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Thursday, October 18, 2018

The New Chromecast Doesn’t Support 4K (But Here’s What Does)

There isn’t much to say about the new Chromecast. It’s almost identical to its 2nd generation counterpart, even down to the $35 price point. Oh, and it doesn’t support 4K.

Google’s decision to cap the new Chromecast at 1080p seems near-sighted, especially when you consider that Amazon and Roku have 4K streaming devices in the same price range as the Chromecast. But let’s not forget that Google already has a 4K streaming device: the Chromecast Ultra! Problem is, the Ultra costs $69. That economic hurdle raises a powerful question: should you buy the new Chromecast, upgrade to a Chromecast Ultra, or buy a competitor’s streaming device?

How Has the Chomecast Changed?

The old Chromecast looked like a shiny air freshener for your car. It had a Chromecast logo in the center, and a bendy HDMI dongle sticking out the top. Fans of the old design will be relieved to know that the new Chromecast has the same old shape and the same old dongle. But Google replaced the old shiny plastic shell with a matte finish and swapped the Chromecast logo for the sleek Google “G” logo. There are two color options: chalk and charcoal. Personally, I think that the chalk design looks like a giant breathmint, or half an earmuff. Anyway, the Chromecast dangles behind your TV, so we can forget about appearances and move on.

I’m going to reiterate, the new Chromecast doesn’t have 4K. But Google has updated the hardware, so the new Chromecast supposedly runs 15 percent faster than the previous model. While the previous model could only run 30fps at 1080p, the new one can run 60fps at 1080. The Wifi range has also been increased, which is nice because the Chromecast still doesn’t have an Ethernet port.

Eventually, the Chromecast will have multi-room speaker support. You’ll be able to cast audio from the device to compatible speakers all over the house. While this feature may be useful to people with a bunch of Bluetooth speakers or Google Home devices, it may not be something the average consumer cares about.

The new Chromecast still uses a Micro USB adapter for power, which is fine. Even if the new Chromecast used a USB-C cable, would you really dig it out from behind your TV to plug something else into it? Probably not. Oh, and like its predecessors, the Chromecast still doesn’t have a remote, you need a phone or tablet to operate it. While this may be a deal breaker for some, others may prefer it.

How’s About That Chromecast Ultra? ($69)

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