Yes there were two new Nexus Devices, yes there was this new Pixel kid in the block (not Chrome OS) but yesterday’s Google event was big for Chromecast too! Here is everything that Google announced yesterday around Chromecast.
The biggest Chromecast announcement of course is version 2.0 of the device. Chromecast has been redesigned and is no longer a “dongle”. it is a circle with some pretty colors and the HDMI port of the device is now a cable that has a magnet to stick to the main device if you have to fold and put it away.
Here is how it looks like now:
Inside, the hardware has been upgraded too. Google has added 802.11ac and 5GHz support for the device. This will give a performance boost to the entire Casting experience.
Rumors were true, there is now a separate Chromecast device for Audio. This device also follows the same design as the second-generation Chromecast, including the colors. However, this is specially built for making your old dumb speakers cloud-connected.
Chromecast Audio has a 3.5mm audio out, as well as RCA and optical outputs as well. This device also costs you $35. ( I was hoping that the audio device will cost less, but no. Anyways, it is not a huge price when you compare the price of existing cloud-connected speakers)
Set this up the same way you configure the regular Chromecast, and connect the speaker using the 3.5 jack, and you are set to cast. Chromecast Audio supports multi-room synchronization which is expected as an OTA software update later this year.
Spotify Comes to Chromecast
To celebrate Chromecast Audio I guess, Spotify is now officially on Chromecast. The new devices will stream this out of the box, and the first generation Chromecast will have to wait for a few weeks.
There were a lot of other apps that Google announced adding Cast support. You can read more about them here.
New App and Content Discovery Features
The Chromecast app has been upgraded to be a content hub for you. This is no longer a simple app that helps you set up and manage your Chromecast. The app can now show you featured content from your installed apps and also suggest new apps.
Another new feature or performance improvement is Chromecast Fast Play. This will allow content to cache in the background, with claims of being up to 80 percent faster.
Google Photos Now Supports Chromecast
You can now cast photos from Google Photos to your TV. This works for local photos and those are on the Google Photos cloud storage. This is not content mirroring, so while you have a photo up there on the TV, continue searching for the next photos to cast without sharing the screen on the TV.
Oh, GIFs are supported too.
According to the Chrome blog here, there are plenty of treats coming with the new Chromecast:
- 90 days of free music from Google Play
- free 1 month trial of CBS All Access
- free movie rental from Google Play
- three-month free trial of Rhapsody
- 30 days of access to Crunchyroll Premium.
Visit chromecast.com/offers to learn more.
Now to wrap it up, here are some videos from Google, featuring new features and explaining a couple of them.