treaming media isn’t a new idea. Internet radio and video sharing sites have been around for over a decade, and smartphones might not have become as popular (some say necessary) as they are today had Apple and Google not worked together in 2007 to bring H.264 YouTube streaming to the first iPhone. We want to watch and listen to the things we like on our own schedule, and we all want it to be easy to do while still looking and sounding great.
While there are dozens of different ways to stream media from the internet to your TV or stereo, Chromecast remains one of the most popular options because of the way you initiate things. Clunky and slow user interfaces are replaced by your phone or your web browser with the ability to handoff control between devices and to allow multiple people to get in on the fun. You are comfortable with the way your phone works, and you know how to use the tools it has. Adding in one button to send media streams to the television is just better than most anything else. Add in a low cost of entry and you have a recipe for success.
If you’re thinking of buying a Chromecast, the first thing you’ll want to do is make sure you pick the right one. That’s where the Chromecast buyer’s guide comes in. In five minutes you’ll be able to make the right choice and get the device that suits your needs the best.
Chromecasts can finally be added to speaker groups in the Google Home app
If you’re part of the Preview Program in the Google Home app, you may want to check your Chromecast settings as a long-awaited feature is rolling out now — support for speaker groups!
Spotted by XDA Developers, you can now open the Google Home app and add any of your Chromecast devices to a new or existing speaker group. The functionality appears to be live for all generations of Chromecast, going all the way back to the original one from 2013.
It’s currently unclear when Chromecast support for audio groups will be available for everyone, but it’s exciting nonetheless that this is finally a thing.
You can now skip Netflix intros when using Chromecast
Ever since last year, Netflix has allowed you to easily skip the intros of TV shows when watching content on your computer, phone, or via an app on your smart TV. You can also Stream Showbox to TV Using Chromecast. Now, as spotted by Android Police, that functionality is rolling out to Chromecast.
While casting Netflix to your TV, you’ll see a button on the cast screen on your phone titled “skip intro.” Upon pressing it, the intro will be skipped and you’ll be taken to the next part of the show. This is currently only available when casting from an Android phone, but it should roll out to iOS handsets at some point soon.
If you are looking for a way to get music from the internet — whether it be a subscription service like Spotify or Google Play Music or audio from YouTube or even music stored on your phone — the Chromecast Audio is a great way to do it.
It’s an audio-only device, so if you want to send video or images you’ll need to look at other options in our guide. But it’s a dedicated audio streamer done right. With a 24-bit audio decoder and both 3.5 mm and optical audio output through the mini toslink jack, you’ll be able to send high-quality audio to just about any speaker setup available. Setup is easy — provide power and plug an audio cable from the Chromecast output to the input jack on your receiver or powered speakers and you’re done. You can even run the output through a small bookshelf amplifier to create a complete stand-alone audio system that sounds a lot better than the price tag would suggest.
The Chromecast Audio is small and lightweight, uses very little power and delivers premium sound to almost any speaker or stereo system. If you’re looking for a way to play music from the internet on the system you have now or just plugging into the back of a small stand-alone speaker the Chromecast Audio is the best way to do it.