Streaming media is on fire and Google’s Chromecast is one of the earlier, mainstream devices to capitalize on this. Offering a cheap, quick, and easy way to stream music and video to HDMI-enabled devices, the third-generation Google Chromecast enjoys three years of streamlining and built-up support for its functionalities and app integrations. But, perhaps the most intriguing integration added this year is with its own Chromecast-enabled brethren.
Google’s Chromecast streaming dongle looks like a physical manifestation of the word “dongle.” Dangling from the back of your TV, the pendent Chromecast connects to a Micro-USB cable which can connect to the included wall adapter or your TV’s USB port. You may want to choose the former connection, though, if you’d like to enable Chromecast to turn your TV on. This year the large Chrome logo on flashy, glossy plastic has been replaced by a much small letter “G” and a matte finish in either charcoal gray or chalk white.
The third-generation Chromecast is 15% faster than the previous version, which helps it to support streams of up to 1080p video at 60 frames-per-second – a step up from last year’s 1080p at 30fps/720p at 60fps cap, but still a step below the 4K resolution offered on the older, more expensive Google Chromecast Ultra.Bluetooth has long been a requested feature among fans of the Google Chromecast, specifically to enable connections with wireless earphones or Bluetooth speakers. Unfortunately, the users still won’t find that here in the latest generation, so you’ll have to rely on your TV’s built-in audio connectivity for such things.
Users can also now include the Google Chromecast in speaker groups for multi-device audio – a feature omitted from the previous generation. This is an excellent option for including your soundbar or home theater in a whole-home audio setup.