Google Chrome browser now comes default with ability to Cast

cast extensionGoogle announced today that the latest Chrome update includes the Cast option by default. Previously, you had to go to the Chrome Webstore from your Chrome browser, search for Google Cast extension, download then install. As of now, the Google Cast version Version: 15.1120.0.4 updated March 2016 is still available on the webstore. If you have Chrome browser Version 52.0.2743.116 m for Windows, it will have Cast icon at the upper right of your screen.
Google bragged that in the month of July, users have cast content from their Chrome browser over 38 million times while watching and listening to more then 50 million hours of content.

This improved integration will encourage more people to Cast their screen or content. You can also now seamlessly Cast Hangouts, play games, Google Education tools, and content that supports Chromecast.

Note, this is for PC devices only and not for Chrome mobile browser. There is no word yet if or when we can Cast from Chrome mobile browser.

Chromecast the Rio Olympics using the NBC Sports App

You can watch the Rio Olympics using the NBC Sports app which supports Chromecast. I’ve always been a big olympics fan. The earliest memory I have is from the 1988 Seoul Olympics. If you are like me and are busy during the day, you are limited to watching replays which is usually USA swimming or gymnastics as they attract the highest ratings. There is nothing wrong with catching some Michael Phelps but I want to watch other sports such as volleyball, basketball, soccer, judo, as well as other countries. The NBS Sports app allows you to watch almost all of the events live if you have a paid TV subscription. Unfortunately, there are option to simply watch what is on over the air national channel.

For some reason, the iOS app has much lower ratings and number of reviews against the Android app. I’ve not personally tried to iOS app but am pretty happy with the Android app. I’ve been able to cast several events as well as watching a number of replays when my time didnt fit. There are ads when you start up – a Citi ad each time you load the app and various video ads during breaks. They do cut back to the game so the ad doesn’t feel too long or intrusive.

To cast, turn on WiFi on your device then click onto the Cast icon while browsing the list of events or click on the event then the Cast icon to start casting.

android nbc sports app

ios nbc app

 

 

 

Happy Birthday OG Chromecast!

The original Chromecast achieved a milestone yesterday but celebrating its 3rd birthday! The unassuming HDMI device flew under the radar and launched with little fan fair turned into a major media player in the streaming industry. With the low price of $35, it enabled hundreds of HDTV owners to make their ‘dumb’ TV’s ‘smart’. It sure paid off for my family as we had a 10 year old Samsung 40″ TV which functions fine but do not have any built in smart features.

The Chromecast changed that. I was soon able to stream from youtube for my kids and shortly after stream from virtually any media content on my PC using the Chrome extension. Now, almost all major streaming apps support Chromecast and the list is growing. As of today, Google shipped over 30 million Chromecast.

Happy birthday!

07.24_GS_Chromecast-Birthday-03

LED Status Indicators for Chromecast

What do the LED colors mean on the Chromecast? If you have thought of this before, you are not along. A lot of times people may create devices but not have the explanation as to what the meaning behind LED colors or the difference between solid, blink, occasional blink! The manual doesn’t have the full explanation about each color or blink but Google has a help page where it explains the LED status indicators. You can find it here:

https://support.google.com/chromecast/answer/6291385

For first generation Chromecast:

LED status LED indicator meaning
Solid white Chromecast is connected to the network and is ready to begin casting content, or is already casting content.
Pulsing white Your Chromecast is disconnected and needs to be set up.
Pulsing red (during update process) Your Chromecast is receiving an update and is not available for casting. It will be available for use shortly. Do not disconnect your device from power.
Pulsing red (during regular use) A pulsing red LED light outside of an update is intended to show an error that causes you to see a black screen on your TV. However, the Cast team is aware of a current issue where the LED light blinks red when your device is working properly. We’ve identified the source of the issue in the current firmware 1.20.66189 and are working on a fix that will roll out in the next firmware version update.
Pulsing red + black TV screen If you see a pulsing red LED light on your Chromecast device and a black TV screen, try the first step below and see if it resolves the issue. If it doesn’t, move on to the next step:

  1. Perform a reboot on your device by unplugging it from the power source, waiting about 1 minute, and then plugging it back in
  2. Power off your TV
  3. Use the HDMI extender provided with your Chromecast device if you have one
  4. Try plugging your Chromecast into another TV
  5. Perform a Factory Data Reset (FDR).

For 2nd generation Chromecast:

LED status LED indicator meaning
Solid white Chromecast is connected to the network and ready to begin casting content, or is already casting content.
Pulsing white Your Chromecast is disconnected and needs to be set up.
Pulsing orange (during update process) Your Chromecast is receiving an update and is not available for casting. It will be available for use shortly. Please do not disconnect your device from power.
Pulsing orange (during regular use) A pulsing orange LED light outside of an update is intended to show an error that causes you to see a black screen on your TV. However, the Cast team is aware of a current issue where the LED light blinks orange when your device is working properly. We’ve identified the source of the issue in the current firmware 1.20.66189 and are working on a fix that will roll out in the next firmware version update.
Pulsing orange + black TV screen If you see a pulsing orange LED light on your Chromecast device and a black TV screen, try the first step below and see if it resolves the issue. If it doesn’t, move on to the next step:

  • Perform a reboot on your device by unplugging it from the power source, waiting about 1 minute, and then plugging it back in
  • Power off your TV
  • Use the HDMI extender provided with your Chromecast device if you have one
  • Try plugging your Chromecast into another TV
  • Perform a Factory Data Reset (FDR)
Solid orange There may be an error with your device. Perform a reboot on your device by unplugging it from the power source, waiting about 1 minute, and then plugging it back in. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, perform a Factory Data Reset (FDR).
chromecast firmware

Google releases 1.20.66189 firmware update

If you start getting a blinking red or amber LED light on your Chromecast, you are not alone. Google released 1.20.66189 Chromecast firmware on July 18 and may have released a bug. Google is aware of the issue and is working towards a fix for the next update. There is no issue as long as you can still cast. There is no fix for the time being. Otherwise, this update fixes the audio resampling at 48khz issue. It also has some general updates and bug fixes.

To see if your Chromecast has the latest firmware, do the following:

  • Open Google Chrome browser
  • Click the Chromecast extension icon to display menu
  • Click ‘Options’
  • Click ‘Manage Cast Devices’
  • Click on the settings icon on your Cast device
  • You will be able to see your firmware version, country code, mac address, and IP address.
  • You can also remotely reboot Chromecast, perform factory reset, and look at other license information.

chromecast firmware

Euro Cup 2016 Live Streaming

How to stream Eurocup online. I just encountered an outage on my cable TV and had to result to live streaming to watch the quarter finals of the EuroCup. I wasn’t about to sit behind my 19″ computer screen or my 5″ phone to watch the epic battle between Italy vs. Germany. Once I gave up on watching this on my cable provider, I used my Chromecast. Follow these instructions to watch the EuroCup using the ESPN app.

There are two ways of casting the live stream to your TV.

To cast from an app through your phone or tablet:

  1. Open WatchESPN app
  2. Sign into your cable or satellite TV provider
  3. Change your TV input to your Chromecast
  4. Once your app detects the Chromecast powered on, you will see the cast icon.
  5. Click play and cast to your Chromecast device

2016-07-02 22.28.25 2016-07-02 22.30.04

 

 

 

 

 

 

To cast from your Chrome browser:

  1. Navigate fro your Chrome browser to http://espn.go.com/watchespn/index
  2. Sign into your cable or satellite TV provider
  3. Click the Eurocup game you are interested. France and Iceland are playing on Sun. July 3rd.
  4. You will likely see a video player launch in a different window. This pop up will not have your Chromecast extension icon at the upper right of your screen.
  5. Copy the url of the video player and paste it to where you clicked the game you are interested in.
  6. The video player should now load in the window where you have your cast icon.

watchespn eurocup

psvue logo

Playstation Vue

Sony has done an amazing job in trying to set the trend in terms of gaming devices and media. When Playstation 3 was launched, they included a Blueray player which helped them nudge people towards their gaming console over the likes of XBox or WiiU. Last year, Sony announced the launch of Playstation Vue. Playstation Vue is a live streaming service which enabled you to watch some of the major live networks such as CNN, TNT,AMC, Bravo, BET, CNBC, Food network, ESPN, Disney, HGTV, and more. It is broken down into 3 tiers – Access, Core, and Elite.

vue price plan

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playstation Vue Access: Provides over 60 channels at $39.99/month.

vue access channel list

 

 

 

 

 

Playstation Core: Provides over 75 channels at $44.99/month.

vue core channel list

 

 

 

 

 

Playstation Elite: Provides over 100 channels at $54.99/month.

+channels from Access

vue elite channel list

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is great for cable cutters who still want to watch some paid for cable / satellite networks. However, at this price point, some may wonder if it is better to simply keep cable. It seems this has much more

You can try any network free for 7 days. But as you are required to login to your Playstation Network account, you will be billed if you forget to cancel your trial subscription.

You can use PlayStation Vue over PS4, PS3, Amazon Fire TV, TV Stick, Chromecast, and iPad, or iPhone.

Right now they offer ala carte for Showtime ($13.99/mont or $11.49/month for plus members), Fox Soccer Plus for ($14.99/month or $12.99/month for plus members). and the game play streaming channel – Machinima ($3.99/month or $1.99/month for plus members). Note, HBO is not available so if you watch Game of Thrones, it is best you stay with Hulu.

Some good things about Playstation Vue. You can record or save shows up to 28 days which is similar to a DVR function.

A lot of people are asking if 4K or UHD content is available. The answer is no. Playstation Vue only offers up to ‘HD’ which in their definition is 720p. Boo.

Google releases 1.19a firmware update for Chromecast

Google announced it released the latest firmware 1.19a.63621 to all of its Chromecasts. This firmware fixes the following issues:

Most of these issues were reported on the Google Cast Help Forum between March early May. However, some of these issues appeared to be caused by the 1.18 firmware update that was launched in March 9th. The good news is that Google is still committed to resolving bugs and updating firmware for the first generation gen Chromecast for all you who are still holding off on buying a new one. Of if you are like me who are using both the 1st and 2nd gen Chromecast as they both still work find on other TV’s.

Google Home Announced at Google I/O

Google-Home-OKGoogle just concluded their annual I/O conference. Google’s I/O is a 3 day conference is designed to bring together developers around the world to showcase its upcoming products in software, mobile, and technology. One of the more interesting product Google showcased is Google Home. Google Home is the answer to Amazon’s surprisingly successful Echo powered by Alexa. Google claimed Home is their very own assistant. During the 2016 I/O showcase, Google played a video of how Home can be used during a typical morning routine of a family. You can see the video here:

There were only two features that were unique to Google’s Cast enabled devices which are not available to Amazon’s Echo. First, is the ability to issue command to all Google Cast enabled speakers. The father in the clip issued, “Google, turn on music to all the rooms.” as a way to wake up the kids in the house. The other feature was to issue a show command which triggered a Chromecast to play a video. There was also a sequence where the father asked Google to check the traffic and upon reporting the traffic, the shortest route was sent to the phone.

For the time being, Google has offered scarce details on Google Home. It guaranteed integration to Cast enabled devices and services such as making dinner reservations and text messaging. It will be interesting to see the availability as well as the price. Google indicated that they purposely limited its functionality of the Home but it must have some wow factor to get people to jump from Amazon’s Echo or have both the Home and Echo in the same house.

The battle of the smart home is on!

No Cast Devices Found – Solution

Imagine if you got off work, made dinner, ate, and cleaned up. You sit down and relax hoping to catch up on Netflix exclusive TV show and you get the “No Cast Devices Found” error. You just watched it the day prior. You try to power cycle the Chromecast and reboot your phone just in case. Same. Here are some things you can try according to Google’s Device Discovery troubleshooter:

-Make sure TV is on and source input is set to HDMI connected to Chromecast

-Reboot Chromecast using the Chromecast app or by unplugging the USB power cable

-Make sure you are on the same WiFi network. Your source cannot be on different WiFi networks including 2.4GHz and 5GHz.

-Check to make sure your device triggering the cast is in sync. If not sync the clock.

-Check other devices if it can see the Chromecast

-Reboot your router

-Ensure AP isolation is disabled on your router’s settings

-Last resort, perform a factory reset on your Chromecast

If it still doesn’t work, contact Google support

https://support.google.com/chromecast/answer/6025971