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Chromecast

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[Update: Live for everyone] You can disable all network media notifications for Chromecasts and Google Homes

The addition of Chromecast network notifications probably seemed like a good idea at the time. They allow you to control media even if you aren't the one who started playback. However, you see those notifications on your device even if you're not watching or listening to the content, and you can end up with multiple cast notifications on a busy network. Google is finally making these notifications optional with a toggle that turns off all the network notifications for your Chromecast or Google Home.

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[Deal Alert] Get a Google Home and Chromecast bundle for $99.99 ($65 off), or a Chromecast alone for $25 ($10 off)

Is your house missing some smart home essentials? Well now, you can knock that problem out for cheap. Google via eBay has both a Google Home and Chromecast 2nd gen bundle for just $99.99 - a savings of $65 over their combined MSRPs. And if you just want a Chromecast, you can pick up either the standard 2nd gen model or the Audio for only $25, which is $10 off the regular price.

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New Chromecast Ultra firmware update adds "video smoothness" feature, turns it on by default

Resolution is important on displays, but for now, there's not really much point obsessing about it given that most consumer TVs and many monitors now have 4K screens onboard. However, frame rate is just as crucial, if not more so; I'd much rather have a slightly lower-res stream with a more stable fps count. Google seems to have had the same thought process, given its latest "video smoothness" feature addition to the 4K-capable Chromecast Ultra with firmware version 90308.

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[Deal Alert] Rent a movie from Google Play for $0.99 if you have purchased and activated a Chromecast/Ultra (U.S. only)

Hey, Chromecast owners! Google has a special promotion going on for you lot — renting any single "eligible" movie from Play Movies will only cost you a measly $0.99. This applies to both the regular Chromecast and the Ultra, but it's unfortunately limited to U.S. residents only. Sorry, internationals.

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Latest Google Play Services seems to have broken casting using Android hotspot for WiFi

Around the world, a lot of people rely on their mobile devices as their only point of access to the internet and don't have a WiFi connection or router at home. For many of those people, using a Chromecast would have been impossible if it weren't for one small logical workaround: creating a hotspot with their phone that the Chromecast can connect to. Unfortunately, that workaround is no longer, uhm, working right now and it sounds like the latest Google Play Services is to blame.

If you were relying on your phone's hotspot to take your Chromecast online, you may have noticed that ever since Play Services 11.0.55 rolled out, you can't cast from your phone to the Chromecast anymore.

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[Deal Alert] Chromecast Ultra is $59.99 ($10 off) at Google Store, Best Buy, B&H and others

It looks like the Google Home isn't the only Google product on sale today. We have yet to see a widespread discount on the Chromecast Ultra since it was released last year, until today. Now you can pick one up for $10 off the normal price at several physical and online retailers.

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Oculus adds Chromecast support to Gear VR

You might recall a Daydream VR tidbit in the torrent of Google I/O news earlier this month; Daydream 2.0 will include Chromecast support. Not to be outdone, Oculus has announced that Gear VR can do that starting now, or just as soon as a new version of the Oculus app can be rolled out to Samsung devices. This makes VR just a tiny bit less antisocial.

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TBS and TNT Android apps get major updates, now support Chromecast

Turner's TBS and TNT networks have always been at the forefront of digital TV content in the US, having been the first to stream live on-air content several years back. In an attempt to maintain that good reputation, both providers have announced considerable multiplatform upgrades to their digital offerings, including updated Android apps and support for Google's Chromecast.

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Google is testing a way to make tab casting video suck a lot less, and you can try it

Google has introduced a new tweak in Chrome Dev channel for streaming full-screen video tabs to Chromecasts, significantly improving power consumption and streaming performance. Now your Chromecast can directly pull the video itself. Obviously there are lots of major and minor benefits to being able to stream any video feed to your Chromecast at higher quality. Now you can stream live feeds and videos from sources that didn't previously support Chromecast streaming, or for which the old methods resulted in a stuttery or low-quality stream. To put it simply: casting Amazon Prime (or other feeds that didn't have Chromecast support) just got better.

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[Update: Play Services 11 responsible] Google might be testing changes to shared network ongoing cast notifications

It looks like there might be a few tweaks coming to the in-network notifications for Google Cast to make it more clear what the notification is. We've received a report that the notification has been changed to include additional details, likely in an attempt to prevent accidental dismissal by others on the network. It's more than debatable whether or not the extra explanation attached to an ongoing notification will have any effect in preventing accidental interactions by guests. But, at a minimum we can publicly shame their reading comprehension skills when they kill your sweet Roller-Blade Runner playlist mid-party.

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