Very late last night, users began to report an update to the Google Cast Receiver application that has users noticing an improved speed in connecting and starting playback of content.
The Google Cast Receiver is an app that comes pre-installed on Android TV devices. It mimics the Chromecast’s functionality by letting users throw their content onto a second screen, allowing them to watch videos or even play games. Even if an app doesn’t have a native TV app, you can still get a great leanback experience through a simple experience on your phone.
The changelog for the app, now at version 1.17, merely says “bug fixes and performance improvements”. That certainly seems true based on these early reports, although this speed may be coincidence. The Chromecast API is part of Google Play Services, which comes with every phone. In order for the Chromecast changes to be faster, it would require an update to that app and probably an update to apps that use the cast library. Any speed in connecting can come from a variety of places and optimizations in any of the three (receiver, Google Play Services, client application) can lead to faster connections and playback.
Optimizing the initialization process will definitely entice more users to cast. As both Chromecast and Android TV become more popular, it is important for these experiences to be as seamless as possible.
This is another one of many updates to core Android TV apps in recent days. It’s an early Christmas for current users of the platform, and a good sign that Google is continuing their commitment to the TV. That, along with a new Marshmallow update, should give new users great experiences come the end of the holiday season.
If you aren’t seeing the new update immediately, and are too anxious to wait, you can sideload the update from APK Mirror. Please note that at the time of this article, only devices that have an ARM processor should install this apk. Those that have an x86 processor should wait until the correct apk is uploaded to APK Mirror. If you don’t know which one you have, it’s probably safer just to wait.