With the goal of delivering fast and polished experiences to the homes of wifi and app users around the world, Google introduced us to Chromecast in July of 2013.
Since then they have passed 20 million Chromecast sales globally. Chromecast’s VP of product management, Mario Queiroz described it as allowing “you to bring apps to your TV simply by extending the mobile apps you already have on your phone to the big screen.” App creators have been using the smartphone to enhance streaming on the TV making available sports stations, millions of songs, family-friendly entertainment, and more. Recently, Show Time brought all of its content to Chromecast and other video services are expected to follow. It has been described as “a great experience across screens.”
The original Chromecast was rated as the number one streaming device of 2014. Users appreciated that it was easy to use, but in reviews some mentioned that it wasn’t always able to connect to wifi very quickly. The Chromecast team announced two new products this week and they seem to have kept their users’ comments in mind when creating them.
The first of the two is the New Chromecast. With a modern new look it has been made easy to take on the go and can be plugged into virtually any TV. It has been designed with a set of three antennas and an algorithm which ensures that the wifi chip always uses the best available network. The original Chromecast only had one antenna, meaning this new setup should allow it to deliver significantly improved wifi performance. For the everyday user this means being able to sustain the flow of more data for higher quality video and audio with less buffering than before. New features on the Chromecast allow users to find programs of interest more easily as well as a Fast Play feature that pre-loads programs to ensure that they don’t stop to buffer during use.
The second new product that was announced is Chromecast Audio, which is set to bring a similar experience as the Chromecast to a user’s speaker system. In the U.S., fewer than 5% of households have speakers that can connect to the internet; if Chromecast Audio catches on as much as Chromecast itself did, this will change. The new audio device will hook up to existing speakers and stream audio through wifi from any cast-enabled apps and it uses the same algorithm as the new Chromecast for the best wifi performance.
Users already seem to have some suggestions to make these new products even better, such as allowing for multi-room support or allowing just one product to work as both Chromecast and Chromecast Audio. However, the new algorithm set up and improved speed is sure to be appreciated and with both products costing $35 they are currently the least expensive and probably the most user friendly options in the market.