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Google Cast vs Chromecast: What’s the Difference?

Chromecast devices in different generations

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Google Cast is a powerful platform that enables users to stream content from their devices to their TVs easily. Whether you are looking to watch your favorite movies and TV shows, play games, or listen to music, Google Cast makes it easy and convenient to enjoy all of your entertainment in one place. With its simple interface and wide range of supported apps, Google Cast is quickly becoming the go-to solution for anyone looking to get the most out of their streaming experience. However, Google also released its own streaming device, called Chromecast. Many people are confused about Google cast and Chromecast, we will talk about it in this article.


Google Cast was first released on July 24, 2013, to support Google’s first-gen Chromecast device.

On March 2, 2014, Google announced the release of its Google Cast SDK for developers who want to add casting functionality to their apps.

As of May 2015, there were over 20,000 apps that could be cast from a mobile device to a TV screen using Google Cast technology.


Google Cast is a proprietary wireless display protocol for streaming video and audio that works on any screen, including TVs, tablets, phones, laptops, and smart speakers. With Google Cast, you can stream content directly to your TV from your phone, tablet, laptop, or PC. You can even use Google cast to stream Audio on your home stereo.

What is Google Cast Used For?

• Cast video directly to your TV

• Stream video content from YouTube, Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO GO, Pandora, Spotify, Vevo, Gameday Audio, NHL GameCenter Live, NBA League Pass, WatchESPN, Facebook Video Chat and many other apps

• Play games together on Google+ Hangouts

• Share photos and videos instantly through Gmail

• Control volume and playback with voice commands

• Use your Android device as a remote control for casting

The Framework of Google Cast

There are two parts to the Google Cast framework: a sender App for sending messages from one device to another, and a receiving App for receiving messages sent from another device.

Both applications make use of the API.

  • The sender app is built on top of an existing vendor’s existing Android or iPhone app, or desktop application, and allows users to discover new music and videos by selecting from their library. It also lets them control playback on multiple devices at once. Sender applications can detect receivers on the same local network and set up a secure communication channel between them.
  • The receiving app is a web app running in a Google Chrome-like environment on the casting device. Depending on the type of media format the app supports, receiver applications can vary from simple to complex. A simple video player application may simply play HTML5 content, but a more advanced video player application requires more programming efforts and can support various streaming formats, including MPEG-Dash, HLS, and the Microsoft Smooth Streaming protocol.

How to Use Google Cast?

Google Cast allows users to stream content from their mobile devices to cast receiver devices, such as Google TV or Android TV. Here are the setup instructions.

1. Connect your receiver device to your television via HDMI cable, such as Chromecast.
2. Turn on the Google Cast app on your sending devices, such as your smartphone, tablet, or laptop, and connect to the receiver device by Wi-Fi or ensure both devices are in the same network.
3. Select the Cast icon in your smartphone’s upper right corner.
4. Choose the video source you’d like to play on your television.
5. Start casting!

Now when you select the Cast button, the video will begin playing on your television.

Google Cast vs. Chromecast

Google has been busy building out its ecosystem of devices and services over the last couple of years; Google cast is the service, while Chromecast is the device.

Google Cast is a proprietary protocol developed and marketed by Google Inc that allows users of smartphones, tablets, and laptops to use screen-sharing technology between any smartphone, tablet, or laptop and a Chromecast-compatible multimedia player device, such as a smart TV. The idea behind this is that you can access your media — including videos, movies, music, streaming services, TV shows, etc., straight from your device. You don’t need to install anything; plug the device into your TV or projector and start watching. There’s almost no setup required, and the interface is straightforward to control.

Google Chromecast is a streaming device made by Google based on Wi-Fi direct technology, which allows you to stream content directly from your phone, tablet, or computer to your TV in a Wi-Fi network.

Chromecast is a small dongle that plugs into any TV’s HDMI input and turns it into a smart television. Chromecast devices use Wi-Fi to connect to the user’s local network to access the internet and a micro USB jack for power supply from the TV directly.

Chromecast works with popular streaming services like Netflix and YouTube and apps like Spotify, HBO Now, and many others. In addition to streaming content from other devices, you can also use Chromecast to cast your browser window directly to your TV, allowing you to browse the web and watch online videos on a much larger screen. You don’t need to download anything – plug it into your TV HDMI port and start watching YouTube videos, browsing the web, playing games, or listening to music.

The original Chromecast was announced in December 2011 and launched in June 2012, followed by the second generation Chromecast in October 2015. This version had minor changes, including better audio quality and support for faster 802.11 wireless networks.

In November 2017, Google unveiled the third generation Chromecast, which added support for 4K video playback. At the same event, Google also revealed the Chromecast Ultra, a larger version of the standard Chromecast that could play 4K HDR content.

Google later confirmed that the Chromecast Plus would launch in late 2018, adding Bluetooth functionality and a USB Type-C charging port.

The First Generation Chromecast Dongle

The first generation of the Chromecast dongle was announced on July 24, 2013, with an HDMI plug for video and a micro USB for power supply. It measures 72 mm in length, and the main chipset is based on Cortex A9 with H.264 video decoding capability, with 802.11 b/g/n (2.4 GHz) Wi-Fi module.



The first generation of chromecast

The Second Generation Chromecast

the second generation of chromecast

Google launched two new models for its Chromecast streaming device in September 2015: the second generation Chromecast and an audio-only version called Chromecast Audio.

The second generation Chromecast has a round shape with a short length of an HDMI cable connected to it. It has a flexible cable with a magnetic connector that allows you to attach it to the back of the television and use magnets to place it wherever you want. The second generation model uses dual-core ARM Cortex-A7 processors running at 1.2 GHz. It supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi networks with more sensitive antennas for better connection to home networks.

Chromecast Audio

Similar with the second-generation Chromecast design, Google made a device that supports audio-only. This device with a 3.5mm audio jack and mini-Toslink socket to connect to the speaker and home audio systems for audio transmission. Support HD audio up to 24-bit/96KHz in multi rooms.

Chromecast Audio only

Chromecast Ultra

Chromecast 4K ULTRA

Google updated the hardware of the second-generation Chromecast in Nov 2016, which supports up to 4K ultra resolution with HDR10 and Dolby Vision, with a similar design of B the second generation, called Chromecast Ultra.

The Third Generation Chromecast

The Third-generation Chromecast was released on October 2018, which added a high flash rate of up to 60FPS at a resolution of 1080P, with a 15% speed increase compared with the second-generation device. This model removes the magnet connector compared with the second-generation products.

The third generation of Chromecast

Chromecast with Google TV (4K)

Chromecast with Google TV (4K)

Chromecast with Google TV is the latest Chromecast model released in September 2020, which is the first in the series to feature an interactive UI and remote control. Google will also release a 1080P version in September 2022.
The biggest difference compared with the previous model, which runs the Google TV OS with the support of Bluetooth remote control, it supports HDR10, HDR10+ and Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby Atmos.
High performance always means high power consumption. Compared with the previous model which was powered by the TV’s USB port, the Chromecast with Google TV (4K) updates the micro USB to a type c connector, which comes with a type c power adapter.

Here are some of the key features that make this device popular:

  • Easy setup: Chromecast can be set up in just a few minutes using the free Chromecast app for Android and iOS. Connect Chromecast to your TV and follow the on-screen instructions to begin streaming.
  • Wide compatibility: Chromecast works with a wide range of devices, including Android phones and tablets, iPhones and iPads, Macs and PCs, and popular streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Now, and many more.
  • Simple controls: To control Chromecast from your phone or tablet, tap the Cast button in your favorite streaming apps or use the Google Home app to browse content using your voice alone. You can also use the Chromecast remote app to play/pause videos or adjust the volume directly from your phone.


Chromecast in Wikipedia

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