Poznan, Poland-based startup Zapstreak has just brought its AirPlay-style media streaming solution for Android out of beta, making the SDK it provides available to developers worldwide after a six-month extended testing period. The company’s tech allows Android developers to build music, video or picture-streaming right into their app. Because the tech is built on the DLNA standard, it doesn’t require devs to worry about additional hardware capabilities in consumer devices, and it should work out-of-the-box with a variety of existing TVs, receivers and other home AV equipment.
DLNA is built in to most connected TVs on the market, and it also works with audio-only devices like stereo receivers and even some game consoles (Xbox 360 and PS3 both support DLNA streaming). Developers can build in support for DLNA streaming on their own, but Zapstreak’s SDK is designed to make things much easier, taking away additional work and development costs and giving devs a plug-and-play solution they can integrate easily. Ease of use was what Zapstreak beta partners musiXmatch and video2brain cited as key to their decision to use Zapstreak as their means of providing DLNA access through their apps.
Back when Zapstreak debuted its product in April, founder Stefan Bielau explained how it originally wanted to build just a single app for streaming media, but recognized that there was a clear gap in the Android ecosystem with this type of tech, one which Apple was actively expanding on its own platform. Apple brought expanded AirPlay capabilities to the iPad first with full system mirroring, a feature which later also made it to iPhone devices. AirPlay video and desktop streaming is now also available from Mac OS X computers, features which alone make the Apple TV an attractive purchase to users heavily engaged in the Apple hardware and software ecosystem.
But times have changed. In the ensuing six months, Google has introduced and revoked its own Android media streamer (the Nexus Q), and Google wants to build media streaming right into Android with an open AirPlay standard that will be available cross-platform, according to a recent report from GigaOm. Many Android handsets also now ship with Miracast built in, which is a Wi-Fi Alliance-certified standard manufacturers are now putting into televisions as well as smartphone hardware. Android 4.2 brings official system-level Miracast support to Google’s mobile OS.
Zapstreak is offering free access to its SDK for a month after sign up for new developers, but after that, it starts at $29 per month. That might be a lot to ask developers looking for a service that could soon be provided by Google for free, but DLNA has the advantage of working with existing home theatre setups, and it’s available now, not planned for the future. Zapstreak is also working on similar SDKs for both iOS and Windows developers, though there’s no firm timeline on when those will make a public appearance just yet.
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