Category Archives: News

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.

chromecast games 1

chromecast games 2

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.

chrome-20

 

 

New 2015 Chromecast 2 Arrives!

Surprise! Mr. Fedex delivered my new Chromecast today and I couldn’t wait to unbox it and have a look.

First, the packaging is not made of quality material. It feels very cheap and the actual box is made of some recycled material that came apart once I removed the label. This doesn’t concern me much as I am not paying for the box. If the previous generation Chromecast is of any indication, this one should more than live up to the hype.

The actual device looks much different than previous generation. Google has gone away from the USB dongle form factor. The new Chromecast almost resembles a small hockey puck or a headphone. If you extend out the HDMI extension, it can almost pass as an Christmas ornament. If you have the need to remove or move the Chromecast, the HDMI extension attaches to the body through a magnet and it quite firm.

20151001 ccc ftvOn the rear of the new Chromecast, it has these inscriptions: Model NC2-6A5 | FCC ID: A4RNC2-6A5 | IC: 10395A-NC26A5 | CAN ICES-3 B/NMB-3 B | Made In China

Then at the bottom: Designed by Google | 1600 Amphitheater Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043.

It also has other symbols indicating HDMI, do not dispose and others such as serial number.

I did have a bit of an issue setting it up but this is likely due to my WiFi and not due to the device.

I’ll shortly update this post with an unboxing video as well as an install guide.

Google Launches new Chromecast and Chromecast Audio

chromecast lemonadeGoogle launched the highly anticipated updated Chromecast today during their 2015 Sept event which is available for sale right now at their site. This may not have been a surprise as Chromecast has been a huge hit and it was due for a hardware update since it was first launched July 2013. What was surprising was the launch of Chromecast Audio. Chromecast Audio plugs into the back of your speaker using a 3.5mm jack which you can stream directly from your Android device (phone or tablet) to your speakers. Previously, you had to stream via your TV which is connected to your TV which didn’t work well for people who only wanted to stream music. Now you have an option. The content streaming market is heating up with Amazon’s updated Fire TV and Apple’s own Apple TV. I will do a side by side comparison shortly!

new chromecast colorsFirst, the new Chromecast is updated with new software and hardware with new colors – black, coral, and lemonade. One thing that did not change is the price. Google went away with the dongle and redesigned Chromecast and now looks like a hockey puck. The Chromecast will have a built in HDMI extension which will make it easier to connect to your TV. Another major change is the improvement in WiFi. The Chromecast will now support 802.11ac and 5Ghz bandwidth as well. It also has built in adaptive antenna system to maximize WiFi signals which has plagued a lot of people in the first generation Chromecast.

chromecast 3 antenna

 

 

 

New Chromecast also has capability to cast more data resulting in less buffering.

Chromecast Audio

chromecast audio

 

 

 

Chromecast Audio looks similar to the Chromecast except it has vinyl-esque grooves on the top. There aren’t too much details on Chromecast audio but it does have a 3.5mm audio jack as well as RCA and optical connector. It also has the adaptive WiFi antennas used to maximize the connection and quality of the music.

Through Chromeast Audio, you can make your speaker “smart”. Link this in with apps such as Google Music, Pandora, or Spotify, then you will be able to stream seamlessly. When you click the cast button from these apps, you will see a speaker icon to cast to which will be your Chromecast Audio device such as below. For the time being you cannot cast to multiple audio devices.

chromecast audio icon
This will eliminate the need to use bluetooth where you need keep your keep your phone running at all times and all relating notifications gets sent over.

 

 

 

 

Software Updates

Existing Chromecast app was limited to setup, backpage, and maybe looking for offers. The new Chromecast app has more features.

What’s On:
Google has incorporated content discovery feature called, “Whats On”. Through this, you can review content that is trending or live events which may interest you.

Devices Tab:
There is a new tab which will allow you to remote control different devices seamlessly as you go through different rooms.

Get App:
Will allow you to search within installed Chromecast supported apps or introduce you to new apps. You can also search related content from apps such as Youtube or other apps.

Fast Play:
This new feature pre-loads app data as you open the app which will aid in reducing load time by up to 80%. It also pre-loads the following episode which you are likely to watch as you have finished watching one episode. Google simulated this for Netflix but will enable this for all partners.

Gaming

Google released a remote display API for Apple and Android based mobile devices. This will allow developers to update game apps so you can play using your TV with one screen and for example set up the game controller on the mobile device.

remote display api chromecast

 

 

 

You can also play simultaneously with other players such as Monopoly where each device will have the players own screen.

 

Chromecast Major Update and Spotify Support

spotify chromecastChromecast users who also subscribe to Spotify can soon rejoice. Google released hints that Spotify support will be included in a slew of updates this month including a rumored updated Chromecast (source 9to5.com). If so, they are a step behind as Amazon just announced their 2nd generation Fire TV which will stream 4K content and support Alexa. Google’s Chromecast has been a smashing hit and a major update will be welcomed. Will it be enough to make people buy an updated Chromecast when the first one works so well?

Update! 9to5 further announced that there is strong indication that the updated Chromecast will have special features and updated app to support music streaming. It also includes a feature called, “What’s On”. Is this Google’s attempt to take viewership away from traditional over the air and premiere TV?

We should get more details as we approach the big reveal on Sept 29th where Google will announce it’s latest Nexus phones as well.

Google Photos Update Breaks Chromecast Support – Wait What?

googlephotoGoogle updated their photos recently giving numerous features such as UNLIMITED backup for lower quality photos. This is done automatically when you set up auto-backup. For original size pictures, you are limited to 15GB. This has been handy and it competes with other offers such as Microsoft OneDrive, Amazon Cloud, and other services such as Dropbox and Box. However, Chromecast users who enjoyed casting directly from Google Photos were dissapointed and somewhat shocked that the updated app lost support for Chromecast. Word is that Google is working to re-enable and there is no info on why the support for Chromecast was dropped.

Meanwhile, here are some features from Google Photos:

  • Visual Search – Capability to sort and search by tags or people by face if you enable this feature.
  • Auto Backup – Set auto backup and no need to manually backup your photos again! Take pictures and sign in when you are on your PC or tablet to see and edit the pictures.
  • Save space – Everything is in the cloud so you do not need to worry about running out of space on your phone.
  • Bringing photos to life – Google Photos can automatically create slideshows, collage, or videos by associating similar photos or photos taken at a particular location or time.
  • Editing – handy tools where you can do basic editing like cropping, filters, rotating the photos.
  • Sharing – share individual photos, albums, or via url link which you can email or text.
  • Rediscover – go back in time and look at what you did weeks, months, years back.

Chromecast free rental giveaway

chromecast free offerGoogle is giving out a free movie rental to celebrate 2 years of its hit Chromecast streaming device! To claim the free movie rental, all you need to do is open your Chromecast app from your device and navigate to the settings page. From there, click on the menu and you will see the ‘Check for Offers’ option. It will ask if you authorize Google to check your serial number for offers. Your TV should display how many offers are available for your device. On your device, you should be redirected back to the Google Play store to save your offer. The offer can be saved and used by the end of this year. Enjoy!

Emmy Voters Loses DVD and opts for Chromecast

Interesting development in the world of the Emmys. Traditionally, the Emmys have produced film, VHS, and DVDs for viewers to cast their vote by watching movies delivered via Chromecast! Previously, they had to ship the movie to its members homes or office so they can watch and post their vote. Instead, now they will have the benefit of a Chromecast which is likely to have the nominated movies preloaded for them. I don’t know what this will mean in terms of piracy as there has been instance in the past where a member uploaded the movie and the DVD signature to out the people involved. Streaming via Chromecast digitally will also allow the movies to be shown the way it was intended by the directors.

Emmy has over 18,500 members and this will be a significant savings in that front. Google will also be putting together a voting platform built into the Chromecast app for Emmys and will be able to kill two birds with one stone.

Source: Emmy Voters Getting Google Chromecast Instead of DVDs – Hollywood Reporter – The Hollywood Reporter

Ethernet Adapter for Chromecast now available from Google

Chromecast-Ethernet-Adapter 2 Chromecast-Ethernet-AdapterGoogle secretly made available an Ethernet adapter for Chromecast on their Play Store recently. The Ethernet adapter was sold on their website without much fanfare with no noticeable link from the devices page on their Play store. This is a great accessory for people who have access to a router but have dodgy or poor WiFi wireless capabilities. This adapter will essentially enable you to plug in an Ethernet cable for your Chromecast. The cost is $15 which is not that bad but considering the Chromecast itself is $35 then it is a bit steep. The Ethernet cable plugs into the power adopter which in turn will relay your network connection through the USB port. Cool!

If you order now, there is a 2-3 week wait until it ships.

Buy it here – https://store.google.com/product/_ethernet_adapter_for_chromecast