Google releases improved Chromecast for the same $35 price

Google announces its newly designed Chromecastvideo-streaming device.
James Martin/CNET

New Chromecast is here, and it's still dirt cheap.
The latest version of Google's popular streaming dongle offers a host of improvements, to better allow users to "cast" video, audio and other apps from their phones and tablets to their TVs.

It's available today in 17 countries for the same $35 US price as the old Chromecast.

Instead of an integrated "stick," the new Chromecast is a round puck with an integrated HDMI cable attached.

This design keeps it very compact, but attachment to the cramped rear panels of many TVs should be easier. It also comes in a choice of colors, including red, yellow and black.

One of the chief complaints about the old Chromecast was balky Wi-Fi connectivity, but Google says the new version is much better.

It works with the latest 802.11ac standard via both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks.

Google touts the new adaptive antenna system, complete with three antennas, said to drastically improve streaming stability over a range of conditions.

The new Chromecast app offers
cross-platform search
Chromecast still requires your phone or tablet for use--unlike with other streamers such as the Roku Stick or the Amazon Fire TV Stick, there's no physical remote--but Google is aiming to better compete against those devices with an all-new Chromecast app.

The app also eases discovery by showing the most popular TV shows, movies and other video content across apps.

It can also search across apps. Google's demo showed a voice search of "X-Files" hitting results from Netflix and Hulu, for example.



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