Cast lets you share your streams with your favorite cast of characters

Google Cast has become a fairly popular way to play –- or “cast” –- video content from mobile devices and computers to TVs wirelessly. After all, it enables users to watch the same content on a big-screen TV that they start viewing on a tiny smartphone screen.

Cast takes the Google Cast concept a couple of steps further, incorporating social media functionality. The new community viewing hub seamlessly connects all the devices in one’s home into one wireless video system, according to its Kickstarter campaign. The standout feature is that it allows users to live stream entertainment that they are watching on their TVs to family and friends via an app for Android and iOS smartphones or tablets, making it kind of like a reverse version of Google Cast. Therefore, if the Cast owner is streaming a movie on a TV via a Netflix account, that person could use Cast to mirror the movie on a friend’s smartphone or tablet even if that friend doesn’t have a Netflix account. That’s in theory anyway because Netflix and other service providers may raise legal objections.

Cast will ship in September 2016 at $299 — barring any delays caused by legal or other issues — although early bird backers can get one via pledges that start at $99. Its makers are out to raise $50,000 by Jan. 9.

Imaging Technology

360cam lets you enjoy video in the round

editors-choiceThe Premise. Work and laundry ensure that the period of time directly following a vacation or scenic journey is soaked with depression. This dark cloud is only magnified when trying to reconcile your memories of magnificent landscapes with lackluster photos subjected to your camera’s limitations.

The Product. The 360cam from GIROPTIC is a high definition 360° camera which helps defy some of these limitations, at least in terms of the frame. With three 185° fish-eye lenses synchronized in an almost unique egg-shaped form factor, the 360cam provides real time streaming, recorded video and still photos in a spherical 360° field of view.

The Pitch. The campaign video shows a group of friends using 360cam in real-life scenarios, showing off its use with different accessories like waterproof housing and light bulb adapter. It also features a universal mount which allows you to mount 360cam onto a monopod for easier leverage. GIROPTIC CEO Richard Ollier is featured towards the end of the video and speaks about the inspiration to provide an “immediate and immersive experience” to users, shares campaign details and explains why 360cam’s design is superior. The remainder of the page provides a plethora of information including features and specs, proprietary players to download for best viewing experience, and several photo galleries.

The Perks. Fifty fortunate early birds can back the project for $249 and receive a first production 360cam for an estimated 50% off retail value. Higher commitment levels include other 360cam accessories like underwater cups and Ethernet streaming base. For $4,999 you can be a 360cam visionary, meant for developers who want to integrate an existing app with tweaks to the hardware. The first 360cams are expected to ship in November this year.

The Potential. Interest in a camera with 360° capability seems to be picking up as different form factors arise and costs become more consumer-friendly. A similar kickstarter project called CENTR captures 360° videos in real time in one of the most streamlined designs to date. Additionally, EyeSee360 is expected to release the 360Fly camera in Fall 2014 which will be mountable and waterproof up to 5 meters (16 feet).