Google continues to extend its reach into the living room with the unveiling of two second-generation Chromecasts.
The new Chromecast represents the first update to the popular streaming device since July of 2013. The original proved a hit with 20 million being sold globally.
Succeeding the original casting dongle is the new Chromecast. The design represents an immediate departure by being circular in form and having an HDMI cable integrated into its body. A redesigned antenna system will improve the quality of content streaming.
Content can be cast quicker to the second-generation Chromecast. Open the Netflix application when on the same Wi-Fi network and it will automatically ready a casting connection in order to streamline the casting experience.
New to the streaming device is the companion What’s On application. Content from various apps installed on smartphones will have their content aggregated in the application for a one stop content library.
Playback controls have been integrated into the companion Chromecast app in a bid to make it more convenient to use.
Games can be cast to the Chromecast with the casting smartphone being used as the controller, taking advantage of its touch screen and in built accelerometer. Multiple users are supported at the same time in a move that enables multiplayer gaming.
A second streaming device was unveiled specifically for music streaming called Chromecast Audio. Its circular design is complemented by grooves in a salute to the vinyl music medium.
A number of audio applications will support casting to Android devices, including Pandora and Spotify.
Google will launch the Chromecast and Chromecast Audio in 17 countries with pricing respectively starting from US$35 and US$75. Local Australian availability and pricing has yet to be confirmed.
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