Last month an update to the built-in Chromecast app allowed some Android TV devices to be added to speaker groups before mysteriously disappearing a few days later. Well, after yet another update to this app, the feature is back once again.
This story was originally published and last updated .
Android TVs can finally be added to speaker groups — or, at least, they will be once the feature finishes rolling out more widely. First spotted over the weekend by the folks at Android TV Guide, the change allows at least some Android TV devices to be added to speaker groups in the Google Home app. And that's not the only change, you can also disable ongoing cast notifications for Android TV devices.
Following the announcement that it'd be reducing Nest's video quality to help lower network strain around the world, Google has also revealed that it'll do the same for the Chromecast and smart displays. The move is temporary and comes from a mindset that every bit helps, even if it's just saving everyone a little bit of bandwidth.
You don't have a lot of options if you want an Android TV box. There's the SHIELD, of course, but Google hasn't had its own Android TV hardware for several years. That will change in 2020, according to 9to5Google. Google will allegedly launch a new Chromecast Ultra this year, but this will mark a significant departure for the Chromecast family. This device will have an external remote control and full Android TV inside.
When you get home from work and fire up Netflix on the Chromecast tonight, you might notice that something's a bit different today. The company is rolling out a new, and much more attractive interface for the entire Netflix-on-Chromecast experience, including a revamped ambient "Ready to Cast" screen and some tweaks to the loading screen and pause screen.
Guest mode is one of the Chromecast's relatively unknown but very handy features. It uses location proximity and WiFi availability to allow guests to cast content to your speakers or TVs without logging in to your WiFi network, provided they have the specific PIN code for that device. Whether you're throwing a party or have temporary visitors and you don't want to bother with sharing WiFi access, you can simply give them a 4-digit code and let them choose the media that gets played. The feature launched in December of 2014 on Chromecasts and carried over to Google Homes — because they're essentially cast targets.
Amazon and Google's plays for user data have pushed the battle of the virtual assistants into the living rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms via the smart speaker. Sonos, which makes a number of audio products compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant, feels it has been squeezed by both companies of its intellectual property in the middle of this war. However, The New York Times reports the company has decided to target only Google in two federal lawsuits and has sought sales injunctions for its speakers, smartphones, and laptops.
Stadia was largely touted as a cloud gaming service that’s supposed to work across screens, but with a big asterisk. For streaming games on a TV, you need a Chromecast Ultra unit shipped inside the Founder’s or Premiere Edition packages, at least initially, while the existing Ultras were required to wait for an update. It appears that someRedditors got a new firmware that allows pairing Stadia controllers with those left-out dongles.
A Chromecast is an excellent way to make your TV smarter, but you can achieve ultimate comfort by controlling it using your voice. The best option to do so is to use Google Assistant, ideally through a smart speaker like the Home Mini. When bought separately, these devices cost about $75, but thanks to a Black Friday deal on Google's Smart TV Kit, you can snatch both devices for just $35 and get $10 of Vudu credit for free.