Two years after the launch of the first generation Chromecast, Google has finally released a next generation Chromecast. Chromecast is a small gadget that enables you to stream videos from the internet when connected to a TV.
A common problem when using the Chromecast is when the internet connection is not fast enough, one can spend some time waiting for the video to finish buffering. This might be irritating for users wanting a seamless experience. In order to tackle this problem, Google had to be creative, and they found a solution.
The solution to this problem is reflected in both the hardware and software design of the Chromecast. In terms of hardware, Google incorporated a new hardware that can support 5G Wi-Fi networks, meaning that all videos will naturally load faster. This will help reduce the buffering time of videos from streaming websites such as Netflix drastically. In addition to that, Google included a software update called Fast Play. Fast Play basically preloads content immediately after the application is launched, rather than waiting for the application to launch first and then start loading the content.
Google claims that applications using the Fast Play update will load content 80% faster than applications that don’t. If this is true, we should expect to see many apps improve their software in order to utilize this update since it gets their content delivered faster.
Rishi Chandra is a Vice President of product management at Google. She made a comment about the new Chromecast.
“By the time I scroll down and hit play, the video has already loaded,” she said. “No more buffering. It totally changes the streaming experience.”
The device is currently priced at $35 and the Fast Play update is expected to be rolled out to existing devices at some time in the future, although an exact date is still unknown. On the bright side, Google has made it known to developers that they will soon be able to start working on improving their applications to accommodate the Fast Play update.
In order to further appreciate the performance of the Chromecast, here is a comparison of specs with two of its competitors; Roku’s HDMI version of its streaming stick and Amazon’s new Fire TV stick. The specs of all three devices look very similar. The key features that distinct the devices are the internal storage and RAM. The Fire TV stick has 8 GB of internal memory and 1 GB of RAM while the Chromecast and Roku are left to settle for 512 MB and 256 MB respectively.