Google Home now plays nice with Sony speakers and Android TVs
Google Home already allows you to control any connected Chromecast devices with simple voice commands, but if the device is really going to compete with Amazon’s Echo line, it’s going to need a bigger ecosystem to play in. Starting today, however, users with Sony speakers or Android TV sets can start taking advantage of Google Home’s voice commands to control music and video streaming without the need for a complicated smart home setup.
According to Sony, a firmware update for all its “Chromecast built-in” speakers and Android TV-equipped sets adds the missing support for Google’s smart hub and personal assistant. That means commands like “OK Google, play Spotify on my Sony speaker” will automatically route the audio to your desired speaker. Likewise, calling out, “OK Google, play Stranger Things from Netflix on the TV” will also work with any of Sony’s Android TV sets like the Bravia line or its latest 4K HDR panels. Finally, for users with multi-room audio setups, you can use Google’s app to group together speakers or even sync the audio across any combination of compatible Chromecast devices including Sony equipment and the Google Home itself.
Source: Sony Newsroom
LG targets media pros and gamers with 4K HDR display
With an onslaught of products coming at CES 2017 in January, LG has decided to pre-announce its latest 4K HDR monitor. The 32-inch, IPS panel-equipped 32UD99 supports the HDR10 standard that delivers 10-bit (over a billion) colors and a wide color gamut covering 95 percent of the DCI-P3 standard. That, plus the True Color Pro settings, delivers “professional-grade picture quality” and “color reproduction accuracy unmatched in the industry,” LG says. Depending on the price, it will be a tempting option for graphics artists, video editors and colorists.
LG also points out that the monitor will be ideal for new MacBook Pro owners, since Apple isn’t making its own displays anymore. It supports 4K HDR with a single USB-C cable that can simultaneously charge your laptop and can also act as a USB hub. (It likely comes with HDMI and DisplayPort inputs as well, though LG didn’t say.) The company is also targeting color-sensitive gamers, saying it’ll play well with new consoles that support HDR and or 4K, including the Playstation 4 Pro and the Xbox One S.
That said, the monitor is not really about sheer gaming performance. For the latter, LG will also show off the 34UC99, a 34-inch model with AMD FreeSync tech that eliminators judder and tearing, 1ms refresh times, dynamic action sync, and other gaming-oriented features. We’ll get a better look at both models in January, and hopefully learn the prices — if it’s low enough, the 32-inch model could sway a lot of folks looking for accurate color reproduction.
Google drops ‘Cast’ branding in favor of ‘Chromecast built-in’
Has that seemingly ubiquitous Google Cast branding on media devices felt uninspiring, or even a bit confusing? Google might just agree with you. The company has been phasing out the Google Cast name over the course of recent weeks, both for its own products as well as supporting hardware from third parties like Toshiba and Vizio. Instead, it’s increasingly referring to embedded streaming technology as “Chromecast built-in.” To top things off, Google just renamed its @googlecast Twitter account to @chromecast.
A handful of Google sites, including its Android TV page, still reference Google Cast. It’s also less likely to go away for developers.
But why the name change now, especially when Google actually moved away from the Chromecast label a while back? We’ve asked the company for its take. However, it wouldn’t be surprising if this is a matter of brand recognition combined with Google’s growing hardware ambitions. The odds are that you’re more familiar with Chromecast devices than the code that powers them — “Chromecast built-in” gives you a clearer idea of what’s possible, and reminds you that Google makes its own streaming gear.
From Google Cast ➡ @Chromecast. New name on Twitter, same device you know, stream from and love. pic.twitter.com/MnWEj39GuG
— Google Chromecast (@Chromecast) November 22, 2016
Source: Google Chromecast (Twitter), Google
The Morning After: Thursday, November 17, 2016
We put the 4K-ready Chromecast to the test, saw increasingly less snow around the US, and gawp at the first hybrid Mini — as well as a whole bunch of new cars coming out of the LA Auto Show. There’s also the discovery of a “Watch Dogs 2” character that has fully rendered sex organs for no apparent reason whatsoever. Not just another Thursday.
Better video quality comes at a costReview: Chromecast Ultra
Yes, the Chromecast Ultra does exactly what it promises to do: reliably stream 4K HDR video to compatible TVs. But the (marginal) increase in quality, alongside a lack of 4K content, means the device is hardly a must-buy.
Well, it wasn’t the players’ faultGamer discovers female characters with fully rendered private parts in “Watch Dogs 2,” gets banned
“Watch Dogs 2” tried to keep things as realistic as it could when it tried to offer a hackable gaming world, but it took next to no advanced hacker skillz for one player to discover that at least one of the female character models in the game has a fully rendered vagina. Why? Ubisoft hasn’t said, but revealing the hidden creepy detail was enough to get NeoGAF forum member Goron2000 banned from the Sony Entertainment Network (including PSN). Fortunately, his account was later reinstated.
May contain traces of “courage”The new MacBook Pro (and the Touch Bar) gets the teardown treatment
An iFixit teardown of the 13-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pro reveals that there are even fewer replaceable parts than before. Its solid-state drive is embedded on the motherboard (even the non–Touch Bar model has a removable card), so whatever capacity you choose is what you’ll have for the life of the system. And that Touch Bar, as you might guess, isn’t exactly easy to replace.
All-wheel drive is split between gas and electric enginesThis is Mini’s first hybrid vehicle
Mini unveiled its hybrid all-wheel-drive Countryman S E at the LA Auto Show today. What’s intriguing is that, while it’s an AWD vehicle, the front wheels are powered by the gas engine while the rear ones are connected to an electric motor. The hybrid’s electric system is based on the platform used by parent company BMW’s all-electric eDrive system that powers the i3 and i8 vehicles. That pedigree will extend to an all-electric Mini that will launch in urban areas in 2019.
Studying is hard — even for artificial intelligenceJapanese AI fails to make the grade for Tokyo’s top university
A team of scientists from the National Institute of Informatics in Japan have given up on attempting to make their AI smart enough to get into the University of Tokyo. What exactly held it back? Team member Noriko Arai said AIs just aren’t “good at answering a type of question that requires the ability to grasp meaning in a broad spectrum.”
Google Earth is now available in VRThe entire planet, inside your VR headset
Google’s virtual Earth is now available in virtual reality. For the first time, users can walk through real city streets, fly through canyons and teleport to anywhere in the world. Earth VR covers the entire 196.9 million square miles of the planet, but for now you’ll need HTC’s Vive headset to explore. Google Earth VR will be coming to even more platforms (and presumably Google’s own Daydream VR) sometime next year.
But wait, there’s more…
- Tesla cars will get even quicker through a software update
- “White” Twitter bots can help curb racism
- US snow cover hits an all-time low for November
- Maven offers free birth control prescriptions via digital doctors
Chromecast Ultra review: Better video quality comes at a cost
Google’s first Chromecast was a cheap and ugly little stick that nonetheless served a very important purpose. At $35, it was about the cheapest way to make a plain old TV “smart,” letting people get Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and movies from Google Play right on their televisions with zero fuss.
But things have changed since the first Chromecast arrived in mid-2013. 4K TVs are becoming more and more commonplace, while companies like Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and, yes, Google are battling to bring video to your living room. Also, if nothing else, just about every TV these days has built-in Netflix and YouTube apps. Into this crowded market comes the Chromecast Ultra, an update to the 2015 version that adds support for 4K high dynamic range (HDR) streaming.
The thing is, that extra feature doubles the price: The Chromecast Ultra comes in at $69. It’s no longer in impulse buy territory for most people, so the question is: Does this improved video quality warrant a purchase?
Setup and hardware
If you’ve seen last year’s puck-shaped Chromecast, the Ultra will look familiar. It’s still a small, circular device with a short HDMI cable that magnetically attaches to the back. But, given the extra technology on board, it’s a little larger and fatter than last year’s model. It’s still ridiculously tiny, especially considering the extra capabilities contained within. You can still easily toss it in a bag and forget about it.
Just like the standard Chromecast, the hardware here is minimal: There’s the aforementioned HDMI socket, a mini-USB port for power and a reset button. That’s it. The power cord, however, is different this time. The brick actually has an ethernet port in it, all the better for quickly streaming 4K videos. Unfortunately, the Chromecast Ultra can’t be powered by your TV’s USB port anymore; you’ll need to plug it into a wall socket.
Setup is also identical to what you’ll find with a standard Chromecast. Install the Google Home app on your phone, plug in the Chromecast and the app will detect your new hardware. From there, it’s just a matter of getting it on your home network (WiFI or wired) and signing in with a Google account. Once that’s done, you’re free to start casting content to your TV using any compatible third-party iOS or Android app.
Features and hardware
I know I’m repeating myself, but there’s really no other way to say it. Using the Chromecast Ultra is no different from using any other Chromecast. The Google Home app presents suggestions for apps that are compatible with the Cast technology, including all the usual suspects like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Vudu, HBO Go and Now, WatchESPN, MLB.TV, and NBC Sports, among many others.
Once you start up a video stream in the app, tap the “Cast” button when it appears on-screen, select the Chromecast Ultra, and the video will start playing on your big screen. Most of the time, there’s a few seconds of buffering as you’re starting something up, but things loaded quickly and consistently for me after a few seconds on a 100-Mbps connection.
The big catch here is actually finding 4K content to watch. That’s not a fault of the device; it’s just the reality of the streaming space right now. The only apps I found that supported 4K streaming were Netflix, Vudu and YouTube, with the former two options being the only ones in the group offering shows and movies you’ve actually heard of. YouTube is heavy on tech demo videos, but lacking in things you’d actually want to watch.
While Netflix and Vudu have 4K content you might want to watch, the catalog is still very small. Just about all of Netflix’s original content is available in 4K now (as well as Breaking Bad) but that’s about it. And Vudu has a paltry 68 movies available to rent or buy in 4K. As for content that supports high dynamic range — arguably a bigger step forward in terms of video quality than 4K resolution — there’s even less of it out there.
There are other problems with the 4K experience on top of limited content. For starters, the standard $9.99-a-month Netflix plan doesn’t include 4K streaming. I totally forgot that was the case and spent half an hour watching streams in 1080p before remembering that I hadn’t upgraded my Netflix plan. If you want to watch 4K, you’ll need to sign up for the $11.99 plan that also lets you watch simultaneously on four screens rather than just two. This is something lots of customers likely won’t realize, and there’s no prompt in the Google Home app to remind you to upgrade your Netflix plan.
As for Vudu, a 4K rental costs a whopping $9.99, while buying a movie costs an even steeper $29.99. That is a lot of money for what feels like a marginal improvement in quality. (Your milage may vary, but more on that in a moment.) Again, none of this is Google’s fault — but it does make it harder to recommend buying any 4K streaming device right now, the Chromecast Ultra included.
As I mentioned earlier, the Chromecast Ultra performed quite well even over WiFi. Loading up 4K UHD content worked quickly and reliably. Of course, that’ll depend on your internet connection, but getting 4K streams working here wasn’t an issue whatsoever.
It’s worth taking a quick second to note that two of our main caveats about last year’s Chromecast refresh still apply here: You always have to use your phone as the remote and there’s no native Amazon Instant Video app. The latter is on Amazon, as it could certainly add Chromecast support, but would prefer you buy the Fire TV or Fire TV Stick instead. As for that first caveat, that’s just how the Chromecast has always worked, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t enjoy a simple remote to handle play and pause duties (like Roku and Amazon both include).
As for picture quality, there’s no doubt it’s stunning — but I give the vast majority of that credit to the wonderful 55-inch LG OLED TV I used to test the Chromecast Ultra. Senior editor Devindra Hardawar and I watched a bunch of Netflix shows (including Jessica Jones, Daredevil, House of Cards and Stranger Things) and streamed Pacific Rim from Vudu.
Things looked excellent across the board, but Pacific Rim looked particularly gorgeous. Guillermo del Toro’s brilliant color palette shined throughout the film, while both the monstrous Kaiju and massive Jaeger robots looked more detailed and terrifying than ever. Oranges and blues in particular looked incredibly vibrant throughout the film, thanks to HDR technology — but sometimes, it felt like things were just a bit too saturated. Of course, it was near impossible to discern any pixels, even when standing a foot or two away from the screen.
But I was surprised to realize as the day wore on that 4K generally added very little to the experience. If you purchase a new TV as nice as the LG we were watching, you’ll definitely notice big improvements in the quality — regardless of whether it’s in 1080p or 4K. We did lots of A/B testing, flipping back and forth between Netflix shows streaming through the Chromecast Ultra and the current Apple TV (which only outputs in 1080p) and I was hard-pressed to discern a real difference. Even 1080p video looked outstanding on this fine TV. So did the 4K stream, but it wasn’t nearly the quality upgrade I was expecting.
Ultimately, the question of whether this is a major upgrade is a subjective one. Colors were far less saturated when watching Pacific Rim in 1080p, while the 4K rental occasionally entered the realm of oversaturation, at least to my eyes. The 4K HDR version of the film was impressive, but I don’t think it was definitively better. The Netflix shows we watched in 4K didn’t quite have that same oversaturated sheen. Things looked marginally sharper, but I would be hard-pressed to tell the difference in a blind test.
Perhaps the most obvious competitor to the Chromecast Ultra is Amazon’s Fire TV, which was updated last fall to include 4K video playback. It’s currently selling for $89, twenty bucks more than the Chromecast Ultra, but it has two big advantages. First is a real remote, and second is Amazon Instant Video support. That means that the Fire TV automatically has a larger library of 4K content, as Amazon supports the format. Then again, Amazon doesn’t offer very much video in 4K yet, but that’ll change over time.
Roku’s new Premiere+ is another contender. The $100 device streams 4K video with HDR at up to 60 frames per second. It also includes an Ethernet port, a microSD card slot and a remote. Additionally, it supports Amazon Instant Video. If you’ve used and enjoyed Roku products in the past, the Premiere+ is certainly worth considering.
The other big competitor to the Chromecast Ultra comes from your television itself. Most, if not all 4K TVs are so-called “smart TVs.” That means you’ll get access to apps like Netflix and Vudu right on the TV itself, and those apps will take full advantage of your set’s resolution. Lots of smart TVs have pretty terrible interfaces and it isn’t always easy to add apps, so make sure your television has what you want before you buy it. But Netflix and YouTube are almost always there. Furthermore, lots of new TVs now support Google’s casting technology. They essentially have a Chromecast built right in, then — something that makes buying a separate device unnecessary.
Google’s original $35 Chromecast is so useful and so cheap that it was almost is a no-brainer. At double the price, I can’t quite say the same about the Chromecast Ultra. It works as promised, but the dearth of 4K content makes me hesitant to recommend it. Plus, chances are if you have a good 4K TV, it already has built-in Netflix and YouTube apps anyway.
Over time, as more and more video apps start supporting 4K, the Chromecast Ultra will serve more of a purpose. But the lack of video content coupled with the Chromecast’s higher price makes me feel like this device doesn’t quite have a purpose yet. If for some reason you have a great 4K TV that doesn’t have Netflix built in, though, this is probably the simplest way to remedy that situation. That has value — even if most consumers out there don’t need it.
NextUp is Netflix for UK stand-up comedy
With huge catalogs of movies and TV shows, of which an increasing share are now original, Netflix and Amazon do a good job of catering for most subscribers’ tastes. However, their broad focus means that some customers quickly consume the content that is most interesting to them and are left wanting more. This opens the door for streaming providers that focus on a niche or a specific genre, like comedy, which is exactly what UK company NextUp intends to do.
NextUp brings together dozens of stand-up specials from established and up-and-coming comedians in a Netflix-like package focused on delivering the best in British comedy. Richard Herring, Simon Munnery, Stewart Lee, Miles Jupp, Luisa Omielan and Sean Hughes are all available on the service, offering shows that go beyond the traditional DVD special.
Unlike Netflix, which either licences content via a major producer or commissions content itself, NextUp aims to give back to comedians. It splits viewing revenue 50/50 with acts, provides links to each comedian’s gigs, provides rehearsal space in its London office and includes comedians’ older works, preserving them for streamers who want to trawl through a specific act’s back catalog.
Over the last year, there’s been a steady rise in comedy-centric streaming services. US TV network NBC launched Seeso, an on-demand platform that centres on TV comedy shows than stand-up, and Laugh.ly took its catalog of big-name US comedians worldwide.
NextUp costs £3.50 a month following a free 30-day trial and is supported on the web, iPhone (AirPlay compatible), Android, Roku and Chromecast. Videos can be streamed on demand or downloaded and viewed offline.
The 12 best tech gifts for sports fanatics
Chances are there’s at least one die-hard sports fan in your life. And look, even if your idea of game-time small talk is “Hey, how about that local sportsball team” you can still get them the perfect gift. Whether they’re big NBA addicts, avid runners or trying to perfect that spiral and become an NFL quarterback, we’ve got you covered. And you don’t even have to betray your tech-geek roots to do it. There’s plenty of ways to get your game on while simultaneously getting your geek on. High-end TVs deliver football in 4K glory while wearables like the TomTom Adventurer let you turn that epic hike into epic reams of data. Check out the gallery bellow to see our 12 techie gift recommendations sports fans and athletes.
Facebook Video now plays nice with Chromecast and Apple TV
If you’ve been dying to get Chewbacca Mom on your television, the latest update to Facebook’s video product is directed at you. Starting today, you can now send Facebook videos to your nearby Apple TV or Google Chromecast from any web browser or iOS device.
Facebook says the feature will soon be live for Android users as well, although it will only be able to connect with a Chromecast or other Google Cast-enabled devices. As with other services that play nice with Apple TV (or AirPlay) and Google Cast, the instructions are pretty straightforward: users with a compatible setup will see a TV symbol in the top right corner of Facebook videos. Tap it and you can select which device to stream your video to. The video will even continue playing as you to go back to mindlessly thumbing through your News Feed on your phone. And if you happen to be watching a Facebook Live broadcast, the comments and reactions will be displayed on your TV as well — which will come in handy when you’re streaming the next presidential debate.
UK pricing for Google’s Pixel phones, Daydream VR headset and more
A wealth of leaks might’ve taken some of the sting out of Google’s big event today, but there was quite a lot to take in nonetheless. Google spent a lot of time talking up its AI Assistant — the same one that debuted in its Allo messaging app — but who are we kidding? New hardware was the highlight tonight, and there’s a lot of it, from a pair of Pixel smartphones to a new VR headset, 4K Chromecast and more. And now it’s time to lay out how much all that new gear is gonna cost you.
Nexus is dead, long live Pixel. Google unveiled a pair of handsets under its new Pixel brand today, the smaller of the two featuring a 5-inch screen. Simply called “Pixel,” the device is relatively well specced out, with a powerful Snapdragon 821 chip and 4GB of RAM, though it only boasts a 1080p display. Google didn’t spend much time talking about what’s inside it, however, focusing more on what you can do with it thanks to the baked-in Assistant and “best smartphone camera ever.”
The Pixel can be pre-ordered today with two storage options to choose from, as well as two colours — silver and black (no blue model, yet) — with the official launch date set for October 20th. The pricing table below outlines what Google wants for the device, and it ain’t going cheap. If spreading some of that cost over the term of a contract makes more sense to you, it’s also available to pre-order today from exclusive carrier partner EE.
|32GB||£599||October 4th||October 20th|
|128GB||£699||October 4th||October 20th|
Like the Pixel but bigger, the XL model increases the screen size to 5.5 inches and the resolution to QHD (2,560 x 1,440), with a bigger battery packed into its larger frame for good measure. Also available in the same two colours and storage configs as the smaller device, the Pixel XL is also up for pre-order from Google and EE today ahead of its October 20th launch. Pricing is pretty steep, however, and just to put it into perspective, the flagship 5.5-inch, 64GB OnePlus 3 is £329.
|32GB||£719||October 4th||October 20th|
|128GB||£819||October 4th||October 20th|
Cardboard was previously the closest Google’s come to crafting a virtual reality headset, but the company has stepped things up today with the Daydream View. While it’s still smartphone-powered — Google’s Pixel handsets being the first to support the Daydream platform — the headset is clad in fabric for comfort and includes a motion-sensitive wand controller. Thankfully, it’s still relatively inexpensive at £69, and will be available early November.
Roku and Amazon have had streaming pucks and dongles that output at 4K for some time now, leaving Google a little behind the curve. The search giant has finally caught up today, though, with the announcement of the Chromecast Ultra. It does everything you’d expect a Chromecast to do, but adds Ultra HD, HDR and Dolby Vision support. It’s over double the price of previous generations at £69, mind, with no word on availability apart from a vague “soon.” In addition to Google’s online store, we’re told it’ll also be stocked by Currys PC World and Argos too.
Google Home & Google Wifi
Google finally filled us on its Amazon Echo competitor today, known only as “Home.” Nothing about the announcement was particularly surprising. Calling upon the built-it Assistant, you can ask Home all kinds of things and it’ll source information from across the web, and you can also instruct it control your other devices at home. It’s Google’s AI Assistant, confined to a WiFi speaker. Oh, and you can use it to play music too.
Google also announced a follow-up to its OnHub router today, called “Google Wifi.” Instead of a single piece of hardware, it uses multiple devices to create a mesh network to eliminate black spots. The kit also intelligently manages your devices, channels and bandwidth to get the best out of your broadband, and includes some handy parental control features to boot. Unfortunately, there’s no firm word on pricing or availability for either the Home speaker or the new router gear. We were simply told the company hopes to bring them to the UK next year, and we think you can probably expect the prices to be similar to the $129 US values, but in pounds.
Click here to catch all the latest news from today’s Google event.
Google’s play for the living room starts with Home
Today marked Google’s biggest hardware launch yet. Not only did it announce two Pixel phones and a Daydream VR headset — it also unveiled a slew of products for the living room. We already heard about Google Home, its voice-powered assistant-and-Bluetooth speaker combo at the company’s I/O developer conference this year. New today, though, was a mesh networking router and an updated Chromecast. We took a closer look at all three immediately after the event and came away with a dream of a Google-powered home.
First up is Google Home, which was obviously intended to compete with the Amazon Echo. Instead of saying “Alexa” to trigger a voice command, you’d say “OK Google,” just like you would with any other Google-powered device. Obviously, you can use it to search the internet for various factoids, like “how tall is a giraffe?” or “what’s the weather in Mexico?” You can also harness the power of Google’s AI-powered assistant to text your friends and ask for directions to a restaurant. What’s more, it works with a variety of Internet of Things products like the Nest Thermostat, Samsung SmartThings, the Philips Hue lights and anything powered by IFTTT.
During a brief hands-on, I found that Google Home did a good job at recognizing my voice, even in a crowded room. It did hiccup occasionally if there was too much noise interference, but that was fairly rare. Google Home works with several different music sources like Pandora, Spotify, YouTube Music, TuneIn and iHeartRadio. So I could say, “Play Hello from Adele on Spotify” and it’ll do just that. It also reacts to commands like “pause” and “volume down.” What I found particularly impressive is that even in a loud room it managed to figure out what I was saying without me having to raise my voice. A Google spokesperson said that’s because Home is smart enough to differentiate voice patterns from background noise.
Speaking of audio quality, I have to say Google Home is impressive for such a small speaker. It’s not exactly surround sound, but it’s definitely a lot louder and fuller than your typical laptop. Of course, we’d have to test it for a more extended period, and in real-world settings, before we really weigh in. That said, if you do want good audio quality, there’s some good news here: Google Home works with any pair of Chromecast-enabled speakers. You can either get compatible speakers from the likes of Sony or LG, or you can just plug in a Chromecast Audio to any pair of speakers you want. Once you map those speakers appropriately, you can say things like “Play Shakira in the kitchen” or “Play my Spotify playlist in the living room.” You can also just have multiple Google Home speakers if you want. All of a sudden you can have a multi-room audio system like Sonos, but with voice commands.
Another neat trick is that Google Home works with Chromecast and your TV. Right now you can only use it to play YouTube clips but Netflix will be supported eventually as well. So you can soon just say “Play Stranger Things” to start your binge-watching session.
If you don’t feel like using voice commands, Google Home also has a capacitive touch surface on the top. Tap it to play or pause, and you can draw a circle with your finger to turn the volume up or down. There’s a mute button on the back as well, just in case you don’t want it to always be listening. Google Home comes with different colored bases, and you have the choice of either fabric mesh or metal.
I also had a look at Google WiFi, which is essentially the company’s answer to mesh networking routers like the Eero. If you live in a small apartment — say, around 500 square feet — then one WiFi Hub should suffice. But if your place is larger than that you might want to consider getting multiple units. Like the Eero, Google recommends putting the WiFi hub every 30 feet or so, or at least within line of sight. It supports AC1200 wireless speeds, dual-band 2.4GHz and GHz networks plus it’s compatible with the 802.11s mesh networking standard. Each WiFi hub also has two Ethernet ports just in case you want a wired connection instead.
I asked a Google spokesperson what really sets the WiFi Hub apart from the Eero and he says there are three components. First, is that it has a Network Assist companion app that makes set up super easy and simple. Next, there’s a network analyzing tool for each hub, so that you always know the most optimum place to position your hub for the best possible signal. Finally, it’s smart enough to let you maintain a connection as you move through different hubs, so you can keep your Hangouts call going as you move from room to room.
Lastly, I had a quick look at the Chromecast Ultra. True to its name, it’s the first and only Chromecast right now to support 4K content. It has a pretty similar look to the last Chromecast with its circular puck design, though it doesn’t come in different colors this time. Google showed me a demo of some 4K content playing through it and it looked really nice to my eyes, though obviously it would need extended testing to know for sure.
With Google Home, Google WiFi and the Chromecast Ultra combined, Google has made what appears to be a compelling bid for the home. Together, these products go after not just the Amazon Echo, but also Sonos, Roku and mesh networking routers like the Eero. Get all three, and you arguably have one of the most advanced home theater and connected home setups that money can buy right now.
Click here to catch all the latest news from Google’s fall event.