Tech

Google Chromecast (2015)

We bought the first generation of Chromecast right out there are two and a half years, but we were served little, preferring the comfort of a remote control system. Now the Chromecast is operated by using a smartphone, tablet or computer. But for all those, especially the young, who spend most of their time on their mobile, the Chromecast is an obvious choice. Its very affordable price (39 euros), versatility and the ability to broadcast on a TV Internet content of their choice are its main assets.

If you already have the first generation Chromecast and that this new version you are interested, wait a bit and read this article. Our test allowed us to conclude that both models are very similar, at least as long as one has a good Wi-Fi coverage. The main advantage of the new Chromecast is its Wi-Fi module more effective, it which makes it usable in areas where the Wi-Fi signal is weak or very crowded otherwise.

Google Chromecast 2015

In true Google tradition, the most important developments go through a software update that works well with the latest Chromecast than the old model. This free app is well advanced, with features search and navigation that the closer a multimedia box like Roku and others. However, rather Chromecast is revealed as an accessory for vacations, holidays with friends or episodic connections as a primary source for streaming in a real residential installation. In short, this is a cheap gadget to possess in its accessories. Furthermore, if you want to broadcast your music on your audio system via your smartphone without turning on the TV, Google declined the Chromecast in an audio version specifically which costs the same.

What makes this small wheel?

For those who do not know Chromecast, it takes a little time to understand its operation. This is one of the most affordable ways to access apps like Netflix or YouTube, listen to music through services such as Spotify, view photos, web pages and other content on its television. And instead of using a remote control to access the menus from the TV screen, you control everything from applications on your smartphone or tablet while the sound and picture are output to the TV and audio system.

Google Chromecast 2015

Chromecast To use the module, you must: a TV with an HDMI connector that is to correct range of a Wi-Fi network connected on Access High Flow, a smartphone or Android or iOS tablet, a computer with the Chrome browser and Google Cast extension. And assuming you do not have Wi-Fi access available, Google sells an Ethernet adapter Chromecast.

Chromecast itself comes in the form of a roller round in black, lemon or coral. From the one side, emerges an HDMI cable non-detachable flat of about 10 cm. The device will actually spend most of his time plugged into the back of a TV. A well thought magnet system allows wind the cable once it is connected. An also very convenience for transportation. This integrated cable is also one of the main developments in design compared to the old model, which was more like a standard USB key, which was less convenient to connect. In contrast to this HDMI cable is the port for the USB power cable that plugs directly into the TV or while mains via the supplied adapter. The advantage of the outlet is that, unlike the USB connection, you will not have to wait twenty seconds after the TV was switched on for the Chromecast operational. But performance is the same regardless of the type of food chosen.

Google Chromecast 2015

How Chromecast

Once connected and powered device, you must connect to Android or iOS app store on your mobile device to install the Chromecast application. Without it, you can not configure the system. The simple procedure is to give a name to his Chromecast then select a Wi-Fi network.

The main advantage of this new version is that it is compatible with the 5 GHz Wi-Fi which is less subject to interference than the 2.4GHz. This interference can be caused by microwave ovens or Bluetooth accessories. So if you have the 5 GHz Wi-Fi, we recommend using it for Chromecast 2015 and all other wireless devices you own.

Google Chromecast 2015

For use a service like Netflix, you have two options. The first is to launch the Netflix app from your smartphone or tablet and then press the icon “Spread” that looks like a TV with the Wi-Fi signal in the lower right corner. A menu appears with the various devices available among whom must be Chromecast module. Press it and starts playing on your TV. You can then control the service from your mobile that makes remote office. The second option is to select TV programs and movies then launch applications dedicated by using the new version of the Chromecast application. For all this work, you need not only a good Wi-Fi as well as applications streaming services concerned are installed on your smartphone or tablet with the corresponding subscription if necessary. It is also particularly important that these applications are compatible with Chromecast. We find many through Google Play. One of the most significant additions is the music streaming service Spotify listening who currently works with the new version of Chromecast but should soon be available for the old model. Free and paid versions of the service are compatible. There are also many sports applications, from TV services (Vevo, MyCanal, Gulli, Flixster, SFR TV …), games, utilities including Google Photos, etc.

The new application Chromecast

The most interesting aspect of the new Chromecast module does not respect its aesthetic changes but the new application that positions a little device rival of Apple TV Roku and whose Commercialization is expected in France in late October. Moreover, the application is also compatible with the old Chromecast.

Google Chromecast 2015

Among the novelties, we especially enjoyed the universal search function that approximates the Roku great system. It is certainly not as transparent and “agnostic” but it is already much better than the first Chromecast application that was devoid. If you need a movie or series with Chromecast app, it shows you the results by installed applications. Mainly include YouTube, Google Play Movies, Netflix. Google Play has a very broad offer, but pay. Google promises to regularly enrich the number of applications referenced by the search engine. Queries can be done by typing or by voice. The voice system works very well and proves much more convenient to end the virtual keyboard smartphone or the tablet. The application also offers a selection of series, videos and movies where the contents of YouTube and Netflix are highlighted. In any case, when one has chosen a program from the Chromecast application, it launches the application needed to the third reading. It is then resume serving on the TV screen.

The application also includes a tab that allows you to discover Chromecast compatible applications that are available and not already installed on your terminal.

In use

Chromecast really works very well. But personally we prefer the Roku type systems with a dedicated remote control that are easier and comfortable for everyday use. When we are in the living room, we did not necessarily our smartphone, tablet or computer in hand. And even if that is the case, it is less convenient to turn it on, unlock it and then launch the application in order to watch something. Ditto if you want to interrupt playback or go back to see a missed pass. A remote control button is simpler and faster than the interface of a phone. Furthermore, a “zapper” is easy to use blind once one has memorized the location of buttons, allowing to remain immersed in their program without being distracted by a second screen.

Google Chromecast 2015

Note that Chromecast is HDMI-CEC. This protocol allows commands to transit via HDMI. Thus, on some TVs, it is possible to control Chromecast functions from the original remote. For example, on our Samsung TV, we could start playback and pause with the Netflix service.

Generally, the loading of programs is faster on boxes like Roku or Apple TV on Chromecast. It always flows ten seconds between the time you press the icon “broadcast” and the display on the screen. Former Chromecast was even slower depending on the application. But apart from that, streaming with this device is very similar to what is done with dedicated housings. And those who are comfortable with the keyboard of a smartphone will not mind to do without remote control.

Extras

One of the most significant options is the possibility can broadcast a browser tab Chrome by installing the Google Cast extension. We can thus see facebook pages, Instagram, Google Docs … on their television screen. The advantage of this feature is that it allows access to streaming services that are not directly compatible with Chromecast. We tested it with the Amazon service, but we must admit that the experience was disappointing. Despite a powerful computer and a good Internet connection, the videos were of poor quality. To be used occasionally.

Another function allows to broadcast on the screen which is displayed on the smartphone screen or tablet or playing audio. Practice again to access applications or web sites that are not compatible Chromecast or to disseminate his pictures.

Chromecast module also provides access to some simple games. Google recently provided developers with tools that allow them to design controlled from a mobile games and displayed on a remote screen. Angry Birds Go and include a new version of Monopoly in which you can play up to four people.

Chromecast The screen saver is particularly well thought out. By default, it displays pictures of art galleries and other sources. We can then click those contents to learn more about them. Customizing the screen saver can draw on Google Photos, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr for displaying panoramas.

Note the guest mode by which others in the room can use Chromecast and even without being on the same Wi-Fi network.

We said above that this accessory was all designated for traveling. However, be aware that it only works over Wi-Fi networks that demand a password. However, many hotels and other public places offering free or paid Wi-Fi need to register via a web portal. Unfortunately, like its predecessor, the new Chromecast does not support this kind of procedure.

And also …

The video quality is generally very good. The placing of the Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz to 5 GHz has not changed in this area and we found no difference between the new and the old Chromecast. However, we encountered a problem by watching an episode of the series Narcos. The image suddenly deteriorated to the point of becoming unreadable and had to disconnect and reconnect Chromecast from the app to fix this bug.

Chromecast 2015 does not support the Ultra HD / 4K. This is not really a concern given that the content in this format are still very rare and the display quality of streaming services is quite satisfactory.

Like the old Chromecast The new model also supports Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus, if connected to an HDMI receiver and if the application is compatible with these audio standards. This is particularly the case with Netflix that handles Dolby Digital Plus and Plex. But it is still necessary that the contents themselves support these options.

Google Chromecast 2015

For the Wi-Fi, we have not noticed any significant improvement in stability with respect to the connection 2.4GHz. If you do not have a 5 GHz Wi-Fi at home, you will have no gain in this area with the new version of Chromecast.

Regarding the loading speed, the 2015 model is slightly faster to load videos on wireless 2.4 GHz network: between 2 and 15 seconds depending on the application. It is also faster than 2 seconds on average over a WLAN 5 GHz. Do not forget that the application and the video will load first on the mobile. The performance of the latter are taken into account.

Like the first Chromecast, the 2015 edition is really a very affordable product. For technophiles, it’s an impulse purchase. If you are looking for a streaming device for your principal use, lack of remote control and a true display on the TV screen can be a real handicap. HDMI Roku key which costs a few euros more offers these basic features and is really best suited to everyday use. However, if you have a smartphone, a TV and a little money to spend, it’s worth investing in a Chromecast, even if you do not use it every day.

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