CES 2017: Chromecast Built-In Comes to Sony, JBL, Pioneer, Onkyo, More
As AV manufacturers like Harman JBL, Sony, Pioneer, Onkyo, Haier and Philips feature Chromecast built-in on their newest speakers and TVs, Samsung invents its own 'invisible connection.'
Google has recently rebranded Google Cast, as it was previously called, to Chromecast built-in. The functionality allows users to stream content from several apps to a speaker or TV without plugging in a physical Chromecast.
In fact, Chromecast pairing capablity spans over 1000 apps, 200 thousand TV shows and movies and 30 million songs.
At CES 2017, many AV manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon and releasing products with Chomecast built-in.
Customers with Chromecast-enabled AV products will be able to use their phone or tablet to stream and control audio and video from anywhere in the home via any Chromecast-enabled apps, which are available across iPhone, iPad, Android phone and tablet, Mac and Windows laptop, and Chromebook.
Since Chromecast works over Wi-Fi, the user doesn't need to be within a fixed proximity to connect to the speaker (such as with Bluetooth).
Check out a few products now featuring Chromecast built-in.
Users can connect multiple JBL Playlist speakers or other Chromecast built-in speakers with the Google Home app. The speaker also works with Google Home voice-activated assistant, allowing users to control music via voice commands.
"OK Google, play some jazz on JBL Playlist."
Multiple devices can be connected to the speaker at one time, and music is uninterrupted by phone calls or text messages.
The JBL Playlist’s design features a wide-open surface and a metal passive radiator for sound, specifically base, performance. Its matte finish and grille fabric cover provides a sleek look designed to compliment a room.
While a lot of speaker manufacturers have announced Chromecast-enabled products at CES 2017, Sony is taking the charge one step further with a Chromecast-enabled subwoofer and soundbar combo.
The HT-MT500 is Sony's first soundbar with Google Chromecast integration, released at CES alongside another, more basic soundbar model, the HT-MT300, without Chromecast built-in and a few other high-end features.
Both soundbars are accompanied by a subwoofer. They boast Sony's S-Force PRO Front Surround sound system, connectivity via NFC and Bluetooth, as well as an aesthetically-pleasing design. The higher-end MT500 model also features Sony’s High-Resolution Audio and Spotify Connect.
The two soundbar/subwoofer pairs are expected to become available in February for the MT300 and March for the MT500. The more basic MT300 model will retail for $330 and the higher-end MT500 model will retail for $880.
Chromecast built-in will soon become a feature of the complete Pioneer and Elite product lines, including network-enabled AV and stereo receivers, soundbars and wireless speakers.
“We expect that the current trend of multi-room entertainment will continue to expand,” says Nobuaki Okuda, CTO, Pioneer. “We are pleased to support Chromecast built-in with a broad range of products that meet the demand from our global customers”
Chromecast built-in functions will be activated via firmware updates beginning this spring.
Onkyo will also support Chromecast built-in into its product lineup, including network-enabled AV and stereo receivers, soundbars and wireless speakers, through apps available across a multitide of mobile devices.
Onkyo customers can expect to see Chromecast built-in functions activated through firmware updates in the spring.
Haier has announced a line of Chromecast built-in televisions for the North American market.
"We are excited to launch this new partnership with Google and offer consumers the best in entertainment experience," says John Homlish, president, Haier America's Digital Products Group. "With Chromecast built into our televisions we make it easy for consumers to get access to their favorite shows, movies, music, sports, games and more."
Launching in Q2 of 2017, the new Haier Chromecast built-in television line will range from 43 inches to 75 inches.
Philips announces that all of its 2017 Ultra HD TVs will feature some form of HDR support. Its 6000, 7000, and 8000 Series TVs, as well as its BDP7502 Ultra HD Blu-ray player, support Dolby Vision HDR content. But only the 8000 and 5000 Series support Chromecast built-in.
The 8000 Series is Philips' flagship 2017 line. It boasts the best picture and the most features, like HDR10, Dolby Vision and wide color gamut capable of reproducing 75 percent of the BT.2020 color space, according to the company.
Other features include 4K upscaling of HD and standard definition content, dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO antennas, 240 Perfect Motion Rate and of course Chromecast built-in.
The 8000 series TVs will be available in fall 2017 in three different sizes. The 65-inch class 65PFL8922 ($1,700 MSRP), 55-inch class 55PFL8922 ($1,200 MSRP), and 49-inch 49PFL8922 ($1,000 MSRP).
If dealers are looking for a smart TV from Philips with 4K resolution and HDR, but don’t want to spring for Dolby Vision, the 5000 Series is a good bet. Also complete with Chromecast, the series will be available in April in four models ranging from 43-inch class to 65-inch class, and retailing from $530 to $1,200.
Philips says this elimimates the need for a 4K streaming media player, but that might depend on the quality and reliability of Chromecast built-in.
Samsung Does It Differently
Samsung says its 2017 lineup of QLED (TVs with displays using quantum dot technology, as they were first introduced at CES 2016) has "the best picture quality — ever.” The Q7, Q8, and Q9 displays have several upgrades and additional features, but perhaps most interesting it Samsung's Chromecast-like connection.
No, it's not Chromecast built-in. It's Samsung's own "invisible connection" with a similar functionality, except instead of pairing with Chromecast-enabled apps, it allows any user with access to Samsung’s Smart Hub and the Smart View app to stream movies or TV shows from their phone or tablet to their Samsung QLED TV.
Samsung says the updated Smart View app will display notifications about when users' favorite TV shows are airing and where you can watch them.
Which begs the question ... if Google's Chromecast is available on over 1000 apps, will Samsung's functionality be able to stream content from anywhere, or only those few compatible apps and services?
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