New Chromecast and Android Hardware Partners Announced


Hardware Partners 002

More Hardware Partners join with Google for Chromecast and Android

It’s been a long slog for Google hardware, especially for Android / Google TV.   But Google is finally making some headway with its new Hardware Partners.  The Chromecast system has been very successful for Google and it’s beginning to show in the fact that so many groups are willing to work with the search giant.

It will not be so strange to find RCA  Android TV. In fact many more brands like Hisense, TCL, Arcelik, and Vestrel are joining the band as well.   All these manufacturers and more will be helping you to make your TV a large and stationary extension of your phone (which is what we all want, right?)

For Chromecast Audio there are even more good choices in brand name hardware partners.  Back in December there were some announcements from a few manufacturers, but nothing like now.  Bang & Olufsen, Harmon Kardon, Pioneer and Raumfeld join the fun announcing integrations with Google Chromecast and Googlecast to give you very high end quality sound from the digital interface that the Chromecast Audio connection provides.  Fortunately for these manufacturers they did not have to build the interface, Google is proving all the media sources leaving the Audio playback to the experts.

Hardware Partners 003p

True to form Google is making bringing the awesome and leaving the choices to you.  Very soon Multi-room Audio will be added to Google’s Chromecast app and your options will multiply to the house-filling sounds of your favorite media.   Lastly with Chromecast, Google has taken the audio one step further, allowing any audio, even that which has yet to get into the Chromecast / Googlecast suite, to be played back through the app via any Chromecast / Googlecast speakers or modules.

Google TV, Android TV, or is it Nexus TV?

Nexus TV

Since it’s inception in 2010 Google TV has been plagued with issues.  Although, the ideal seems sound, very few content providers seemed to take it to heart as a good idea.  Logitech and Sony committed heavily to the force of Google for the sake of managing content. And the Google TV managed to squeeze itself between the Cable box and your TV, so why the hard times?

Not that long it looked like the Google TV brand was going away to be replaced by Android TV.  After all, Google TV is running on Android.  But where the Android platform has taken the world by storm, it just doesn’t seem to translate well to a gigantic non-touchscreen like your TV.

Thankfully, the Chromecast has been a smashing success, but it is fairly inexpensive.   Google TV may finally have its place as Nexus TV and for those lucky few who live in Kansas City, Provo, and Austin who can use their Nexus 7 to control their Google TV and Internet service, this may be a good direction.

The big distinction in the new Nexus TV is that broadcast TV will not be routed through it.  This change may be the big one for the likely success of the ideal.  For now (and likely the foreseeable future) content companies still hold most of the reigns. Google will just have to find another way.


Google Chromecast Games

Google Chromecast Games

If you were already thrilled with the awesomeness that is Google Chromecast, prepared to be floored.   Google Chromecast games are here.

But wait, you might interject, how can I install a game on my Chromecast, if I can’t even install any apps?  Well, you’re in luck because the games don’t need to be installed on the Chromecast.   Google made the game available via your Android or iOS smartphones and tablets.  Just like any other application that “casts” the feature onto the Chromecast, you can play the game too.

Like the Google Chrome Experiments, this is yet another way that Google is trying to push the boundaries of what is possible through a browser.  And in all honesty, they’re knocking it out of the park.

Although this simple game is only Tic-Tac-Toe, it is paving the way for more possibilities and hopefully giving future generations ideas.

Check out the app on Android and iOS

Chromecast loses Netflix Subscription

Chromecast sans Netflix

Google’s sweet deal with the Netflix for Chromecast has ended.  Due to insane demand, Google terminated the 3-month free subscription to Netflix with the purchase of the $35 Chromecast.  It would seem that they underestimated the allure of a smart tv for almost free; a price point that generated a “black friday” scramble.

It was barely 24 hours from the announcement that the Netflix deal was cancelled.  You can only guess how many people wanted this amazing price considering the cost of a three month subscription to Netflix is a $24 value.  If it were 1 million, that would have been $24 million that Google would have to give to Netflix (they probably didn’t mind).

In any case, if you did not place an order for the Chromecast by 5:30 PM on July 25th, 2013, then you will have to suffer with the rest of us and just buy the world’s least expensive smart-tv-maker for its original price.  Granted you’d be fortunate to find a Chromecast due to the current demand as every online and offline location is sold out.  eBay does however have a tiny surplus at a premium, if you must have it now.

Redbox Streaming comes to Google TV


Many people use Redbox at the thousands of kiosks scattered throughout the world.  It’s quite simple and minimizes the hassle of dealing with a line and potentially emotional sales associate.  Like grabbing a drink from a soda machine, Redbox makes it easy.  But now if you have Google TV, you can rent or buy movies even faster with Redbox Instant by Verizon.

Access to Redbox Instant is included with your subscription to the disc service.  But if you don’t already have this service, you can sign-up through the App.  It’s also possible to reserve discs that are not available through the streaming service, for later pickup.