Category Archives: News

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!

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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

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.

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

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

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

+channels from Access

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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

Good Bye Chromecast, Hello Google Cast!

Google recently announced that it has renamed the Chromecast to simply Google Cast and this came into effect in the app store earlier in the month. When we hear the term, “Chromecast”, we immediately think of perhaps the first generation video streaming HDMI dongle which turned out to become a huge hit. With the introduction of 2nd generation Chromecast, Chromecast audio and Cast enabled devices from companies such as Sony, LG, Bang and Oulfson, Sonos, and more, it makes sense to recast the technology to simply Google Cast.

Google Cast

Some noticeable changes.

You will no longer find the Chromecast app in the Google Play or Apple App store. Instead, it is simply Google Cast. Once installed, you will see noticeable differences. The app now has 3 tabs: What’s On, Devices, Get Apps.

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What’s On will introduce to you content which is trending or recently released. Today’s feature is the new Star Wars Rogue One Trailer which was announced this morning on Youtube. Right below, it gives me suggestions from Netflix and then WatchESPN and so forth. All apps which support Google Cast on my device.

Under Devices, it will show all the Cast enabled devices you have set up or used.

In the Get Apps tab, the Google Cast App will suggest other Cast enabled apps you can download. It will also suggest games which are Cast compatible.

This is likely the beginning of Google Cast and this lucrative market of streaming and on demand media.

 

Use Android Pay 10 times and get Chromecast for Free

Google rolled out another promotion by pushing its Android Pay app. Users of Google Pay can win a Chromecast if you use it to pay 10 times. This promotion is dubbed TAP10. If you use your phone to pay by ‘tapping’ your phone using NFC 10 times, you can receive a free Chromecast. That’s not all. You can win rewards such as a free song along the way. The promotion ends on Feb 29th. On the 1st, 2nd, and 6th tap, you can earn a song of your choice from Google Play Music.

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Google adds games for Chromecast

This holiday, Google increased games on their popular Chromecast. This is great for the holiday when your kids are at home and don’t want to spend more money on expensive games! Amongst the list of games is Rovio’s Angry Bird Friends! You can also play in tournaments.

Angry Birds Friends

 

 

 

 

The games work with both Android and iOS platform as long as you have the Chromecast app. There are a lot of boardgames by Hansbro such as Monopoly, Scrabble. Monopoly Here & Now

See a sample list of all the apps that are available. Most games you can play for free but will require payment for multiplayer or additional stages.

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To see the full list of available games, go to chromecast.com/apps

 

 

Buy the new Chromecast for $10!

If you are looking for an excuse to buy the Chromecast, this may be it. Google is offering $20 Play credit when you purchase the new Chromecast. Depending on where you buy your Chromecast, that makes it only $10-15 dollars! You can spend the credit on movies, apps, music albums, and more. To redeem, simply download the Chromecast app, from the left menu bar click “offers”. Your Chromecast must be installed and reachable from your app in order for the offer to be available. Google will ask you and check against the serial number to see what offers you qualify for. Make sure you understand the terms before agreeing to other offers. Some may be free for a period but start billing after expiration.

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