It's been nearly two years since Google unveiled its Chromecast media-streaming dongle (see best media streamers 2015), and rumour has it Google is about to update the humble HDMI dongle. Here we investigate the rumours surrounding the Google Chromecast 2 UK release date, price, specifications and new features.
What is Chromecast?
Chromecast is a £30 dongle that plugs into any HDMI screen enabling you to make a dumb TV smart. All you need is a single HDMI port into which to plug in Chromecast, and a single USB port (or a nearby mains outlet) from which to power it. Also see: How to set up and use a Google Chromecast and Best Chromecast tips and tricks
With no user interface of its own (it operates via the Chromecast app you download to your phone or tablet), in essence it's a wireless alternative to connecting your phone or tablet to a TV via an HDMI cable. Google Cast also lets you display anything on your mobile device's screen on the TV or monitor. Well, almost anything - Sky still won't let you stream Sky Go over Chromecast, for example.
Apps are the difference between an HDMI cable and Chromecast, however. Not only will you find a Cast icon built right into many apps written to include Chromecast support, but there are also apps built specifically for Chromecast. We've rounded up some of our favourite free Chromecast apps, but there are some areas in which Chromecast is still lacking - notably gaming, and so somewhat unsurprisingly that's a key focus of the rumours surrounding a Chromecast 2. Also see: Chromecast vs Nexus Player
Will there be a Chromecast 2?
We already knew there would be a Chromecast 2, thanks to Mario Queiroz letting slip to Gigaom that the second-gen Chromecast would "give us a better opportunity to take full advantage of a large screen paired with a small screen".
However, more recently rumours of a Chromecast 2 have been fuelled by the fact two of the scheduled sessions at Google I/O 2015 reference the Chromecast - in particular 'Designing games for Google Cast' and 'Creating games with the Google Cast SDK'. Nevertheless, a Chromecast 2 was not mentioned in the Google I/O 2015 keynote.
We also know that Google received a shipment of 10,000 Chromecasts earlier this month (and that contrary to rumours they were not freebies for I/O attendees), and that a Chromecast 2 was spotted in FCC documents late last year. The image below is from those files.
Google Chromecast 2 UK release date and price rumours: When is Chromecast 2 coming out? How much will Chromecast 2 cost?
Since Chromecast was released it's seen competition primarily from the Amazon Fire TV Stick and Roku Streaming Stick. With these rivals costing an equally affordable £25 (for now - RRP £35) and £49 respectively, we'd be surprised if Google was to raise its pricing for a Chromecast 2.
We expected Chromecast 2 to be announced at Google I/O 2015 but it was a no-show. Nevetheless, given the recent shipment of Chromecasts we're still hoping for a summer release. We'll update this article with the exact details when Chromecast 2 is announced. Also see: Chromecast vs Fire TV Stick vs Roku Streaming Stick
Google Chromecast 2 specification and new features: What to expect from Chromecast 2
With a focus on gaming, rumours of what's to come in the Chromecast 2 include a faster onboard Wi-Fi module, plus support for higher-resolution (potentially even 4K) streaming. Ars Technica points out that the Chromecast as it stands doesn't support 4K video, 1080p video at 60fps, or 3D video, all of which are available on YouTube.
But in reality the Chromecast 2 will likely have the same features as the original. Shattering our dreams on Reddit, a member of the Chromecast team wrote: "No plans for a big announcement on this one. Mostly because it will have the same features as the original and most users won't notice a difference. Sorry--I can't say more about this topic."
From documents held by the FCC we know the Chromecast 2 is still connected via HDMI and powered by Micro-USB, and features wireless connectivity. Both 2.4- and 5GHz 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi bands are mentioned, but only 2.4GHz tested. Also see: Chromecast vs Apple TV
We could still see a faster CPU, more RAM and improved heat dissipation (fingers crossed).
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