OAKLAND, Calif. (Reuters) – Kat Volpe laid out an exercise mat and attempted to sync her iPhone to her big screen TV last week for a webcast of fitness classes on Instagram during the Coronavirus lock in New York.
FILE PHOTO: An employee leaves Harbor Fitness, following a city order to close the gyms after coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), in the Brooklyn neighborhood of New York, US, March 16, 2020. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid / File Photo
But the popular app is not compatible with the Google Chromecast TV plug-in device that can be controlled remotely with a smartphone or computer.
While at-home orders push workouts, concerts and even happy hours online, Volpe and other consumers find that some of the most popular services don't work with rival products.
Apps with an increasing demand for live streaming such as Zoom Video Communications Inc (ZM.O) and Facebook Inc's (FB.OInstagram is among the top holdings in adopting Alphabet Inc's phone-to-TV casting technology (BiederL.O) Google. Others that don't have Chromecast support include Apple Inc.AAPL.O) Video service for Apple TV + subscription, Twitter Inc.TWTR.N) video offering and Bytedance & # 39; s video entertainment app TikTok.
"There are many cases where the bigger tech companies don't want to integrate with products from other tech companies," said Nadia Gilani, who gave up training when she couldn't get Instagram to cast to her TV.
Such scary limits are a disservice to consumers, said 26-year-old Gilani, a technical worker in Vancouver, British Columbia. "It is a business and not a socially oriented way of working."
Facebook is investigating posting live streams to a website that would work with Chromecast if it opened on a PC in Google's Chrome browser. TikTok is considering support for Chromecast.
Zoom has no such plans, but users who pay for the Zoom Rooms software can use its own casting technology.
Apple declined to comment, but works directly with many TV makers to allow beaming video from iPhones.
Online video services are fighting for subscribers and advertisers, and those who don't support Chromecast may want customers to purchase additional products from them. For example, Apple sells a device with which apps can also be seen on TV. Unwillingness to share more data with Google can also be a factor.
Google said that Chromecast usage has increased over the past few weeks from a year ago and the company is constantly encouraging apps to use its free casting software.
Consumer outrage has led to some changes. A year ago, Google agreed to make YouTube available on Amazon.com Inc.AMZN.OFire devices and Amazon's Prime Video app started working with Chromecast devices.
Volpe, the New Yorker who streamed a live workout on Instagram from Barry & # 39; s Bootcamp, said she ended up grabbing her iPhone every few minutes to learn every new exercise, as it wouldn't support anywhere.
"The setup was a hot mess," she said.
Volpe transitioned to recorded workouts on Google's YouTube simply because that's so much easier, she said, because it works perfectly with Google's Chromecast.
Reporting by Paresh Dave; Additional reporting by Stephen Nellis; Edited by Greg Mitchell and Richard Chang