Chromecast streaming devices for speakers and television
Chromecast streaming devices for speakers and television
The article, titled, Google Unveils New Devices to Connect Smartphone and TV, was published by Conor Dougherty in the New York Times on the 29th day of September, 2015. The article discusses two new devices launched by Google. One of the devices can be used to stream content between mobile phones and televisions. The device envisions to transform televisions into devices for accessing the internet, where channels are replaced by mobile applications, with the mobile phone being at the core of the technology.
Google’s Chromecast transmits content directly from a mobile phone to a television through the internet. The device serves as a waypoint between televisions and phones and merely extends the applications on smartphones. Other companies have introduced comparable devices into the market, including Apple, Roku and Amazon. However, Google’s Chromecast is different in that is approximately the shape and size of a silver dollar, while Apple’s TV is principally a minute computer with a huge storage space for applications. Additionally, this new device is considerably cheaper, retailing at $35 as compared to Apple TV that goes for $149. The other device, Chromecast Audio, can be plugged directly into speakers to receive audio content from phones. To enhance the device’s performance, Google partnered with Sportify, a music streaming application that is currently in competition with Apple Music.
Chromecast devices are powered by their micro-USB ports to a USB port or a power supply. Video Chromecasts are plugged into HDMI ports of high definition TVs or monitors, while Chromecast Audio is plugged into 3.5mm audio jacks. Typically, the devices access the internet via Wi-Fi connection to a local network. There are two possible ways of streaming content to a television using Chromecast. The first method uses web apps and mobile apps that support Google Cast technology, while the second technique facilitates paralleling the content displayed on the Google Chrome browser installed on a personal computer, in addition to content on some Android devices.
When there is nothing being streamed, the device usually displays a user-defined content feed known as Backdrop. It may include personal or featured photos, weather, artwork, weather forecasts, news and satellite images. Previously, the controlling devices and the Chromecast had to be connected to the same network to enable casting. In the new devices, a guest mode feature has been included, which allows controlling devices to find Chromecast devices within range by identifying ultrasonic sounds produced by the TV. On the other hand, a four-digit code displayed on the screen may be used to pair the controlling device with the Chromecast.
The mobile app used in Chromecast is available for iOS and Android devices and enables initial hardware setup, facilitates the device’s settings configuration and gives information about the Backdrop. Additional features have been added to the original app, such as a link to search other Google Cast-compatible apps, as well as the aggregation of media available from Google Cast apps on a user’s device.
The new Chromecast is fundamentally different from the first generation Chromecast. It features a disc-like body with a short and flexible HDMI cable that can magnetically stick to the device’s body to give more positioning alternatives behind a TV. It also supports 5 GHz bands and 802.11 ac, as well as three adaptive antenna that facilitate superior connection to home networks.
Nevertheless, Chromecast has inherent weaknesses. First is the Chromecast system requirements. While the device may work even of a computer does not meet all the requirements, the overall experience is not impressive. Secondly, Chromecast cannot communicate with personal computers over secure corporate VPNs or proxy servers. Consequently, people who are not comfortable with logging into public Wi-Fi due to potential security issues cannot use the device, especially while traveling. Additionally, since the device requires a power source, it may complicate the user’s setting, especially if one already has other gadgets plugged into the entertainment system and had no available outlet. However, the device may be plugged into USB ports of high definition TVs as a power source. Lastly, Chromecast mobile apps only support Android and iOS platforms. People using other platforms, such as Windows and Blackberry cannot stream content using their smartphones.
These devices have introduced innovative ways of searching for content, especially in the current world where people are increasing relying on applications. For instance, one of the Chromecast applications has the capability of searching for all content that can be streamed by the Chromecast device. According to Google, the application is meant to serve as a TV guide for applications on one’s smartphone. Chromecast is Google’s way of simplifying life even further. Currently, one has to search the internet for content, download it and find a way of streaming the same to a television set. With Chromecast, one device automatically searches for content and streams it through a smartphone to a TV, using the existing mobile applications. Evidently, Chromecast will go a long way on making the living room more comfortable and bringing quality entertainment to every living room. Additionally, the size of the dongle makes it easily portable and facilitates connection with home entertainment systems without clogging the available space.
Chromecast may be an achievement for Google in the developed nations, but the same cannot be said of the device in less developed nations where access to the internet is limited. Additionally, while the price of the device is comparatively affordable, marketing it to people in less developed countries may be a significant hurdle due to issues such as taxes charged on imports. The device is tailored to depend on smartphones for it to function. There are millions of people who do not use smartphones. This implies that this population will not be able to use the device unless they acquire Android or iOS smartphones, which further increases the cost of acquiring Chromecast. Without a doubt, Chromecast is a significant step towards improving the quality of entertainment and content that can be accessed comfortable by the common man. By automatically searching for content and streaming the same, people no longer have to use their computers to search for content over the internet. Additionally, the device is more affordable as compared to other devices in the market. Google’s partnership with Sportify is a strategic move that will ensure that Google stays ahead of its competition. However, the device fails to consider the first time smartphone buyer who does not know what applications are. More so, people in areas with limited internet connectivity and those without smartphones cannot use the device. A few tweaks may help in making Chromecast the preferred source of entertainment.