in handy when you’re on the couch with a phone or tablet in your hands. At $39, Amazon’s Fire TV Stick is only $4 pricier than Chromecast, but it has a full remote and TV interface. It could be the clear winner among low-cost TV dongles with enough developer support.
Fling icon indicates the function
A fling-enabled app will have a special icon to transfer a stream from your Smartphone or tablet to a fire TV. To do this, the devices should be located on the same network. Currently fling requires a fire TV to receive the streaming commands from the mobile device, the relevant function is in the fire TV as well as in the fire TV stick included. Using fling can transmit itself not only streams on a fire TV, but also images, videos and music, which are locally on your Smartphone or tablet.
While playback on the fire TV is taking place, the control of the Smartphone or tablet can be. In addition, the contents of the fling with the fire TV remote control can be controlled.
This is similar to the approach of Google cast function is supported from the Chromecast. Many popular apps are already cast-ready, but Amazon wanted not probably rely on established Google feature, but has provided deliberately specifically for the fire TV sets its own implementation. Currently, it can be is difficult to predict, whether app developers will make their apps fling-ready.
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Available examples of fling
Amazon promises that cast-enabled apps without much effort can be fitted with the fling function. Amazon calls two apps that already support fling, so that interested parties already can see the new possibilities. In addition to karaoke party by Red karaoke is the rivet radio app.
Karaoke party shows videos with lyrics on demand on a fire TV. Also, the Smartphone microphone can be used to emit the Sung through the TV speakers so that so that a complete karaoke solution is available. The karaoke app there are both Amazon’s app store and Google’s play store.
Radio is also rivet in Amazon’s app store and Google’s play store available. The radio app allows you to play the own content using Fling on a fire TV.