Chromecast 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 recently had their annual I/O Conference in San Francisco, CA where they discussed upcoming features to be launched to the Chromecast. Google’s I/O Conference is a gathering of developers to hear from Google execs on support for the next generation devices, apps, and software. I/O stands for input and output and also “Innovation in the Open” which attests to Google’s philosophy of having open web technologies like Android, Chrome, Google API, Web Toolkit, App Engine, and others. Google’s I/O conference first started in 2008 and was held between May 28-29 this year 2015.
At the Google I/O conference, two major announcements were made on the Chromecast front which would improve the functionality and experience for users like us.
Queuing between apps
One major frustration as a user is the inability to smoothly transition between different apps. As great as the support has been for Chromecast, your experience is limited to a single app and any queue you have saved will be lost once you stop casting and open another app to cast. Google plans to change this by the creation of a auto-queueing functionality to allow you to line up videos in a playlist from different apps. You will be able to manage the sequence, remove, and initiate a cast at will regardless of which app you have opened.
Chromecast Game Manager API
The second announcement is for the casual gamer who wants to play multi player games using Chromecast. Google announced the launch of Game Manager Application programming interface (API) which will allow more than one device connected to a single Chromecast. Previously, developers had to code this themselves but Google’ has made this much easier to do.
Google’s also launched Remote Display API which allows gamers to control their TV using their handset. This can allow you to use your phone as a motion sensor similar to Nintendo’s WiiMote.
Your Chromecast may have poor video quality when casting a Chrome tab to your TV. This is usually due to two things which can cause freezing, stuttering, or pixelating on your TV. Here are some things you can try to fix poor video quality on your Chromecast.
Computer performance causing video issues with Chromecast: Check the power settings on your computer which you are casting the tab from Chrome. Check to make sure your computer does not go to sleep or go into power saving mode which is set by default on most laptops. Close down any unused applications, programs, or windows. Temporarily reduce it from the default high definition 720p to 480p through the Options Menu on the Cast icon.
Network Issue causing poor video quality Chromecast:
The performance of Chromecast highly depends on your WiFi connection. Your WiFi connection in turn depends on the speed of your Internet. In my experience, you should have at least 3mb Internet speed and faster. WiFi routers varies but your TV and Chromecast should not have too many walls in between. For example, if you have your WiFi router located one end of the room, you will likely experience issues trying to connect it to a Chromecast at the opposite side of your house or basement. You can try to move your router or purchase an extender or repeater to extend the range of your WiFi network. You can also try to use the HDMI extender to distance the Chromecast device from your TV. If you are casting a tab from a PC / Laptop, make sure it has good strength indicating on the WiFi connection. You can also check if the WiFi channel is overlapping with another device through WiFi manager apps available on Play Store and App Store. If you have multiple users streaming through Youtube or other services, it may hamper the performance.
How to factory reset a Chromecast:
If you tried all of the above and still have video quality issues regardless of casting from a tab or casting from an app, as a last resort, you can try to do a reset on your Chromecast to see if clearing the cache will resolve your issue. In order to reset, you can do it two ways.