Recently, we posted on the ability to opt into the Google’s Preview Program. The first experimental feature was released and it was used to remove all ‘Chrome’ branding from Chromecast. Instead, it replaced it with a simple ‘G’ logo. The preview released firmware version 1.21.72444. This firmware was released to all Chromecast devices including gen 1, gen 2, and audio devices. Google’s official release page indicated this release was to fix general bug fixes and stability improvements. But it doesn’t appear there were anything done other than the branding.
Google’s latest update to its Cast app allows users to opt into experimental features that are not ready for public roll out. If you are are the type who want to experience the latest features and don’t mind some bugs here and then, this may be for you. To participate, it is very simple.
Simply follow the below instructions:
First, go into your Google Cast app and select the devices tab.
Click on the 3 vertical buttons to display the menu. click “Device Settings”
Under device settings, you will see ‘Preview Program” which is set to Off. Click it.
You will be prompted to join the Chromecast Preview Program with 3 scientists worshiping a lightbulb at the top. Click ‘Join Program’
Under the preview program in device settings, you will see that it is now changed to “On (Waiting for next preview firmware update).
And that’s it. We will report when the first preview firmware update is released.
Mark your calendars for Oct 4th. Google has scheduled a live event on Oct. 4, 2016 for their hardware lines. The main focus of the event is to launch two new phones, the Pixel and Pixel XL, more info on Google Home, and Daydream VR device. Android Police is reporting that Google also plans to announce the 3rd gen casting device dub’d Chromecast Plus or Chromecast Ultra which will support 4K streaming.
4K was intended to launch with the 2nd Gen Chromecast but it was delayed. With more and more consumers jumping to TV supporting 4K, this may be the perfect timing to get into the Ultra HD game.
Google 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.
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.
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.
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.
Playstation Vue Access: Provides over 60 channels at $39.99/month.
Playstation Core: Provides over 75 channels at $44.99/month.
Playstation Elite: Provides over 100 channels at $54.99/month.
+channels from Access
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 announced it released the latest firmware 1.19a.63621 to all of its Chromecasts. This firmware fixes the following issues:
- Screen is black when audio worked while casting
- Subtitles cut off screen while casting
- TV input would randomly switch input triggered by CEC
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 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!
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