Despite being extremely affordable, Google’s new Chromecast does not support 4K resolution

According to reports, Google has released a new, cheaper Chromecast device, but it lacks some capabilities found in previous models.

Indications of this new device, codenamed Chromecast with Google TV (HD), have surfaced recently, with some reports speculating that the company is expanding hardware support to non-4K TVs. Indeed, that appears to be the case. You can stream in 4K HDR and choose from a number of Dolby video formats with this new HD Chromecast, which is essentially a scaled-down version of the 2020 model.

All of the improvements are on the inside, so the new gadget looks exactly the same from the outside.

Features

The HD Chromecast costs $29.99 and enables 1080p (1920 x 1080) streaming at 60 frames per second. Dolby Vision, a High Dynamic Range (HDR) format that enabled more vibrant colours and darker blacks, has also been discontinued. HDR10 and HDR10+, while less powerful than Dolby Vision, still improve picture quality and are supported by the new gadget. The HD Chromecast also has less memory than the 4K model, at 1.5GB compared to 2GB.

The Dolby audio enhancements remain. It’s true that the HD Chromecast supports Dolby Digital, Digital Plus, and Atmos (opens in new tab) audio formats. For those unfamiliar, Dolby Digital and Digital Plus are compression technologies that aid in the device’s ability to produce high-quality audio with no loss of fidelity. On the other hand, Dolby Atmos is a format that simulates spatial sound to create a more immersive listening experience. You’ll need an HDMI pass-through device and a soundbar that’s compatible with the Atmos format to enjoy the surround sound.

The HD Chromecast set consists of the HDMI dongle itself, which can be plugged into a TV, and a separate remote control.

You’ll find the same directional circle as on the 4K model, in addition to shortcuts for playing videos from YouTube and Netflix and talking to Google Assistant. There’s a microphone built into the remote so you can issue voice commands to the Assistant. Google claims that the HD Chromecast can also be used to watch the live feed from a Nest Doorbell camera.

You can get a Chromecast with Google TV (HD) right now, but it only comes in Snow White from the online store. However, Australians will need to pay a tad more. In Australia, you can purchase the gadget for $59 AUD, or about $40 USD.

Google TV Upgrades

When you consider that Google is also releasing new features for its Google TV service, the release of the HD Chromecast couldn’t be more timely.

The company acknowledged on August 22 that its service was underperforming and has been working to improve it ever since. The latest update enhanced performance and streamlined storage management. Over 10,000 apps, according to the company, can be found on Google TV.

Word on the street has it that Google TV will soon offer an additional 50 channels of live TV, for an additional fee. Considering the HD Chromecast’s rumoured inception and the recent surge in popularity, those 50 channels might actually materialise.

It remains to be seen how well an HD-only Chromecast does in a market where 4K TVs are rapidly becoming the standard. However, it could be the perfect solution for those on the lookout for a cheap streaming service.