The Chromecast is cheap. But even when something only costs $35, it's still nice to be able to cut that price in half. Okay, Groupon's offer isn't actually 50% off, but it's close. For the next five days (or until supplies run out), you can get a Chromecast for just $20.
These are refurbished units, but in the case of Google's streaming stick, that really doesn't matter. Even if it's scratched, it's going in the back of a TV where you will never see it again.
Before you complain in the comments about the fact that all of these apps added Chromecast compatibility weeks ago... well, I suppose there's no power in the 'verse that can stop you. We reported that the TED Talks app got Chromecast powers back in November, but apparently Google's Chrome blog just spotted that today, and the Pac-12 app got it back in February. Qello Concerts? It was enabled on March 18th.
Perhaps you recall the rash of Wiimote-related accidents seven or eight years ago. See, people got really, super into playing Wii, and sometimes the Wiimote just slipped and crashed into the TV. Motion Tennis Cast is kind of like Wii Sports Tennis, but you're controlling it with your phone. That's two expensive things you can break if the phone slips.
Google has done a spectacular job of improving and adding features to Chromecast. The low-cost streaming dongle continues to get better, even as it starts to close in on its 2nd birthday. The latest change makes it possible for Chromecast to receive commands from a TV remote, but it may not work on a lot of older televisions. This means users can finally enjoy the convenience of pausing and resuming with the push of a physical button without first turning on the casting device.
The Chromecast is not an expensive device, and it's even cheaper when you consider all the free stuff Google has given out to owners since it was released. In fact, the Chromecast has probably paid for itself and then some. Right now you can get a $6 Google Play credit if you have a Chromecast on your network, and you can do it multiple times if you have more than one.
It may be taking longer than many potential customers would like, but Google is still working on bringing its goods and services to interested parties around the world. Today, those in New Zealand and Taiwan will be happy to find that the Play Store now has a "Devices" section in their countries.
For now, it seems that only the Nexus 9 and the Chromecast are available in these two countries, but this is still a promising development.
If you're one of the few people in the US who wants a Chromecast for your living room and doesn't yet have one, you might want to check out this Best Buy sale. The already inexpensive dongle has been reduced to $29.99 ($5 off), and it comes with $20 of free Google Play Store credit. Assuming you'll eventually spend twenty bones on the Play Store (and I should hope any regular AP reader would), the effective price is a cool ten bucks.
Google's inexpensive Chromecast is already popular for streaming audio from sources like Play Music and Pandora to your television, but now it looks like the company wants a more specific approach for music. To that end Google has announced "Cast for audio," an audio-only version of the system that streams directly to connected and certified speaker systems, no extra hardware required. The first compatible speakers should reach the market in the spring of this year.
That cool little HDMI stick that Google released more than a year ago got more useful and more awesome when the Cast API became available for developers. And while there are now hundreds of apps with Chromecast support on the Play Store, Google keeps a small curated list of some of them, kind of like a featured selection. Every now and then new entrants are let into this special club, and the latest addition is a trio of interesting apps: musiXmatch, Lyve, and Fitnet.
At long last, Chromecast has a functional guest mode. While it presumably has something to do with the update to the Chromecast app that rolled out earlier Wednesday, the change did not appear immediately afterwards. Google apparently flipped a switch on the server side, and suddenly anyone with an up-to-date app can cast to a TV without being on the same Wi-Fi network. We've been waiting for this feature to roll out since it was announced way back in June at Google I/O.