By now, we know that set streaming is the wave of the future. With brands like Amazon, Roku, and Apple getting in on the streaming media game with new updates to their set-top boxes, it’s no surprise that heavy-hitter Google is not far behind. ‘Tis the season for new electronic gadgets, after all.

Google Chromecast 2015

Google released the new version of Google Chromecast in late-September, improving on the initial product. As Google takes on more and more of the market share in the digital marketplace, the Chromecast is a great addition to any home theater system, and also is one of the best values in set-top boxes. Google Chromecast still lacks a specific interface, unlike Amazon Fire, AppleTV, and Roku. But in terms of basic streaming entertainment, Chromecast offers a great value for your investment.

Like the new versions of other set top boxes in the market, Google Chromecast has added lots of new bells and whistles to make watching streaming movies, television, sports, and web videos easier to access and bringing more streaming reliability — which means more fun. But in addition to those benefits, Google has improved the Chromecast in function and form.

If you’re already a Chromecast user, you may realize that the storage space has been cut from 2 GB to 256 MG. Why such a downgrade? There’s a method to Google’s madness: the Chromecast was never designed to be a storage device. The new version of Chromecast offers better, more reliable connectivity, which means video doesn’t have to be cached in the device. In the case of the new Google Chromecast, less really is more. The extra space of the previous Chromecast has made way for improvements in connectivity.

The Google Chromecast app has also improved this time around. While the original Chromecast app was more or less used to find Chromecast-compatible programming and apps from third-party apps, the new Chromecast app acts not only as a program guide but also includes Fast Play. Fast Play predicts what show you may watch after the one you’re watching currently, and preloads a portion of the programming so you can begin watching it faster.

The biggest difference between the new and former Chromecasts is the black microSD “dongle” that plugs into your television. The new Chromecast has a sleek circular design with a flexible HDMI cord. The circular design contains three antennas arranged to optimize and suit modern Wi-Fi streaming. The flexible cord lets you position the Google Chromecast behind your television and away from adjacent HDMI ports.

The Google Chromecast 2 is available in three colors, Lemonade, Coral, and Black, and retails for $35 — a price that’s hard to beat.

Are you a Google Chromcast fan? Will you upgrade to the new model?

*Photo credit Google Chromecast