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Google Powers Up Chromecast, Adds Audio-Only Version

Google introduced a new version of its popular Chromecast media streaming device on Tuesday, giving it a new design, improved specs and a sibling gadget that specializes in audio. The new Chromecast is small and round, with jolly red and yellow colors to choose from if you don't like plain black. Inside is an updated wireless system that allows for higher-definition videos and less waiting for them to buffer — it'll even start loading a new episode before you select it so you don't have to wait once you hit the button.

Google

The new Chromecast Audio, meanwhile, basically adds Wi-Fi to any set of speakers, letting you stream music or podcasts to them from your phone or computer. It's easy to unplug and carry with you, so you can take it to a different room, a friend's house, or on vacation. It comes in one color, black, with a finish that makes it look like a tiny LP. Both the Audio and original Chromecast need to be plugged in via USB or an outlet.

Related: Google Launches Free Version of Play Music Streaming Service

Both devices cost $35, making them among the cheapest options out there for connecting your media devices to the Internet. The competitors, like Apple TV, Roku and Amazon's Fire TV Stick (which comes close at $40) add remotes to the mix, if you prefer that. They're available now directly from Google or at your local electronics retailer.