Your living room is about to get a bit on an upgrade. During an event in San Francisco on Tuesday Google announced an updated version of its popular Chromecast streaming device, as well as a new product called Chromecast Audio that offers some of the same streaming features for your tunes.
The first thing you’ll notice about the next generation of the Chromecast streaming device is that it has a bit of a new look. Now in several colors -- black, yellow and red -- the device is now a complete circle, with a cable extended from the side. This new design will likely make it much easier to connect to televisions with awkwardly-placed HDMI ports.
Like the previous version, the device allows you to stream content from supported apps such as Netflix and Hulu, as well as from the Chrome browser on your computer. The device now supports new Wi-Fi streaming standards and has three built-in antennas to connect to your network, an upgrade from the singe antenna in the first version. A new feature called “Fast Play” pre-fetches content before you press the play button, cutting down on buffering times. The app for the device has also gotten an upgrade and now shows popular content from partner apps such as Netflix and YouTube. It also offers universal voice search, so you can search for a particular show or movie you want to watch, and get results from apps like Netflix, Hulu and Google Play simultaneously.
Like the previous version of the device, the new Chromecast remains an affordable streaming option, priced at $35.
In addition to the new Chromecast for video, Google announced a new product today called Chromecast Audio. The device sports a similar look to the traditional Chromecast, but is designed to work with your home speakers.
Chromecast Audio connects via a standard 3.5mm audio port, and currently works with Pandora, Spotify, iHeart Radio, Google Play Music and TuneIn Radio, with more apps likely to be introduced in the future. You’ll need a separate Chromecast for each speaker you want to control, and each will need to be connected to power as well as the audio port on your speaker. Down the line, the device will also support multi-room audio, so you’ll be able to play tunes across your entire home. The idea being you can create a Sonos-like system with older speakers. Chromecast Audio is priced at $35.
Both devices are available starting today from the Google Play store.
Related: Google Launches Home Wi-Fi Router