back to article Google literally dangles its new dongle in front of gasping TV audiences

Google has redesigned its $35 Chromecast TV dongle, and come up with the Chromecast Audio – a new gizmo that streams music over Wi-Fi to speakers. Chromecast Small dangle dongle for streaming Two years ago, Google launched the Chromecast, which looks like a fat USB stick, plugs directly into a TV's HDMI socket, and streams …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Back in the day

    My state of the art HD plasma came with one, count it, one HDMI socket.

    I'd love to use these gizmos but I am not buying a new TV just to do so.

    The plasma, BTW, is still running very well, well enough for the shite that's on telly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Back in the day

      Just get a cheap HDMI switch....

      1. joeW Silver badge

        Re: Back in the day

        But then he'd have nothing to complain about!

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Back in the day

      I have two HDMI on my TV.

      But I just bought a £5 gadget off Amazon and whatever one was newest turned on, it will automatically switch to.

      I was originally going to post about the stupid design, but this is relevant also - the switch I use and my current ChromeCast, along with various other HDMI-gadgets are all in a cupboard out of sight. Because everyone has a different opinion on what colour black, and what colour cable, and what shape (square, rounded, edgey, odd, etc.) and I disagree with almost all of them.

      So all that's on-show for me is a large rectangular black screen with nothing else on it. That's it. All the gadgetry is in a cupboard out of sight. And yet I can ChromeCast, switch between cable, Freeview and satellite (even Italian satellite), join my laptop, the Wii, etc. etc. etc.

      The Chromecast is particularly nice in that I power it from the USB cable supplied from the TV itself so that when the TV turns on (and only when the TV turns on) does the Chromecast start up. Saves a lot of those precious 2.4GHz airwaves when I'm not using it but I never have to remember to turn it on.

      I've ordered the new Chromecast for several reasons a) it's cheap and I get a lot of use out of it, b) the new one can finally use 5GHz channels (amazing how quiet they are compared to 2.4GHz in my area), c) no matter what stupid design (because even the old one looks daft with the USB on the opposite side of the HDMI), I don't see it, d) it does that nice backgroundy thing which is good at parties when your music runs out and the evening slows.

  3. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Hmmm...

    Which part is "hi-fi" in all that, though?

    1. Andy 97

      Re: Hmmm...

      None of it. Nasty compressed audio, but would you really expect full resolution audio over wifi from Google?

      Saying that, the target market (mostly) is hardly one that demands 24bit.

  4. Steve Evans

    "(Windows 7+ PC, OS X 10.7+ Mac, Android 4.1+ device, or – of course – a Chromebook, although you can't set one up with a Mac nor a Chromebook)"

    So can you set it up on a Chromebook or not, you appear confused...

    1. AndyS

      You can use it from a Chromebook, but not do the initial set-up.

  5. fatbuddha

    "and allows music to be streamed directly to the speakers.". so you'll get a load of dumbasses buying this and then wondering how you plug into it their old (unpowered) speakers. be good if their marketing mentioned that you might need an amp for this purpose.

  6. msknight Silver badge

    Yawn...

    ...that is all.

    1. Richard 81

      Re: Yawn...

      I'm sure Google have taken careful note of your apathy and will endeavour to make more exciting products in the future.

      1. Peshman

        Re: Yawn...

        Like an Amazon FireTV Stick?

        1. TitterYeNot

          Re: Yawn...

          "Like an Amazon FireTV Stick?"

          I bought one of those when they were on offer, and yes, unless you buy into the whole Amazon ecosystem they are a bit 'Yawn'.

          Until you side-load Kodi (XBMC) onto it, then you've got a very small fully functional wireless media tank hidden away behind your TV for £20. I don't think Amazon will be too happy about it though...

          1. Peshman

            Re: Yawn...

            That;s the thing though. It filled a niche that I didn't know I had. I paid for prime purely for the delivery service. 80 quid a year for next day delivery and drop off/delivery to a Collect+ point made it worth paying for. A single Collect+ delivery to my local corner shop is £3.50 and next day delivery was an extra fee on top of that too. Prime video was a nice little extra but not a deal breaker by any means.

            Then along comes the offer of buying a FireTV Stick for £19 so I bought one as a toy, if it turned out to be a bit shit it only cost me peanuts anyway. First thing to do, install agk fire, Fire Starter, popcorn time, Mobdro and kodi on my android handset and sideload them straight onto the FireTV using its IP address on the local WiFi LAN. The Amazon Fire app lets me use my mobile handset as a keyboard to set everything up. After that the remote control wand that comes in the box with the Firestick makes the whole thing function as a prefectly good HD media device.

          2. The Bam

            Re: Yawn...

            Or just run Plex. I like the Fire stick because of the neat little remote, plus I got it for £19 on special offer. If Chromecast worked with Plex I probably wouldn't have bothered.

      2. msknight Silver badge

        Re: Yawn...

        Well, I took the risk on a chromecast after all the hype, and found it to be very wanting. They're just another walled garden manufacturer with nothing game-changing. Only they're doing it cheaper and without a radio service launched by Sir Elton John, or whatever happened, because I didn't listen to that either.

        At this time in our technological cycle, we should be getting far more flexible, powerful and helpful equipment ... and far more open, especially from a company that founded itself as being on the side of the punter against "the man"

        This is just going to be another over-hyped piece of tat that forces me to use Chrome as my browser of choice on my PC. Screw that.

        1. Yugguy

          Re: Yawn...

          You're doing something wrong then son, as we have Chromecasts on four TVs and the chromecast app on Windows and Android and nothing forces us to use any specific browser.

          In fact, the Chromecast is about the easiest, most unintrusive technology to use.

          It does exactly what it says on the tin, nothing more, nothing less, and it just works, and I like that.

          Much as I hate the Google monster, I can't criticise Chromecast.

          1. Thecowking

            Re: Yawn...

            Yes, I have used chrome to cast exactly once since I got a Chromecast last year and I've used my Chromecast most days. It's a Netflix and iPlayer stick for me.

            Sometimes I cast my tablet screen (because the flickr app doesn't cast), but generally it just makes my dumb panel Bravia from before the dawn of time smart enough for a bit of Stargate or University Challenge on demand.

        2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

          Re: Yawn...

          > At this time in our technological cycle, we should be getting ... and far more open

          Did you miss the memo ? Open is so 20th Century, these days it's all about closed systems and walled gardens.

          > They're just another walled garden manufacturer ...

          But like the others, they are vying to be THE walled garden !

          All these companies are doing their best to make it so that the user experience is great if you use nothing but their kit, and horrible if you try and introduce anything "not theirs" into the mix.

          Google is all about getting you locked into their walled garden. Amazon is all about getting you locked into their walled garden. Apple is all about getting you locked into their walled garden. And so on.

          If anyone of them looks like they are doing something open and/or altruistic ... then look for the knife in the other hand :-(

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Yawn...

            "But like the others, they are vying to be THE walled garden !"

            Yes, that worked so well for Compuserve, AOL, MSN et al.

            Walled gardens just encourage the building of bigger hammers.

  7. Daniel Hall
    FAIL

    hmnn

    I hope your HDMI slots are really strong because that thing looks like your port will be facing the ground a bit after not so long...

    Before anyone says anything, I used to work in a TV repair centre and as such, know exactly how delicate those ports are!

    1. TheProf
      Angel

      Re: hmnn

      Blu-Tack, double sided sticky tape, self adhesive velcro tape, hot glue, Bostik, nails.

      There's a world of solutions out there.

      1. Steven Raith
        Facepalm

        Re: hmnn

        Or, heaven forbid, an HDMI extendsion.

        It astounds me the lack of imagination some people will employ to try to knock something.

        Steven R

        1. Daniel Hall

          Re: hmnn

          But would it hurt them to include a cheap 0.5 metre HDMI lead?

          Surely in bulk they cant cost any more than 50p a go to the google gods?

    2. thesykes
      FAIL

      Re: hmnn

      Wow, Google must've added a few kilos to the weight of the new Chromecast then. The old version is very light, and I would say puts less strain onto a HMDI port than any of the HDMI cables that hang down from them.

    3. Glenturret Single Malt

      Re: hmnn

      "The device itself feels a bit heavier in my palm as a result, but it's still just 39.1g or 0.086 lbs. Given the superior antenna, I'm okay with that - it won't weigh down my television mount."

      From a review I read online.

    4. Hoppy

      Re: hmnn

      Blue Tack, (Other brands are available)

    5. DaviesG

      Re: hmnn

      ....Whats wrong a dab of with Blu tack on the back of the Chromecast?

      Maybe some comes in the box?

      although, probably not...

    6. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: hmnn

      Stop buying cheap junk TV's and dangling heavy stuff off them on highly-tensed cables. There is no design solution for such a thing that you would ever want to afford.

      I run a 2m HDMI cable to the cupboard in which all the junk sits - supported by gravity and an invention called a "shelf" - so that the strain on the TV ports is zero, and the strain on the device ports is zero, and the strain on the cables is the weight of the cable itself. Hell, I even use cheap right-angle HDMI connectors on the TV because some bright-spark thought it was a good idea to hide HDMI at the rear in a tiny recess so all the cables poke out the back of their "ultra-thin" TV rather than plug in on a recess on the side that you could hide enough to not have anything visibly coming out the side of the TV. It gets in the way of the mounting bracket, so I had to use right-angles.

      And my mounting bracket? It swings 1m from the wall, in any direction, facing any way because the only thing "stopping" it is one 2m HDMI cable that goes less than 0.5m to the cupboard.

  8. Kaltern

    If a HDMI cable was included, people would just complain about the added cost, pointlessness of it and that it may possibly act as a transdimensional gateway to the Google Overlords of Data.

    (that last may possibly be true,)

  9. dotdavid

    Multiroom audio?

    I'd be interested in the Chromecast Audio if it did multiroom streaming. Not sure from the marketing info whether or not this is supported, but if it is this would be a good alternative to a pricey Sonos system.

    1. TitterYeNot

      Re: Multiroom audio?

      "I'd be interested in the Chromecast Audio if it did multiroom streaming."

      My thoughts exactly. From what I've read elsewhere, it doesn't support it at the moment, but will do at some point in the future (i.e. has the hardware capability to do so.)

      So I guess it's wait and see for now.

    2. dc_m

      Re: Multiroom audio?

      Too right, and if it can play seamlessly from google music without dropouts, then it could actually replace the pure jongo setup I have!

  10. sabroni Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Coral is a colour?

    Like "sweets" is, or "jumpers". It's available in black, red and yellow, marketing arseholes!

    And where I come from lemonade is clear and colourless.

    1. thesykes

      Re: Coral is a colour?

      If only the "marketing arseholes" at Google had some way of performing a search and being able to see photographs of such things....

  11. Patito

    which tele has usb-c ???

    Ok, nice article but this remark is just ridiculous

    "Power comes from a USB connection, oddly a USB 2 port given that the rest of Google's Nexus and Pixel line announced at the same time use USB Type-C connectors."

    Since when does a television have usb-c connectors, its pretty obvious they need to put a normal usb connector.

    Maybe in the future in the 4th generation of the Chromecast and even then you would need backwards compatibility, so just a adapter to usb-c will do fine then as well.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: which tele has usb-c ???

      The USB Type-C would only be on the device, the cable would just have a standard Type-A at the other end, just like they have done with the new Nexus devices.

      1. Peshman

        Re: which tele has usb-c ???

        So you're proposing USB Type-C for what added value? The port is only for power, not data, so why reinvent the wheel? Micro USB 2 works perfectly well and there are enough third party cable manufacturers to keep the price as cheap as chips.

  12. Adam Hartfield

    If the Chromecast Audio can take the place of my mothballed Linksys Wireless Music Bridge, which allowed me to stream from my Windows laptop to my stereo, it will be the answer to my prayers. Whatever I could play on the laptop, I could listen to on the stereo; codecs and formats didn't matter. What I can't quite figure out is if I can only stream cloudy media to it, or if I can use my local music library played through WMP or VLC.

  13. Ba55me15ter

    The only thing I've found wanting on the original Chromecast is support for Dolby Digital Plus, which is used quite a lot on Netflix. Does the new one support it?

  14. styx-tdo

    supported OS

    Windows 7+ PC, OS X 10.7+ Mac, Android 4.1+ device, or – of course – a Chromebook, although you can't set one up with a Mac nor a Chromebook).

    add Chrome for Linux, hopefully. Works with the old stick.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019