The third-generation Google Chromecast was recently announced on October 9, 2018, following a Google hardware event in New York City. With the first version released in 2013, and a second-generation model introduced in 2015, this is Google's first update to the Chromecast family in three years, and features an updated design, slightly faster processing speed, as well as all of the same features of the second-generation Chromecast model.
This cheat sheet has everything you need to know about the Chromecast device up to this point, and is a "living document" that will be updated as more information about the device is released.
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What is Google Chromecast?
Google Chromecast is a video streaming device that plugs directly into the back of your TV via an HDMI port. The device is designed to screen mirror supported app content onto your TV, so it requires users to be in range of a Wi-Fi network. The latest version was announced on October 9, 2018, and features an updated design and faster processing speed. It is designed to be an affordable, compact option for users wanting to cut the cord on cable TV and move to streaming services.
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What features and specifications does the Google Chromecast include?
Google Chromecast is a 162mm-long, 13.8mm-wide round puck with an HDMI cable sticking out of the side, making it a member of the streaming dongle family. Weighing a mere 1.41 oz, the device comes in matte chalk and charcoal colors and a faint Google logo, while the old one featured a bright, glossy finish with a Chrome logo. It has micro-USB power and the HDMI cable plugs directly into either the USB port or HDMI port in your TV.
The Chromecast model can stream video at full standard 1080p resolution, rather than 720p that the last version featured. Google Chromecast supports all wireless networks, including 2.4GHz and 5GHz.
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The device allows Chromecast users to stream thousands of apps from a device to their TVs. Just a few of the popular supported apps are Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube through which you stream app by app, casting the video content from your mobile device or tablet onto the TV. It also works with supported laptops.
In order to connect a device to Google Chromecast, you must download the Chromecast app and have both the Chromecast and the device you wish to cast from on the same network. Chromecast, itself, doesn't come with a remote, so different apps would have to be navigated within each device. You can use Chromecast if you own an Android device or iOS device, as well a Mac or Windows operating systems; apps then cast to the device through a cast button in the UI.
To charge Google Chromecast, use the power adapter and cable provided upon purchase. The device supports standard 5V, 1A power supplies.
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Who is the target audience for the Google Chromecast?
Users looking to cut the cord from cable and traveling business professionals are the target audience for the Google Chromecast. If you already have subscriptions to apps like Netflix and Hulu, then Chromecast is a great, inexpensive option to stream those services, but users do have to have their own Hulu or Netflix accounts. And the device's compact size makes it easy to transport for professionals on the go or those who travel regularly.
The latest version of Chromecast runs 15% faster, reported the Verge, so users can expect to watch their shows with less potential lag time or buffering.
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How much does the Google Chromecast cost?
The standard Google Chromecast streaming device costs $35, one of the most inexpensive video streaming services on the market. In comparison, the Apple TV costs $169, while the Roku Streaming Stick is $49.
How does the Google Chromecast differ from Google Chromecast Ultra?
Google Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra really only differ in two major ways: Video quality and price point. Unlike the regular Chromecast, Chromecast Ultra is able to stream content in 4K Ultra HD and HDR. Because of this feature, Chromecast Ultra is nearly double the price of the standard version, totaling $69 instead.
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What are the major competitors to the Google Chromecast?
Media streaming devices are becoming more and more popular with the growth of streaming music and video. With that said, there are quite a view major competitors in the media streaming industry, such as the Roku Streaming Stick+, Amazon Fire TV Stick, and Apple TV.
The major perks of the other devices is that they all come with a remote control and support 4K video. They all also have a streaming interface built into the system, so all streamable apps are in one organized place. However, Chromecast is the cheapest option when compared to the latest versions of the competitor brands.
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- Amazon adds 4K streaming to the Fire TV Stick (ZDNet)
- Amazon to begin selling Apple TV and Google Chromecast again (ZDNet)
Where and when can I buy the third generation Google Chromecast?
The latest Chromecast is available for purchase now from the Google Store in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway. Singapore, Sweden, and the US. More countries are expected to follow in 2019. It can also be purchased on various third-party websites and in brick-and-mortar retail chains around the world.
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- Quick glossary: Streaming video (Tech Pro Research)
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Macy Bayern has nothing to disclose. She does not hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Macy Bayern is an Associate Staff Writer for TechRepublic. A recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Macy covers tech news and trends.