Television content has undergone a significant change in recent years. Consumers are quickly shifting away from traditional, expensive cable service, opting for video-streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. There are quite a few video-streaming equipment options available, and one of the most affordable of them all is Google’s Chromecast. The device is about as inexpensive as it gets, selling for only $35, and is a small stick that plugs right into your TV's HDMI port. It works a bit differently than many video-streaming boxes, because rather than sending content directly to the television, it streams it to the TV via a mobile device. There are some drawbacks to this configuration, such as battery drain on the smartphone or tablet, but the low price point has made it a very attractive option for consumers.
Earlier this month, Google announced a way for users to try out new Chromecast versions before their public releases, called the Chromecast Preview Program. Now, preview participants are receiving their first preview update, to version 1.21.72444. The update does not come with any mind-blowing features, but rather just a few “general bug fixes and stability improvements”, however, those who are eligible for it will likely run into slightly fewer issues after receiving the preview update, so it’s probably a good idea to take the update if it’s available to you. If you're not already a member of the program, getting signed up is pretty straightforward. To join, while your Chromecast is on, open the Google Cast app and find the “Devices” tab. From there, find “Device settings” and finally “Preview email”. If you don’t see it listed, it means that registration may not currently be open, but if you are able to tap the button, you will get a confirmation email, followed by email notifications every time a new preview is ready.
The purpose of the Preview Program is not to force the responsibility of quality control onto consumers and turn them into beta testers. The releases that are made available to those participating in the program will be the final versions released to the public, and should be as bug-free as any typical release. Participants are simply being given early access, along with the opportunity to provide feedback to the development team so that they can enhance future releases with the help of users’ suggestions. If you own a Chromecast and would like to participate, head into the Google Cast app to sign up for the program.