Chromecast rooted, operating system detailed

If anyone had any doubts, put them to rest because the Chromecast has been rooted. We're not surprised at this -- any device that runs an OS that accepts input will get exploited eventually -- but what the GTV Hacker crew found inside is a bit more intriguing. 

Google says the Chromecast runs ChromeOS, and when you power it up it says Chrome big as life, but the folks at GTV Hacker say that's not really so. After digging into the software a little (rooting gives you access via telnet) they say what's there is closer to Android or Google TV than it is to Chrome. There are no methods to run any apps on the system, but they don't rule out the possibility of a real Android port to the $35 dongle.

If you have a powered USB OTG cable and a flash drive you can erase, you can give this a try yourself. The process seems trivial, though there's nothing you can do with it once you're finished other than look at the system files. For some of us though, that's reason enough. Let's hope content companies aren't scared off of the whole Google Cast concept now.

Source: GTV Hacker

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • Can't wait to see what hackery is in store for this little device. Posted via Android Central App
  • pardon the ignorance, but would the rooting allow for anyone to hack on Miracast support or do you think that Miracast support would be available for the dongle in the future?
  • I would suspect that it may be possible to make something like it without hacking the device. All it would really take is make a local video stream of the device and tell the chromecast to look on the phone instead.
  • I think Brian frim anandtech said it might not be possible due to not have the 5GHz WiFi band but could be possible its disabled and not working yet, but as a side note anyone who has tried miracast (including myself) will tell you its awful (too much lag and sync issues).
  • No 5ghz is a terrible omission in a video streaming device. I'll buy one for grins and to try out when traveling but still that's nuts.
  • The fun begins
  • "they don't rule out the possibility of a real Android port", this means that maybe we could use the OS on a computer/raspberry?
  • I don't think the chromecast part of the device is open source, would be amazing if it were though.
  • I think this device was made specifically to be rooted. Think about it. A $35 dollar device that will be plugged into millions of homes. Its so cheap you can get 3 and put them in different rooms for the price of what one apple TV? Ads galore for Google. Full android on every TV set with multiple user access is incredible. The only issue is having an easy enough way to root it. Posted via Android Central App
  • DRM is the concern of the rooted devices Posted via Android Central App
  • Unlike the Nexus Q which was announced as a hackable device, I don't believe many companies would like it for us to break their DRM they're trusting with Google and Chromecast. Posted from my Galaxy SIII via the Android Central App
  • Yeah, ok. What they want and what is gonna happen are two vastly different things. I am not saying it is right, but it isn't gonna break their way.
  • If it is (sort of) Android, can it be modified to run on the Nexus Q? Or as an app on any Android device you might have laying around? Posted via Android Central App
  • Thank you for giving us all these free things!
  • c00l
  • me please
  • Sweet! It runs Android basically (Google TV runs atop Android). Cannot wait to see what XDA does with this bad boy!) I am officially sold! Will pick one up at Best Buy in the next week or so.
  • Hopefully the low supply and high demand will balance out in that time, though I'm sure the biggest draw was the Netflix deal. Without it, the Chromecast is a great deal, but with it, phenomenal. Posted via Android Central App
  • For real. The $49.95 Roku which is routinely on sale is a much better and far more capable buy.
  • Nope. It doesn't run Android at all. I know thats not clear form this article but read the source article. Not at all. See my post later in this thread but it is Google TV code not Android.
  • i hate that the netflix deal was limited
  • Pretty lame that they dumped it so quickly. They really and no idea how well a $35 streaming device would sell?
  • It's not Android which is interesting.It's more of a stripped down version of Google TV which I think is going away to be replaced by this.
    I don't know what "closer to Android" is supposed to mean when it's not Android at all. It doesn't have Bionic which is the standard C library nor Dalvik the Android JVM. The bootloader, kernel, init scripts, binaries, are all from the Google TV
  • Root all the things! While this is cool as all get out, don't get your hopes up for running traditional android custom ROMs on this thing. I doubt the hardware will support it. 512MB of RAM, single core processor, and 4GB of storage don't give you much space to run full blown Android OS.