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Google Chromecast 2 : New Round Shape and Dedicated Apps for Smartphone

Google just released the second generation of its own Internet video box, the super-inexpensive Chromecast ($35). But the new, sibling product, Chromecast Audio, is actually far more disruptive and interesting.

A lot of the best stuff to watch is now online. All those movies and TV shows from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, iTunes, YouTube, HBO Go, and so on. And lot of people like to watch those Internet videos on a TV.


It’s not actually a “box.” The original looked like a flash drive that plugged straight into your TV. The new one is now a plastic disc, available in four fun fruit flavors, with a short, permanently attached HDMI cable:

What’s new in the Chromecast 2? The size and shape are new, of course, but that’s not just cosmetic. Google says that the disc contains three WiFi antennas and some sophisticated circuitry that select the strongest signal, no matter what the position and angle of the gadget. The result: Less video stuttering, especially when the WiFi signal is weak.

Now, when you’re not playing anything, the Chromecast fills your TV with gorgeous nature photos, which is a surprisingly sweet touch.



The built-in cable is welcome and useful. The connector is also magnetized, so that it lies flat against the disc when not in use. 


That’s cool but absolutely bizarre. The Chromecast is going to spend its life hanging from the back of your TV—when would you ever care about a four-inch cable flopping free in your luggage..



Chromecast also needs power. You can plug it into the wall—or, if you’re lucky, your TV has USB jacks on the back, too. You can plug the Chromecast into one of those, with less clutter and cord tangling.




Contains three WiFi antennas and some sophisticated circuitry that select the strongest signal, no matter what the position and angle of the gadget. 


How to setup and how it works

Finishing the setup takes about two minutes. You download an app (Android or iOS), introduce it to your Wi-Fi network, and give your Chromecast a name.



Now you’re ready. You open a video app, like YouTube, Netflix, Google Play, or thousands of others. (That’s a big improvement from the three apps that were compatible when the Chromecast debuted in 2013.) When you open a video to play, a special icon appears:



Tap the icon and then your Chromecast’s name—and that video is now playing on your TV.

The Chromecast gets the video straight from the Internet. The phone is just your remote control; it’s not actually streaming any video itself. (You can even adjust the volume using the phone’s physical volume keys.) Your phone isn’t using any data or battery power.

 


The beauty is that you can do other things on your phone while you’re watching your show, like running apps or even turning it off. The downside, of course, is that you have to wake and unlock your phone just to control playback. That’s not as handy as having a dedicated remote control. (One handy exception: On Android, a Pause button appears right on the phone’s lock screen.)



Not all video apps display the little Chromecast icon; Amazon Instant Video and Apple’s own iTunes videos are among the holdouts. (Can you say, “bitter competition with Google”?)

But the Chromecast offers an evilly clever workaround. It turns out that you can also send any Web page to your TV, from any device: phone, tablet, Mac or PC laptop. All you have to do is use Google’s Chrome browser, with the free Chromecast extension installed. Now you can beam Apple’s videos or Amazon’s videos to your TV, despite their best efforts to stay out of Google’s ecosystem.




The new Chromecast app has a new “What’s On” screen that rounds up, on one page, recommended videos from 20 different Chromecast-compatible apps. (This feature is available only on Android; it’s coming soon to iOS.)



The new app has a Search box, so you can plumb all of your video apps for a show or actor’s name. And it lists Chromecast-compatible apps, to help you get more out of your $35.

The new Chromecast also offers something called Fast Play. That’s when the Chromecast tries to guess what you’ll want to play next, and starts downloading the video in advance, so it’ll be ready if you hit the Play button.

Truth is, the Chromecast isn’t quite as essential as it once was, now that Internet video apps come built into so many components you already own: your video recorder, game console, or the TV itself.

Yet you may want one anyway. It’s just much easier to search for what you want using your phone’s touchscreen, on-screen keyboard, and voice dictation features. And, I mean—$35! That’s still the world’s least expensive way to add Internet video to a TV that doesn’t already have built-in apps.


Available at Lazada


Supported Operating Systems

    Android 4.1 and higher
    iOS 7.0 and higher
    Mac OS X 10.7 and higher
    Windows 7 and higher

    Type: Media Player
    Compatible with Android phones and tablets, iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows, and Chromebooks
    Stream online video, music, photos and more to your TV using your smartphone, tablet, or laptop
    Easy setup
    Plug into any HDTV
    Connect to your home WiFi network

 


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