In addition, ABC’s Watch ABC and video apps for Disney’s cable networks including Disney Channel will be coming soon to the $35 Chromecast, Google and Disney & ESPN Media Networks announced. Those also require pay-TV logins to watch most content.
Google also announced three other apps are now Chromecast-enabled: Major League Soccer’s MLS Matchday app and MLS Live premium service; Google+, to cast photos and videos to the TV; and Crunchyroll, the anime video service majority owned by Chernin Group.
For ESPN, the Chromecast deal marks the sixth connected-TV device platform supported by WatchESPN, including Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Xbox One, Apple TV, Roku and Amazon’s Fire TV. Users must download an updated version of the WatchESPN app before they can cast live or on-demand clips to the Chromecast.
To access live games via WatchESPN — including all 64 matches of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which kicks off June 12 — users must subscribe to ESPN’s linear TV networks as part of their video subscription from a participating provider.
DirecTV is currently the biggest pay-TV operator that does not offer WatchESPN. The service, launched in April 2011, is available in about 67.5 million U.S. households through Comcast, Dish Network, Time Warner Cable, AT&T U-verse TV, Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Charter, Cox, Dish Network, Google Fiber, Midcontinent Communications, NRTC and Verizon FiOS TV.
On Android smartphones and tablets, ESPN.com on-demand clips can be cast to Chromecast by all users, including those without a pay-TV subscription. On iPads, a live toolbar for casting VOD is available only to authenticated users.
WatchESPN delivers live access to programming from ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3, ESPN Deportes, ESPNews and ESPN Buzzer Beater/Goal Line on computers, smartphones, tablets and other devices.