When Google debuted Chromecast in 2013, the streaming dongle was a hit. While it’s been juiced up with new features over the past few years, we’ve been waiting for a true upgrade. The wait is over: At today’s Google Nexus event, Google’s Mario Queiroz debuted the new Chromecast, as well as a device called Chromecast Audio.
Here’s what we know.
This superpowered version of Chromecast is available today in seventeen countries. The price is still right at £30.
Queiroz emphasised the new device’s improved connectivity, with an upgraded antenna system and a Wifi chip that chooses the best connection.You’ll also be able to browse the Chromecast dashboard on your phone without making it show up on the TV, so it’ll function closer to a remote.
The Chromecast app also got an upgrade, with a new “What’s On” feature that shows you content from the apps you have installed on your phone. The new playback controls also help you use your phone as a remote for Chromecast.
Chromecast will work with Google’s photos feature. If you want to show friends a few photos, you can tap on it and send it to your TV. You can also send GIFs. Unlike mirroring, this gives people control over which photos they share.
The new Chromecast comes in black, coral, and lemonade. The integrated HDMI cable means it’s easier to plug into any TV.
Google basically took the good things about pairing your Chromecast with a TV and adjusted the experience for people who want to stream audio.
It works with any phones, tablets, and laptops connected to your network. The “guest mode” lets friends send music to your speakers even if they don’t have your Wifi password, which is pretty sweet. You’ll also be able to mirror audio from any Chrome device, including YouTube videos.
And I mean juiced-up. Chromecast Audio plugs into existing home speakers and streams audio from apps like Spotify, Pandora, and iHeartRadio. It has the same connectivity system as the new Chromecast. It supports RCA and optical inputs as well, and multi-room sync is expected later this year.
Like Chromecasts new and old, Chromecast Audio is also available today for £30. If it’s as good as it sounds, Sonos should be afraid.
Screenshots by Michael Hession