Google Chromecast (2015)- Beam Me Up, Scotty
Tis season for everyone to update their streaming media player at the same time. Some stay up with the times like the new Roku 4 or Amazon's Fire TV (2015) which introduced support for 4K support over a new HDMI 2.0 interface and voice control with your remote. Other media players like Apple's 4th generation Apple TV tout a new operating system and App Store, and also voice control through SIRI.
Maybe Google felt they had to come up with a new Chromecast to not be left out of the party, but there isn't any major changes compared to the previous Chromecast other than a faster processor and ability to support both 802.11 b/g/n at 2.4Ghz and 802.11 ac at 5Ghz. I'm sure Star Trek fans would appreciate the new USS Enterprise look.
Interestingly enough, during the initial launch, despite selling almost everything else, Amazon is not selling the new Chromecast and instead is promoting its own Fire TV products.
I found the new Chromecast at Best Buy Blossam Hill in San Jose, California. Google had a fancy lit display specifically promoting it's new Chromecast and Chromecast Audio products.
The Chromecast box comes in simple eco-friendly, easy to open packaging. It's very light and reminds me of a paper egg carton.
The Chromecast also comes with a USB power charging adapter and cable. Often, it's easier to just charge your Chromecast by connecting the USB cable directly to the TV USB port itself.
A couple years ago, the "IN" thing was for everyone to create HDMI streaming media sticks to the point that they all looked similar to each other. Google's popular first generation Chromecast from 2013 stuck to that "stick" form factor.
This time, Google went to a design that Star Trek fans could appreciate but is also easier to plug in to the TV. The tethered HDMI cable sticks to the bottom of the Chromecast to keep everything compact. Once you are ready to use it, the HDMI cable flips out and makes it a lot easier to plug into the TV especially in tight spaces or if there are already a lot of other things plugged into the TV.
Thanks to the Dohatsuten Ramen shop in Fremont, California where I opened the Chromecast while enjoying a bowl of their well prepared ramen.
The Google Chromecast is still one of the most affordable streaming devices out there and the new Chromecast App allows more integration with other streaming media services like NetFlix and Hulu so you can cast directly from those apps instead of just YouTube. If you don't have a smart TV or 4K TV and have an Android phone, adding Chromecast to make your TV smart and streaming capable is a no brainer.
Click here to see how to setup the Google Chromecast (2015) and use the new Chromecast App.