Google Chromecast and Audio: next level streaming

In the excitement of the Google event, we were treated to more than what we had anticipated. The news of the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P had us patiently waiting with our cards at hand, readily looking for dates when this phone will become available in South Africa. Not only that, but Google surprised us with the announcement of the second generation Chromecast and added the Chromecast Audio. As Video on Demand takes over our TV sets and we forget about the TV book of yesteryear, digital streaming devices are making their way into more and more homes.
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Chromecast
The Chromecast has been redesigned from its predecessor, which was shaped like a USB stick that had an HDMI connector on the end and would slide into your TV set. The Chromecast is now a small puck-like device with a magnetic HDMI cable attached which it comes in yellow, black and red. The new Chromecast comes with three antennas and supports 5GHz 802.11ac Wi-Fi for stutter-free high quality streaming. From design and a few WiFi connection upgrades, the device is roughly the same as its predecessor.
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This new Chromecast does just exactly what it was designed to do, with a better connection to reduce buffering and allowing the device to connect to a router from a greater distance. An added feature to the Chromecast is to allow you to cast a game to your TV and use your smartphone as a control. This feature allows for multi-player, as long as you have a smartphone; you have a control.
Google decided to release another device which would work in tandem with the Chromecast and offer you something all the others can‘t.
Chromecast Audio
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The Chromecast Audio is a beautiful device that is designed with the same proportions as the Chromecast, with the added vinyl effect and odd coloured audio cable. It was designed solely to fit into any 3.5mm jack (with support for stereo RCA and optical audio) and act as WiFi receiver. The Chromecast Audio is not a device for video output but a “œpartner“ to the Chromecast to provide the ultimate TV experience. Plug the Chromecast Audio into any speaker, old or new, and you will be able to connect to it with any device to play music or play the audio from the movie you‘ve just cast on your TV. With Multi-room Audio, you can name different Chromecast Audio devices after different rooms in the house and jump between them.
As both these devices will cost you $35 each, you can now afford to have a home entertainment system for under R1000. This is an great price for two devices that will allow you to play movies from a mobile phone on your TV, connect the audio to your surround sound wirelessly without you needing to pay thousands to replace and providing you with a home entertainment center with devices you could potentially never see.
With VOD taking 35% of all TV connections, the Chromecast was a much needed upgrade in an ever growing market. In an industry with players like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, a device as inexpensive as the Chromecast is an interesting addition. As South Africans prepare for Netflix and use the many VOD services already available in South Africa, the new Chromecast and Chromecast Audio is a must have.