Monday, September 01, 2014

Chromecast Randomly Crashing–Solved!

This is one of rare posts on my blog that doesn’t cover pascal programming. Proceed on your own risk ;)

For the last half a year, I’ve been a happy owner of a Chromecast device. Great stuff, especially as it allows me (with a small hack) to watch Netflix on my TV and listen to Pandora. At the beginning, it was a bit unstable, but through regular updates it stabilized quite a bit – until build 17977 got installed.

Since that time I got random crashes while playing any media (video or audio) from any source (in-house or external provider). It would load the player app, start playing, then crash after a few seconds. It would work fine for days, even weeks, but then it would start crashing and I would not be able to use for for half a day, after which it would start working again.

I’ve decided that the hardware is broken, maybe overheating, and I bought another one. (Did I mention it’s cheap?) But no luck – it started behaving the same as soon as it has upgraded to build 17977.

Few days ago I found a network forum thread where someone (sorry, no link, it got lost) mentioned a possibility of a bad power source. (My Chromecast is plugged into TV’s USB port.) And when the device started playing tricks on me today, I plugged it into an external USB power supply. And – surprise, surprise – it started working!

Something weird is still going on. When I start playing in a new player (i.e. when I switch apps), media is played for few seconds, then the TV goes blank and its power light starts blinking, then the picture reappears and media continues to play.

My current guess is that Chromecast does something weird which basically quick-resets the TV. When Chromecast was plugged into TV’s USB port, that also reset the Chromecast, but now that it’s plugged into an external power source, Chromecast continues playing while the TV does its yoyo trick.

I’m not completely satisfied with this solution as I would rather see my Chromecast to turn off together with the TV, but it is a “good enough” workaround. I still love that device, though. It’s the best stuff Google made in a long long time.

I’m posting this blog in hope that it will help other Chromecast users who may run into the same problem.

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