May 19, 2024

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The Original Chromecast Is Ending After a Decade of Service – Ars Technica

The Original Chromecast Is Ending After a Decade of Service – Ars Technica

The original Chromecast.

Google

Now rest easy, little Chromecast. Google has announced that the ten-year-old Chromecast 1 is finally nearing the end of life. Message on Google Chromecast Firmware support page (First spotted by 9to5Google) announced the end of support, saying: “Chromecast (1st generation) support has ended, which means that these devices no longer receive software or security updates, and Google does not provide technical support for them. Users may notice a degradation in performance.” The first generation Chromecast launched in 2013 for $35.

The original Chromecast was a huge hit and sold out 10 million units in 2014 alone. For years, the device was mentioned on Google’s earnings calls as the highlight of the company’s hardware efforts, and was essentially the company’s first successful device. Chromecast made it easy to cast internet videos to your TV at a time when it was very complicated.

Google doesn’t really make Chromecasts anymore — or at least it doesn’t make products that use the original Chromecast technology stack. The original 2013 Chromecast, 2015 second-generation version, 2016 Chromecast Ultra, and 2018 third-generation versions are all dead simple streaming sticks. They run Cast OS, which is a very lightweight operating system patched together From parts of Chrome OS and Android. They do not have a default interface, they cannot run applications, and they do not have their own control mechanism. Old Chromecasts only exist as media receivers for the cast button in various apps like YouTube. You hit the cast button in an app, choose a TV, the screen turns on and you start playing media. That’s it.

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In 2020, Google released “Chromecast with Google TV,” a product that keeps the Chromecast brand alive but moves away from the idea of ​​a simple streaming device. The new “Chromecasts” can still be media receivers, but now they’re significantly more sophisticated Android TV boxes. They run the full Android operating system, have their own interface, and come with a physical remote control to navigate the user interface. You can sign in to the stick, launch the Play Store, download updates, and install apps. The new Chromecast devices are just set-top boxes in a dongle form factor.

The Chromecast hub for Android TV means that no existing products use the Cast OS. In fact, Google has worked to erase the inappropriate OS from all of its Google products, with the other Cast OS product, the Google Nest Hub, switching to Fuchsia. The only work on the OS at present is support for older Chromecasts, with the most recent being the 5-year-old 3rd Gen Chromecast. There is no information on how much time is left from other Cast OS devices.