At a very plainly executed Google Nexus and Pixel C launch event today Google announced two new Chromecast sticks. The new designs included improved WiFi performance, new controlling software and a model capable of multi-device syncronized audio.
Casting, DIAL, Miracast and DLNA are all in an area of technology that I’m very interested in for home and presentation scenarios. I’ve tested lots of Miracast (second display via WiFi) solutions and covered these capabilities in the Windows 10 Universal Windows Platform in detail because they’re great extensions to any mobile computing setup. When two new Chromecast devices come along I pay attention too because Google have a big market share.
The new Chromecast models look completely different to the original and include dual-band WiFi support with three antennas and WiFi AC protocol support. That’s a big, big advantage over previous models. New software and firmware enables pre-loading and a better Chromecast app experience on Android. There’s more processing power too but Google have stopped short of giving Chromecast its own user-interface and remote control.
Google didn’t mention Windows 10 support for Chromecast but I can tell you that as long as Google continue support for the DIAL protocol in the Chromecast firmware it’s going to be available to developers through the Cast API in the Universal Windows Platform. I’ve already demonstrated that in this article and video.
Cost $35 for either video or audio versions. Chromecast Audio includes a 3.5mm connector. RCA and optical output cables are optional extras. Quality will depend on app / source content an could drive the development of high-quality streaming for HiFi fans. Chromecast audio will support multi-room synchronization.
Personally I’m still an Amazon FireTV fan because of the standalone nature of the units and their ability to support Miracast and DIAL, supported in Windows, but you can use Chromecast across platforms too…