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Chromecast, chrome cast
Digital media player

Website Google Chromecast

Chromecast is a line of digital media players developed by Google The devices, designed as small dongles, enable users with a mobile device or personal computer to initiate and control playback of Internet-streamed audio/visual content on a high-definition television or home audio system through mobile and web apps that support the Google Cast technology Alternatively, content can be mirrored from the Google Chrome web browser running on a personal computer, as well as from the screen of some Android devices

The first-generation Chromecast, a video streaming device, was announced on July 24, 2013, and made available for purchase on the same day in the United States for US$35 The second-generation Chromecast and an audio-only model called Chromecast Audio were released in September 2015 A new model called Chromecast Ultra that supports 4K resolution and high dynamic range was released in November 2016

Chromecast was favorably received by critics, who praised its simplicity and potential for future app support The Google Cast SDK was released on February 3, 2014, allowing third parties to modify their software to work with Chromecast and other Cast receivers According to Google, over 20,000 Google Cast–ready apps are available, as of May 2015 Over 30 million units have sold globally since launch, and it was the best-selling streaming device in the United States in 2014, according to NPD Group From Chromecast's launch to May 2015, it handled more than 15 billion stream requests


  • 1 Features and operation
  • 2 Hardware and design
    • 21 First generation
    • 22 Second generation
    • 23 Chromecast Audio
    • 24 Chromecast Ultra
    • 25 Model comparison
  • 3 Software
    • 31 Google Cast SDK and compatible apps
    • 32 Device discovery protocols
    • 33 Operating system
    • 34 Mobile app
  • 4 Release and promotion
  • 5 Reception
    • 51 First generation model
    • 52 Sales and impact
  • 6 See also
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links

Features and operation

Main article: Google Cast § Operation A first-generation Chromecast plugged into the HDMI port of a TV

Chromecast offers two methods to stream content: the first employs mobile and web apps that support the Google Cast technology; the second allows mirroring of content from the web browser Google Chrome running on a personal computer, as well as content displayed on some Android devices In both cases, playback is initiated through the "cast" button on the sender device If a television's HDMI ports support the Consumer Electronics Control CEC feature, pressing the cast button will also result in the video-capable Chromecast automatically turning on the TV and switching the television's active audio/video input using the CEC command "One Touch Playback"

  • The primary method of playing media on the device is through Google Cast–enabled mobile and web apps, which control program selection, playback, and volume The Chromecast itself streams the media from the web within a local version of the Chrome browser, thus freeing the sender device up for other tasks, such as answering a call or using another application, without disrupting playback Mobile apps enabled for Chromecast are available for both Android 41+ and iOS 70+; web apps enabled for Chromecast are available on computers running Google Chrome through the installation of the "Cast extension" in the browser Streamed content can be Internet-based, as provided by specific apps, or reside on the sender device's local storage
  • Content can also be mirrored from a tab of the Chrome browser with the Cast extension on a personal computer or from the screen of some Android 44+ devices In the case of "tab casting", the quality of the image depends on the processing power of the device, and minimum system requirements apply to video streaming Content that uses plug-ins, such as Silverlight and QuickTime, does not fully work, as the stream may lack sound or image Similarly, screen images mirrored from Android devices are typically degraded

When no content is streamed, video-capable Chromecasts display a user-personalizable content feed called "Backdrop" that can include featured and personal photos, artwork, weather, satellite images, weather forecasts, and news

Sender devices previously needed to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network as a Chromecast to cast content, until the addition of a "guest mode" feature on December 10, 2014 When enabled, the feature allows sender devices to discover a nearby Chromecast by detecting ultrasonic sounds emitted by the television or speaker system to which the player is connected; alternatively, the sender device can be paired with the Chromecast using a four-digit PIN code Guest mode is available for all Chromecasts with an Android sender device, and second-generation and newer Chromecasts with an iOS sender device

A December 2015 update to Chromecast Audio introduced support for high-resolution audio 24-bit/96 kHz and multi-room playback; users can simultaneously play audio across multiple Chromecast Audio devices by grouping them together using the Google Home mobile app The feature makes Chromecast Audio a low-cost alternative to Sonos' multiple-room music systems

Hardware and design

Chromecast devices are dongles that are powered by connecting the device's micro-USB port to an external power supply or a USB port Video-capable Chromecasts plug into the HDMI port of a high-definition television or monitor, while the audio-only model outputs sound through its integrated 35 millimeter audio jack/mini-TOSLINK socket By default, Chromecasts connect to the Internet through a Wi-Fi connection to the user's local network; a standalone USB power supply with an Ethernet port, introduced in July 2015 for US$15, allows a wired connection

First generation

The first-generation top and second-generation model bottom of the video-capable Chromecast

The original Chromecast measures 283 inches 72 mm in length and has an HDMI plug built into the body It contains the Marvell Armada 1500-mini 88DE3005 system on a chip running an ARM Cortex-A9 processor The SoC includes codecs for hardware decoding of the VP8 and H264 video compression formats Radio communication is handled by AzureWave NH–387 Wi-Fi which implements 80211 b/g/n 24 GHz The device has 512 MB of Micron DDR3L RAM and 2 GB of flash storage The model number H2G2-42 is likely a reference to the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy abbreviation "H2G2"—in the novel, the number 42 is the "Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything" The bundled power adapter bears the model number MST3K-US, likely a reference to the TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000

Second generation

The second-generation Chromecast has a disc-shaped body with a short length of HDMI cable attached as opposed to the HDMI plug built into the original model The cable is flexible and can magnetically attach to the device body for more positioning options behind a television The second-generation model uses a Marvell Armada 1500 Mini Plus 88DE3006 SoC, which has dual ARM Cortex-A7 processors running at 12 GHz The unit contains an Avastar 88W8887, which has improved Wi-Fi performance and offers support for 80211 ac and 5 GHz bands, while containing three adaptive antennae for better connections to home routers The device contains 512 MB of Samsung DDR3L RAM and 256 MB of flash storage

The model number NC2-6A5 may be a reference to the Enterprise—NC2 can be read as NCC and 6A5 converted from hexadecimal is 1701 NCC-1701 is the registry code for the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 that serves as the central starship in Star Trek

Chromecast Audio

A Chromecast Audio device connected to the auxiliary AUX port of a powered speaker

Chromecast Audio is a variation of the second-generation Chromecast designed for use with audio streaming apps In place of the second-generation model's flexible HDMI cable is an integrated 35 millimeter audio jack/mini-TOSLINK socket, allowing the Chromecast Audio to be attached to speakers and home audio systems

Chromecast Ultra

Chromecast Ultra is similar in design to the second-generation model, but features upgraded hardware that supports the streaming of 4K resolution content, as well as high-dynamic range through the HDR10 and Dolby Vision formats Google stated that the Chromecast Ultra loads video 18 times faster than previous models Unlike previous models that could be powered through a USB port, the Chromecast Ultra requires the use of the included power supply for connecting to a wall outlet The power supply also offers an Ethernet port for a wired connection to accommodate the fast network speeds needed to stream 4K content

Model comparison

Previous generation Current generation
Model Chromecast 1st generation Chromecast 2nd generation Chromecast Audio Chromecast Ultra
Release date July 24, 2013 September 29, 2015 September 29, 2015 November 6, 2016
Sales discontinued September 29, 2015
Launch price US$35 US$35 US$35 US$69
System on a chip Marvell Armada 1500 Mini 88DE3005-A1 Marvell Armada 1500 Mini Plus 88DE3006 Marvell Armada 1500 Mini Plus 88DE3006
Memory 512 MB RAM DDR3L 512 MB RAM DDR3L 256 MB RAM DDR3L
Storage 2 GB 256 MB 256 MB
Display 1080p 1080p N/A
  • 4K Ultra HD
  • High dynamic range HDR10, Dolby Vision
Audio DAC N/A N/A AKM AK4430 192kHz 24-Bit DAC N/A
  • HDMI can use CEC
  • Wi-Fi 80211 b/g/n @ 24 GHz
  • Ethernet with optional USB power adapter
  • HDMI can use CEC
  • Wi-Fi 80211 b/g/n/ac @ 24/5 GHz
  • Ethernet with optional USB power adapter
  • Combined 35 mm audio jack and mini-TOSLINK socket
  • Wi-Fi 80211 b/g/n/ac @ 24/5 GHz
  • Ethernet with optional USB power adapter
  • HDMI can use CEC
  • Wi-Fi 80211 b/g/n/ac @ 24/5 GHz
  • Ethernet with included USB power adapter
Power Micro-USB
power adapter or USB port
power adapter or USB port
power adapter or USB port
power adapter required
Dimensions 72 mm × 35 mm × 12 mm 283 in × 138 in × 047 in 519 mm × 519 mm × 1349 mm 204 in × 204 in × 053 in 519 mm × 519 mm × 1349 mm 204 in × 204 in × 053 in 582 mm × 582 mm × 1370 mm 229 in × 229 in × 054 in
Weight 34 g 12 oz 391 g 138 oz 307 g 108 oz 47 g 17 oz


Google Cast SDK and compatible apps

Main article: Google Cast See also: List of apps with Google Cast support Icon for the "cast button", which is used to connect, control and disconnect from Google Cast receivers The button can also represent compatible non-Cast receivers, such as Bluetooth audio players

At the time of Chromecast's launch, four compatible apps were available: YouTube and Netflix were supported as Android, iOS, and Chrome web apps; Google Play Music and Google Play Movies & TV were also supported, but originally only as Android apps Additional Chromecast-enabled apps would require access to the Google Cast software development kit SDK The SDK was first released as a preview version on July 24, 2013 Google advised interested developers to use the SDK to create and test Chromecast-enabled apps, but not distribute them While that admonition remained in force, Chromecast-enabled applications for Hulu Plus and Pandora Radio were released in October 2013, and HBO Go in November Google opened the SDK to all developers on February 3, 2014 In its introductory documentation and video presentation, Google said the SDK worked with both Chromecast devices and other unnamed "cast receiver devices" Chromecast product manager Rish Chandra said that Google used the intervening time to improve the SDK's reliability and accommodate those developers who sought a quick and easy way to cast a photo to a television without a lot of coding

Over time, many more applications have been updated to support Chromecast At Google I/O 2014, the company announced that 6,000 registered developers were working on 10,000 Google Cast–ready apps; by the following year's conference, the number of compatible apps had doubled Google's official list of compatible apps and platforms is available on the Chromecast website Google has published case studies documenting Chromecast integration by Comedy Central, Just Dance Now, Haystack TV and Fitnet

The development framework has two components: a sender app based on a vendor's existing Android or iOS mobile app, or desktop Web app, which provides users with content discovery and media controls; and a receiver app, executing in a Chrome browser-like environment resident on the cast receiver device Both make use of APIs provided by the SDK

Device discovery protocols

Chromecast uses the mDNS multicast Domain Name System protocol to search for available devices on a Wi-Fi network Chromecast previously used the DIAL DIscovery And Launch protocol, co-developed by Netflix and YouTube

Operating system

At the introductory press conference, Hugo Barra, then Google's vice president of Android product management, said that the first-generation Chromecast ran "a simplified version of Chrome OS" Subsequently, a team of hackers reported that the device is "more Android than ChromeOS" and appears to be adapted from software embedded in Google TV As with Chrome OS devices, Chromecast operating system updates are downloaded automatically without notification

Mobile app

The Chromecast mobile app later renamed to "Google Cast" and currently known as "Google Home" was released at the same time as the original video model, and is available for both Android and iOS mobile devices It facilitates initial setup of the Chromecast hardware, allows settings configuration for the devices, and provides information about the "Backdrop" images shown on the television On October 19, 2013, the mobile app was released outside of the US for the first time In September 2015, Google introduced additional features to the app, including aggregation of content available within Google Cast–ready mobile apps installed on the user's device, as well as a link to view other available Google Cast–ready apps; the latter had previously been available only through Google's online Play Store The app also offers a search function that identifies which streaming services offer a specified film or TV show

Release and promotion

A retail display stand for Chromecast

Google made the first-generation Chromecast available for purchase online in the US on July 24, 2013 To entice consumers, Google initially included a promotion for three months of access to Netflix at no cost with the purchase of a Chromecast The device quickly sold out on Amazoncom, BestBuycom, and the Google Store, and within 24 hours, the Netflix promotion was ended because of high demand On March 18, 2014, Google released the Chromecast to 11 new markets, including the UK, Germany and Canada with the BBC iPlayer enabled for UK users

In July 2014, to commemorate the first anniversary of the device's launch, Google announced it would offer their music streaming service, Google Play Music All Access, at no cost for 90 days to Chromecast owners who had not previously used All Access; the service normally costs US$999 per month On December 10, 2014, Chromecast was launched in India through e-commerce marketplace Snapdeal in partnership with Bharti Airtel That same month, Google offered a promotion whereby anyone purchasing a Chromecast from a participating retailer before December 21 would receive a US$20 credit for the Google Play Store Google offered a US$6 credit to the Store for all Chromecast owners beginning on February 6, 2015

On September 29, 2015, Google announced the second-generation Chromecast and an audio-only model called Chromecast Audio Each model was made available for purchase the same day for US$35 Days later, Amazoncom announced that it would stop selling Chromecast and Apple TV devices in its online store, presumably because they compete with Amazon's own Fire TV and Fire TV Stick

On October 4, 2016, Google announced Chromecast Ultra during the "Made by Google" event, alongside other products such as Google Home, Google Wifi, and the Daydream View


First generation model

Nilay Patel of The Verge gave the Chromecast an 85/10 score in his review, saying, "The Chromecast is basically an impulse purchase that just happens to be the simplest, cheapest, and best solution for getting a browser window on your TV" Speaking of the adapter's potential, he said, "it seems like the Chromecast might actually deliver on all that potential, but Google still has a lot of work to do" In particular, Patel pointed to Apple's AirPlay protocol as an example of an established competitor with many more features TechCrunch's review of the device said, "Even with a bug or two rearing its head, the Chromecast is easily worth its $35 pricetag" Gizmodo gave the device a positive review, highlighting the ease of setup and sharing video In comparing the device to competitors, the review said, "Chromecast isn't Google's version of Apple TV, and it's not trying to be But Chromecast also costs a third of what those devices do, and has plenty of potential given that its SDK is just a few days old"

Michael Gorman of Engadget gave the Chromecast an 84/100 score, writing, "it's a platform that's likely to improve dramatically as more apps start to support the technology" In his comparing the Chromecast to competing devices, Gorman illustrated that it initially had support from fewer multimedia services, but because of its low price and ease of use, he concluded "we can wholeheartedly recommend the Chromecast for anyone who's been looking for an easy, unobtrusive way to put some brains into their dumb TV" Will Greenwald of PC Magazine rated it 4/5, saying, "The Google Chromecast is the least expensive way to access online services on your HDTV", although he noted that "The lack of local playback and limited Chrome integration holds it back in some respects" David Pogue of The New York Times praised the device for its $35 retail price, saying, "It's already a fine price for what this gadget does, and it will seem better and better the more video apps are made to work with it" Pogue noted the limitations of the device's screen mirroring feature and said using only mobile devices as a remote control was not "especially graceful", but he called Chromecast the "smallest, cheapest, simplest way yet to add Internet to your TV"

Sales and impact

In July 2014, Google announced that in the device's first year on sale, "millions" of units had sold and over 400 million casts had been made The number of casts surpassed one billion by January 2015, and 15 billion by May 2015 The company confirmed that Chromecast was the best-selling media streaming device in the United States in 2014, according to NPD Group In February 2015, Google Korea announced that about 10 million Chromecasts had been sold globally in 2014 At Google I/O in May 2015, the company announced 17 million units had sold since launch, a figure that reached 20 million by September 2015, 25 million by May 2016, and 30 million by July 2016 According to Strategy Analytics, Chromecast captured more than 35% of the digital streamer market internationally in 2015

Digital Trends named Chromecast the "Best Product of 2013" In March 2014, Engadget named Chromecast an Editor's Choice winner for "Home Theater Product of the Year" as part of the website's annual awards; for the following year's awards, Engadget named the device the winner of "Best in Home Entertainment"

In July 2015, Google signed a deal with the Television Academy to provide Chromecasts to Emmy Award voters to allow them to view screeners of nominated media The multi-year agreement will reduce the volume of DVD screeners distributed each year

See also

  • Google portal
  • Comparison of digital media players
  • Android TV
  • Google TV
  • Chromebit
  • OpenFlint
  • PC-on-a-stick
  • Miracast, a competing technology for displaying a phone or laptop screen on an HD display


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External links

  • Official Chromecast website
  • Google's list of Google Cast enabled apps
  • Official Google Home app for Android on Google Play Store
  • Official Google Home app for iOS on Apple App Store
  • DIAL Protocol Specification and Registry

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