Google just announced and released the 2nd generation of Chromecast on September 29, about 2 years after the initial release of Chromecast.
You can order the new Chromecast through Google Store or Best Buy now.
You may wonder what’s new in the new Chromecast (Chromecast 2015) and whether you should update to the new Chromecast.
In this post, I will share with you the top 5 new features and improvements of the new Chromecast (Chromecast 2015).
Detailed how-to guides for the new Chromecast will be added gradually.
1. Chromecast Audio: a new member of the new Chromecast family:
In addition to the normal Chromecast with HDMI interface, Google released the new Chromecast Audio for your speaker.
You can connect Chromecast Audio to a speaker (or a soundbar or even your home theatre system) through the 3.5mm audio cable.
Chromecast Audio instantly turns your speakers or soundbar into a “smart” and “connected” device. It can stream music from the cloud or from your phones or other devices. Please check Chromecast Audio guides here.
It is better than a Bluetooth speaker:
- It does not drain the phone’s battery because your phone is just a remote control if you stream music from the internet.
- You can use the phone for any other activities. You can make or receive calls while enjoying the music.
- Even the old speakers in your garage will work with Chromecast Audio as long as it has a 3.5mm jack.
- Better audio quality than many old Bluetooth devices.
Chromecast Audio is NOT a strip-down version of Chromecast. Chromecast Audio actually has almost identical specifications to the HDMI-interfaced new Chromecast.
The major difference is output. The under-hood software is slightly different.
Please check this page on the differences between Chromecast and Chromecast Audio.
Update: Google Home works similar to Chromecast Audio + a speaker.
Update 2: Google silently discontinued Chromecast Audio in early 2019. If you still need Chromecast Audio, you may try a normal Chromecast and an HDMI audio extractor, as explained in this guide.
2. New Chromecast has a new design, and is colourful!
The new Chromecast is re-designed, and you have three colour options for the new Chromecast (Chromecast 2015).
One major complaint of the 1st generation Chromecast is the bulb-like shape which is not friendly to other HDMI devices. It may leave litter space for other HDMI cables/devices.
In the new Chromecast, the HDMI cable is attached magnetically to the device (and to the TV as well) and is flexible. So, the new Chromecast will not affect the positioning for other HDMI devices/cables.
The new Chromecast is now disk-like with the Chrome logo in the top.
It is very interesting that Google offers 3 colours for new Chromecast. In addition to the always-correct black colour, you can also get a red Chromecast or yellow Chromecast.
Anyway, very likely, Chromecast is placed behind the TV. Therefore, the colour for most Chromecast users, maybe not so important.
But if you want to give this $35 new Chromecast as a gift, or if you put the Chromecast on the TV bench, you will appreciate the colour options.
3. New Chromecast boosts dual-band and 802.11 AC support, and better antennas
The old Chromecast (Chromecast 1st generation) only supports 2.4GHz WiFi. It is proven it is a serious problem for high-quality video streaming.
Although Google offered a $15 Ethernet adapter for Chromecast to partially solve the connection issue, most owners expect dual-band 2.4/5GHz support.
The new Chromecast solved the connection speed issue.
Dual-band and 802.11AC support in the new Chromecast (Chromecast 2015) surely is sufficient for all Chromecast owners.
To make it even better, new Chromecast adopts new antenna design optimized for WiFi streaming.
4. New Chromecast supports Fast Play and Chromecast gaming
With the launch of new Chromecast, two new features for the new Chromecast were introduced: Fast Play and Chromecast gaming.
Fast Play in the new Chromecast can pre-fetch video contents for the supported video streaming app (e.g., Netflix). You will be able to enjoy your video faster (less waiting time).
Chromecast gaming let you enjoy the game on the big screen. It is faster and more responsive than screen casting. The game developer can add more features to the game. And it is possible to make your phone as a game controller with Chromecast gaming.
Of course, both Fast Play and Chromecast gaming require supported apps/games. App developers need to add some codes to benefit from these features.
5. Updated Chromecast App
Before announcing the new Chromecast devices, Google just updated the Chromecast app.
Some features are very useful, for example, What’s On lets you browse popular and featured content from your favourite cast-enabled apps.
Of course, the new features in the updated Chromecast app also available for the 1st generation Chromecast.
Please follow this guide on how to use the new Chromecast app.
What’re your thoughts on the new Chromecast and the Chromecast Audio?
Please share your thoughts on the new Chromecast (Chromecast 2015) and Chromecast Audio in the comment box below.
For Chromecast Audio guides, please visit the Chromecast Audio guide page.
For guides for Chromecast including both 1st generation Chromecast, new Chromecast (aka Chromecast 2015), Chromecast 2018 and Chromecast Ultra, please visit Chromecast how-to guides page.