Chromecast Audio, WiFi your audio to your speakers, the New Chromecast device, how does it compare to the old? And, finally, the new Chromecast App!
More features, and turns your Phone into a remote, sort of…
Android Central – By: Russell Holly – “For those of us who never put our phones down, Google’s Chromecast efforts have been a life-altering. Many of us already had the streaming apps we want on our phones and tablets anyway, and the ability to use that hardware as a remote for your television experience turned out to be amazing. That is, as long as you knew which apps had the content you wanted, where to find apps with new Chromecast-supported content, and what to do if your friend came over with something cool on their phone but no access to your Wifi. If you didn’t have an immediate and easy answer to the above scenarios, the Chromecast quickly became a complicated mess.
Google aims change all of that with a big update to the Chromecast app, which was announced alongside the new Chromecast and Chromecast Audio but still plays nice with your existing Chromecast hardware.
Let’s take a look.
The first thing you’ll notice about the updated Chromcast app is the way it acts as an aggregator for content. Google is pulling suggestions from YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Play Movies, Starz, and promises more soon. Oddly, Play Movies doesn’t indicate anything you’ve already purchased in the aggregate, but since everything else in the list requires an account the rest of the experience is fairly standard. From here, you can select a movie or episode and see a big yellow Watch button.
Tapping this has a couple of different behaviors. Netflix, for example, takes you to the page in the app where you can start playback the way you normally would, but Hulu takes you to the app and starts playback immediately. This is a little jarring since it doesn’t start playing on the Chromecast for either experience until you tap the Chromecast option and select where you want the video to start loading, but it’s a fairly small thing to get used to once you are casting on a regular basis.
The middle tab in this new Chromecast app behaves very much like the original setup. You have control over settings for each Chromecast you have connected to the network you are currently on, so you can make changes as needed. It’s worth pointing out you will only see Chromecast and Chromecast Audio hardware on this page, since Google Cast devices have their own settings sections for you to adjust via controller. It’s an oddly segmented experience if you’re rocking a pair of Chromecasts and an NVIDIA Shield TV, for example, but this is only an issue for this one tab. Casting video still works exactly the same way it did before, but in some cases may improve with the new caching capabilities of the new Chromecast.
Your third tab is all about app discovery, and it’s about time. This has been a constant problem for folks looking to get access to more things on the Chromecast, and searching the Play Store offers mixed results at best. What you see here are suggested video, audio, and gaming apps that routinely rotate to new things, as well as a direct link to a refined list of apps in the Play Store. All of this works exactly as expect, and it’s going to make recommending a Chromecast to less-than-technical folks a lot easier moving forward.
This, in a nutshell, is the new Chromecast experience. It’s a huge step forward for Google’s already popular streaming experience, and addresses some of the biggest complaints we’ve had so far about the overall setup Google was offering. Like most of you, what we’re really waiting for is the opportunity to use this new app on Google’s shiny new streaming pucks.”
I love my original Chromecast! They say that the new one is better. For sale at only $35.00, hummmm… I will probably get one to see for myself!
Techradar – By: Nick Pino – “The latest pint-sized streaming stick might not look wildly different from its predecessor, but there are a surprising amount of changes in store for the new Chromecast in 2015.
From an all-new Chromecast app that promises to deliver universal search functionality to the upgraded 2.4/5Ghz Wi-Fi antenna that supports 802.11ac, the differences are small in number but have the potential to completely reshape the streaming landscape (just like the first Chromecast did before it).
Here’s an early look at all the differences between Google’s latest living room gadget and its now two-year-old predecessor.
Let’s start with the most confusing aspect of the latest iteration of Chromecast: its name. It’s called the new Chromecast. Not Chromecast 2. Not Chromecast 2015. New Chromecast.
Confusing, I know, but hey, at least Google didn’t take a page from Microsoft’s book and call it the Chromecast One, confusing every person to ever talk about the device.
A new name? Of course it has one. A new processor and better antenna? Even a novice techie could see those coming from a mile away. The switch from a streaming stick to a circular piece of plastic attached to an HDMI adapter? Now that’s outta left field.
No matter how strange it may seem at first, Google’s decision to drop the rigid stick form factor for something more flexible is a practical one and should allow for people who before couldn’t fit the streamer in back of their TVs to finally join in.
Here’s the other exciting part: the new Chromecast will come in three colors – Black, Coral and Lemonade – instead of just one.
If there’s any reason to be disappointed in the new Chromecast, the internal components are it. The biggest change going on inside the disc is a new dual-channel 2.4/5Ghz WiFi antenna that supports 802.11ac wireless. It’s not much, honestly, but Google has claimed it will make all the difference in the world to owners of the old Chromecast.
At its event, Google claimed to see two to four times the performance of the new antenna over the old one, resulting in faster streaming and less time buffering.
Thankfully, the antenna is just one part of the solution to slow-loading video. Google, a software company by trade, has one more trick up its sleeve.
The other half of the solution to slow-loading video is the all-new Chromecast app. Where the last generation app only had two purposes – setting up the Chromecast and finding new apps – the new app should be useful throughout the life of the product.
For example, using a feature called ‘fast play,’ a prediction algorithm that determines what you might watch next based on your previous choices and starts to pre-buffer the video before you start it, videos start the instant you click on them.
And because Google built universal search – a way to search multiple sources for content simultaneously – you won’t have to waste time individually scouring every streaming service for the show or movie you want to watch.
Google saved the best surprise for last: the price. Instead of marking up the price of the Chromecast to meet the competition – the Amazon Fire TV Stick, for example, will set you back $50 – Google is charging a mere $35/£28 for its latest living room ware.
If you do the math (er, Google Search) that’s the same price as the current generation model. But, considering the holidays are right around the corner, it’s not a bad move on Google’s part to come in well under the cost of its closest rivals. Plus, it makes it that much easier to justify picking one up.
The new Chromecast launched today on the Google Store in the US, UK and Japan, and is expected to launch in a handful of other countries before the holiday season.”
Let’s look at some of the things introduced in the recent Google Nexus event, first up: Chromecast Audio! $35.00 retail.
What is Chromecast Audio?
“Chromecast Audio is a small device that plugs into your speaker for streaming music through WiFi.
Once set up, simply use your iPhone®, iPad®, Android phone and tablet, Mac® and Windows® laptop, or Chromebook to cast your favorite tunes to the best speakers in the house.
Easily cast music, without the hassle of pairing
Tap the Cast button from music apps to send the music instantly to your speakers. Search, play, pause, queue songs and change the volume right from your phone—anywhere in the house.
Listen to your favorites, anytime
Enjoy over 30 million songs from music services like Pandora, Google Play Music, Spotify, iHeartRadio and Rdio. We’re constantly adding new apps, so there’s no end to the music, radio stations and podcasts you can enjoy.
Tap to party
Your friends and family can join in the fun, too. Anyone in the home can cast music to your speakers using their own phones—no additional setup or pairing required.”