tech2 News StaffSep 30, 2015 11:55:14 IST
Google announced a brand new Chromecast for TV along with an audio-oriented Chromecast Audio at the Nexus launch event in San Francisco today. Both these devices will be priced at $35 (approx Rs 2,400) which was also the price of the original Chromecast (launched in 2013), and will start selling in around 17 countries soon.
The new Chromecast has been completely redesigned. Instead of the stick like design with the original Chromecast, the newer variant has a circular form factor with a bendable HDMI cable that comes integrated. Just like the older Chromecast, the new device also mirrors or casts content from your Chromecast mobile app to your TV. A lot more apps have added support for Chromecast now than we had first seen in 2013.
But the most important innovations on the new Chromecast are on the inside with improved connectivity, improved antenna system and support for Wi-fi 802.11ac (5GHz band). It will come with three distinct antennas for optimal streaming as opposed to just one that was seen on the original Chromecast.
Google has also revamped the Chromecast app. It comes with a 'Fast Play' feature that lets the Chromecast pre-fetch a video from an app and video content which it thinks you are most likely to watch even before you hit play. Not much details were spoken about Fast Play, but it seems to be working based on your history of Chromecast use, loading videos faster than without the feature activated.
Another feature called 'What's On' will show you the top content from all the apps that you have installed on your phone. You can browse through the Chromecast dashboard on your phone, while the video being cast is playing on your TV.
The new Chromecast also supports Google Photos. Instead of mirroring, the Google Photos Chromecast support will let you decide which pictures you want to cast on your TV. So you can browse through photographs on your phone, while viewing pictures on your TV, and your browsing photo activity will not be mirrored on your TV.
Google also announced partnerships with new apps such as Showtime, Sling TV, NBA, NHL among others.
The other device unveiled was the Chromecast Audio, which has a similar round disc-shaped design as the new Chromecast, but instead of HDMI port, you will get a 3.5mm audio connector. It has support for RCA and optical inputs as well.
It helps you play back your audio content from your phone on your existing speaker sets, bluetooth speakers over wireless networks. Chromecast Audio will also support multi-room speaker syncing for audio-streaming. This feature will roll out later in the year and you will require separate Chromecast Audios for each of these speakers.
Chromecast Audio can be connected to your speakers and it will work with apps such as Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, NPR as well as a host of other audio apps that support audio casting. Just like the Chromecast, the Chromecast Audio will also require an external power source.
The Chromecast Audio app also supports 'guest mode' which will let your friends add their music to your speakers if you are connected on the same network, even if they dont have your Wi-fi password.
Both these devices will be selling in around 17 countries, but there is no clarity if India is included in that list. We will update as soon as we learn about it.
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