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Chromecast or Google Cast? Google’s confusing wireless streaming tech explained - Beritaja

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A Chromecast extremity connected a TV.Phil Nickinson

In 2013, Google debuted a mini gadget called Chromecast. The instrumentality fto you watercourse audio and video from your smartphone, tablet, aliases machine to your TV. At The time, erstwhile smart TVs were still a rarity, it was a acold much affordable measurement to do TV streaming than dedicated streaming media devices for illustration Roku and Apple TV.

The measurement you utilized that first Chromecast instrumentality was to “cast,” The enactment of wirelessly sending contented from your different devices. It didn’t travel pinch its ain remote, truthful casting was The only measurement to get it to play audio and video connected your TV. The exertion that enabled casting from 1 instrumentality to different was fixed its ain name: Google Cast.

So, it’s “Chromecast” (the beingness product) and “Google Cast” — The exertion that lets you play contented connected that merchandise from your different devices. Fairly straightforward, right?

Not truthful fast. Soon aft The motorboat of that original Chromecast device, Google gave different companies The expertise to embed Chromecast functionality in their TVs, soundbars, projectors, and speakers. Suddenly, a Chromecast instrumentality could beryllium almost thing — not conscionable a mini dongle attached to your TV.

This has led to immoderate disorder astir Google’s technology, and much importantly, The words we usage to picture what it does and really it works. But don’t interest — we’re going to break it each down — and you’ll beryllium a Chromecast/Google Cast master in conscionable a fewer minutes.

Here’s everything you request to know.

Let’s commencement by explaining The astir important conception erstwhile it comes to Google’s streaming devices and technology: The quality betwixt hardware and software.

Chromecast hardware

As we noted above, The original Chromecast instrumentality made by Google was a mini HDMI dongle that you plugged into your TV. Once connected to powerfulness and your Wi-Fi network, it fto you transmit video contented from your computer, smartphone, aliases tablet to your TV.

That instrumentality proved very celebrated acknowledgment to its debased value and simplicity of operation, and was quickly followed by The Chromecast Audio (for transmitting conscionable audio to a group of powered speakers aliases immoderate instrumentality pinch an audio input). Google yet introduced 2 much Chromecasts, including The 4K/HDR-capable Chromecast Ultra.

All of these devices shared a communal philosophy. They depended connected a root instrumentality to “cast” contented to them. They didn’t person distant controls — everything from The prime of what is being formed to playback power was done from The root device. There was nary on-screen interface and nary built-in apps aliases functions.

In 2016, erstwhile Google wanted to make it clear that you could besides formed to prime third-party devices, it created The explanation “Chromecast built-in.” At The time, this made sense. If your smart TV had Chromecast built-in, it meant it could do The aforesaid things arsenic a Chromecast Ultra (if it was a 4K/HDR TV) and if your soundbar has Chromecast built-in, it meant it could The aforesaid things arsenic a Chromecast Audio.

Enter Google TV

Google Chromecast pinch Google TV displayed connected a mantle.Caleb Denison

While Google’s portfolio of Chromecast devices proved popular, location was nary getting astir The truth that The deficiency of an on-screen interface and distant power was becoming a problem. As devices from Roku and Amazon became cheaper and cheaper, Chromecast devices began to suffer their appeal.

Strangely, Google had already created a competitory level known arsenic Android TV, which respective TV and set-top container makers were utilizing to create rich, app-driven streaming media experiences. But Google had ne'er created its ain Android TV product.

That changed in 2020 pinch The merchandise of Google Chromecast pinch Google TV, a complete streaming media device based connected Android TV, but enhanced pinch a typical contented find interface known arsenic Google TV. Shortly aft The emergence of this caller device, Google discontinued each of its older Chromecast products.

Google Chromecast pinch Google TV proved to beryllium a very compelling merchandise that kept each of The casting capabilities of The older Chromecast devices, but could besides beryllium utilized independently arsenic a standalone streaming platform. Today, location are 2 versions: 1 that handles 4K/HDR, and a little costly exemplary that is constricted to 1080p/HDR.

Unfortunately, this created a disconnect in The minds of buyers. If you bargain a soundbar pinch “Chromecast built-in,” does that mean it does The aforesaid things arsenic a Google Chromecast pinch Google TV? What astir a wireless speaker? Or an Android TV set-top box?

Back to Google Cast

Evolution of Google Cast/Chromecast built-in.Simon Cohen

Google realized astatine this constituent that The explanation Chromecast built-in nary longer conveyed The correct accusation to buyers. These third-party devices, from soundbars and projectors, to smart TVs and Wi-Fi-connected speakers from brands for illustration LG, JBL, Bang & Olufsen, Vizio, Denon, and galore much — they each still stock The aforesaid cardinal feature: The expertise to person Google Cast sessions from compatible products, but they do not reproduce The afloat group of features of Google’s existent Chromecast pinch Google TV streamer.

It took a while to get things sorted, but in May 2024, Google changed Chromecast built-in backmost to Google Cast.

Ultimately, however, Chromecast built-in and Google Cast mean The aforesaid thing: a merchandise base 1 of these labels Can person casted audio and/or video, depending connected whether it has a surface aliases conscionable a speaker.

How does Google Cast work?

Casting uses different techniques depending connected The contented you want to watch aliases perceive to. If The contented you’re casting comes from a streaming service, specified arsenic YouTube aliases Spotify, you’re really sending an instruction from 1 instrumentality to another. When casting a YouTube video from your telephone to a Google Cast-enabled device, your telephone is saying, “Here’s a YouTube video I want you to play.” The cast-enabled instrumentality past dutifully responds by accessing YouTube straight utilizing its ain net relationship truthful it Can watercourse that video for you.

In this scenario, your telephone is simply acting arsenic a distant control, and that includes The expertise to play, pause, aliases fast-forward/rewind.

The only limitation is that your chosen streaming app must support casting. Not each of them do, and immoderate are picky astir which devices are utilized to do The casting. Amazon Prime Video, for instance, will fto you formed from an Android aliases iOS device, but not from a computer.

If you want to formed euphony stored connected your machine aliases telephone aliases reflector The full contents of your phone’s surface aliases possibly a tab in The Chrome browser, that contented must beryllium physically streamed complete your location web (or complete a hotel’s Wi-Fi network) from 1 instrumentality to another.

Isn’t that what Apple AirPlay does?

Pretty much. Google Cast and AirPlay activity very similarly, but pinch a fewer cardinal differences.

PCs, Android, and iOS devices Can each formed contented to compatible Google Cast-enabled devices. AirPlay-enabled devices Can only judge streamed contented from Apple products, for illustration iPhones, iPads, and Macs. At The moment, there’s nary support for AirPlay connected Android aliases Windows devices.

Google Cast besides supports higher-resolution audio: You Can watercourse up to 24-bit/96kHz hi-res lossless audio utilizing Google Cast, but AirPlay is restricted to 16-bit/44.1kHz CD-quality lossless audio. In The autumn of 2024, Apple expects to add spatial audio streaming to its AirPlay protocol, thing Google Cast doesn’t presently offer.

Google Cast and Google Home

One of The advantages of owning a merchandise pinch Google Cast is that it Can beryllium managed from wrong The Google Home app connected iOS and Android. Once added to Google Home, you’ll beryllium capable to power things for illustration playback and measurement for each device, delegate them to different rooms, and, if they’re speakers, create speaker groups that will play The aforesaid casted audio simultaneously. You’ll besides beryllium capable to usage Google Assistant to power these devices pinch your sound and adhd them to smart location routines.

How to cast

Netflix app highlighting The Google Cast icon.Netflix

In your favourite mobile app, look for a rectangular icon pinch 3 concentric rings in The corner. On immoderate apps, this Can beryllium recovered connected The main screen, for illustration The Android Netflix app seen above. On different apps, it whitethorn only beryllium accessible from The playback screen.

Tap that icon, and you’ll beryllium presented pinch a database of The Google Cast-compatible devices connected your network. Keep in mind, if you’re casting video content, The database will only show you video-capable devices for illustration smart TVs aliases streaming media devices. When casting audio, you will apt spot some audio- and video-capable Google Cast devices.

Simply prime your desired instrumentality from The database to statesman a casting session. Depending connected whether you tapped The formed icon from a playback surface aliases not, your chosen contented whitethorn statesman playing connected your selected instrumentality correct away, aliases you whitethorn request to initiate playback from The casting device.

Active casting convention icon.

Once The casting convention has started, The formed icon will alteration from an quiet rectangle to a filled-in rectangle. You Can power playback aliases extremity The casting convention astatine immoderate clip by tapping connected The Cast icon again.

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Editor: Naga



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