Google announces new Chromecast and Chromecast Audio

At today’s Google event, the company announced a refresh to the Chromecast as well as a new second Chromecast Audio device. The updated Chromecast will continue to be a $35 HDMI device for receiving content from phones and tablets. It has a new look which resembles a disc instead of a stick, with a flexible HDMI connector, which Google says will reduce interference by causing the device to hang further away from the TV.

The only significant hardware change with the new Chromecast comes in the form of wifi enhancements. The new device bumps up wifi support to 802.11ac and comes with three different antennas for optimized streaming. The device also now features a function called “Fast Play” which, much like the ASAP feature found on all Fire TV devices, will begin downloading content it thinks you’ll watch before you press play in order to reduce buffering wait times.

The Chromecast app has received a refresh and can now show aggregate information from the different apps you have installed on your device in order to show you a single stream of what you can cast to the Chromecast. Google says there are now “thousands” of apps that support casting, including new additions like Spotify and Showtime being announced today, while Sling TV, NBA, and MLS apps are said to be coming in the next few weeks.


In addition to refreshing the Chromecast, Google announced a new second device called the Chromecast Audio which will also cost $35. This new device is setting out to do for dumb speakers what the Chromecast did for dumb TVs. The new device connects to speakers you already own through either a 3.5mm audio jack, RCA jacks, or an optical input. Once connected to your wifi network, Chromecast Audio will stream music from your phone, tablet, or PC. The device also supports multiroom audio to sync multiple speakers in your home.

Google hardly mentioned Android TV at today’s event. They consider the Chromecast to be the device people want today and that Android TV is more a bet for the future. With today’s Chromecast refresh, the device remains a great accessory for your phone or tablet, but has not moved any closer to being your main TV interface.

  1. Craig says:

    I think it was truly a mistake to leave Android TV out of the presentation entirely. It shows lack of confidence in the platform, regardless of it being a future bet. I figured the Nexus Player for $50 @ Best Buy recently was a clearance sign of an incoming refresh, but I guess not???

    • clocks says:

      I took the lower price on Nexus player as “getting out of the market”. I would be surprised to see a new box when the first one has sold so poorly, not to mention the Google TV.

    • JackFrost71 says:

      I imagine you will see the launch of the new Nexus Player either in Oct or Nov. They will probably announce new Nexus 7 etc at the same time. There is no way the clearance runnout of the current Nexus Player is for nothing. And I don’t believe they are backing out of Android TV devices.

      A Oct/Nov release would be more to when you would expect it anyway.

  2. Sunrise495 says:

    There are “0” Nexus Players in the regional warehouse for Best Buy by me.

    So was the $49.99 price a “going out of business” sale????

    FireTV looking good….

  3. pmcd says:

    It’s unclear why Google can’t get their Google TV/Android TV act together. Chromecast is good for the price but is really quite limited. The Fire TV/stick and new Apple TV seem to be the only players with a future that has been thought out.

  4. Axecaster says:

    Is the Chromecast Audio measurably better than similar $5 bluetooth devices? I suppose the wifi theoretically supports higher fidelity. The multiroom feature is synch could be handy.

    • xnamkcor says:

      Bluetooth requires a constant connection to the host device. The Chromecast can act independently and pull data from servers by itself. On the downside, it needs WiFi to work, and in most cases, internet.

  5. Pete says:

    Will the “improved wifi” finally work with wifi that require a popup like in hotels, etc? I have Fire TV Stick for travel now anyway and it blows Chromecast out of the water, but I’m still curious.

    • natebetween says:

      Interesting. Was wondering about captive portal myself. My AFTV (or sometimes my FTV Stick) goes with me on my travels for this very reason. If there’s no way to agree to the portal page that many hotels offer…it’s effectively useless for travel.

      • Pete says:

        Thank you for using the correct term which I could not find among the cobwebs of my mind :)

        I do hope this Chromecast fixes the issue but not for my own use, I wouldn’t travel with Chromecast unless someone snuck it into my bag. Fire TV Stick crushes it.

  6. Dan says:

    The lack of an androidtv announcement makes me wonder about the future of androidTV. I figure google could just start producing their own device like chrome dongle. I hope they simply improve the software and get the software on multiple devices and TVs.

    There are so many advantages to an open platform, it’s hard to believe google won’t get fully invested in androidtv.

    • Axecaster says:

      I wonder if it goes the other way: Maybe the partners are not so eager to play ball with Google because of the more open platform?

  7. natebetween says:

    I’ve read about this billed as a “Sonos killer”, but it doesn’t seem to be in the same space as Sonos, no? I don’t see a way to attach it to your TV and network in others to act as satellites, subs, center channel, etc. Would be awesome if they had similar abilities in the future. My buddy has a Sonos system and the sound and convenience (not having to run wires) is amazing, but the price is INSANE with addition of soundbar and sub…and I can do a lot more tweaking to the sound with my 7.2 stereo system. I would give up some of that if this could be used in a similar fashion to Sonos. $35 per channel, and BYOS…I could get behind that!

  8. xnamkcor says:

    I can confirm the Ethernet Adapter works with the Gen 2 Chromecast.

  9. Nam says:

    This would likely be a litmus test for other YouTube feelings inside film world (the songs world
    was already notably affected with Justin Bieber’s job owing its existence
    to YouTube popularity) but most likely several better, if not
    as popular people might get discounts as a result of this plus it
    would obviously be the most direct impact of YouTube on cinema: content.

  10. Brandie says:

    CNN centered on the issue earlier in 2010, after a panel addressing racism
    and race on YouTube was held at South By Southwest:

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