While Google’s Chromecast Audio is an amazing and inexpensive way to fill a room or even a whole house with sound, the firm offers other ways to achieve the same ends. And this week at CES, Google announced coming updates to both.
Since writing A Quick Look at the New Chromecast and Chromecast Audio, I’ve purchased two more Chromecast Audio devices, and I’ll be buying at least one more. The reason? In early December, Google added multi-room support to the device, letting customers get a Sonos-type experience at a greatly reduced cost.
But Chromecast Audio (and the video-based Chromecast) aren’t the only solutions that Google provides for enjoying content in the living room, and around the home. It also provides Android TV and Google Cast for Speakers, both of which were just updated. Here’s the rundown:
Android TV. It’s not entirely clear what changed here, but it looks like there are more Android TV partners on board, rather than some kind of Android TV software update. “You can select an Android TV from Sony, Sharp and Philips,” Google explains, and “later this year, Android TV will be available from Arcelik, Vestel, RCA, Hisense, TCL and Bang & Olufsen. And, for our users in Indonesia, Linknet now has an Android TV offering.”
Google Cast for Speakers. This solution combines the capabilities of Chromecast Audio with actual speakers, as you might expect, Google is adding multi-room support here as well. “In 2016, multi-room sync functionality will come to Google Cast speakers, allowing you to mix and match Cast-enabled speakers from your favorite brands with speakers connected to Chromecast Audio,” Google explains. You can learn more about this technology from the Google Cast for Audio web site.
While there’s not much “new” here, I really do feel that Google is onto something with Chromecast Audio and Google Cast for Speakers in particular. And I’ll sound my usual warning about Microsoft not participating in this market, and why that makes Groove less viable overall. Knowing full well no one is listening.