The advent of the smart TV gave us quite a few things to enjoy. It allowed us to consolidate (most) of our screen-on time on a single device (without the need to have side-by-side screens), and it has allowed us to do things on our TV’s that we couldn’t do before without the aid of overpriced gaming consoles or computer systems.
On top of that, this trend also gave birth to inexpensive solutions to turn “dumb” TVs into smart ones. One such solution was Google’s answer to Cupertino’s AppleTV, the Chromecast. The little device has not evolved a whole lot since its humble entrance to the market back in July, 2013 (and can be seen by doing a comparison with the latest incarnation of the HDMI dongle). However, it is because of developers like XDA Senior Member rundgong that the device (and owners) has gotten far more bang for the measly US$35 it costs.
The Chromecast is essentially useless without an internet connection, and Google has made sure of this by adding a large number of locks to prevent things like custom firmware. This is in fact, its Achilles’ heel… or at least it was. Enter rCast. This is a custom ROM that basically enables the user to make good use of the internal memory of the Chromecast by enabling local media playback. What is more, the device does not require an internet connection to be able to work. The dev goes on to explain that the ROM uses patched binaries to make the ping to Google servers to be directed to a local server instead.
– cast_shell and net_mgr makes http requests to google servers. I have patched those binaries so they make requests to the local web server instead.
– The device make a dns lookup sent to server 184.108.40.206. I have worked around that by creating an alias for 220.127.116.11 on the local host and run a dns server.
– The device will not finish booting until it has received an updated time from pool.ntp.org. This is fixed by adding pool.ntp.org as 127.0.0.1 in the hosts file, and locally running a sntp server.
Those workarounds will let the device start up normally even when network is missing.
Needless to say, the device must be able to flash custom firmware on it as this is an Eureka-based ROM. Go ahead and try it if you feel like doing something “fun” with your old Chromecast.
You can find more information and the full guide in the rCast original thread.