Google has just unveiled its new Chromecast streaming device, updating its previous products and now coming with remote control, Wednesday, September 30.
The latest Chromecast is the latest streaming device from the tech giant, following the 2016's Chromecast Ultra, which was priced at $70, and its 2018 version that sold for $30. Google has reimagined its streaming dongle, adding remote control and its own on-screen user interface for easier navigation among its supported streaming apps—for only $50.
Today at our virtual #LaunchNightIn, we introduced our newest lineup of helpful devices from across Google, including two new smartphones, Pixel 4a (5G) + Pixel 5, Chromecast with Google TV, and our latest smart speaker Nest Audio.https://t.co/ddDvhxHmql pic.twitter.com/o2IRuL40uc — Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) September 30, 2020
Returning to the Stream Device Race
Google Chromecast has come a long way since it was first released in 2013. The original video streaming stick, priced at $35, was a hit among people looking for a fuller watching experience. As a returning competitor in the market, it easily meets most of the features supported by Roku's Streaming Stick Plus and Amazon Fire TV Stick 4k. Chromecast supports 4K and Dolby Vision displays, Dolby Atmos, and a selection of streaming apps including Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Disney Plus, and more.
Like all Chromecast products, Google's latest offering is still a dongle, which is plugged to a Smart TV's HDMI port. It is also visually different from its predecessors, taking an oval shape with rounded edges and a matte finish - different from Ultra's glossy coin-shaped device. Also, unlike earlier releases, which can be powered by the TV's USB port, the new Chromecast requires it to be connected to a 7.5-watt power supply plugged to a wall socket.
The interface also builds on Android TV, making it easier for users who have tried it before and has various apps except for the Apple TV Plus app, which remains unavailable on Google media platforms.
Its most outstanding feature is probably the remote, a minimalist white controller with only the most necessary options available. It has a round directional pad on top, a Google Assistant button for voice commands, as well as instant shortcuts for YouTube and Netflix. Finally, the remote is powered by two AAA batteries, which are already included in the package.
Is Google Phasing Out Ultra?
While Google has basically outdone its Ultra with the new Chromecast, the tech giant says that the older model will remain available at "select retailers." However, tech website The Verge reports that there is no more stock of the item at Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Walmart, and other major stores.
Also, as the new product seems to have focused on the full streaming experience, it will not support Stadia - Google's cloud gaming service - until 2021. Buyers can still avail of the Stadia Premiere Edition, coming in at $99.99, which will include the Stadia controller and a Chromecast Ultra unit.
Some users might find the new Chromecast might be a little lacking with the lack of an Ethernet adapter, such as those who will need fast and steady Internet access, as with the Ultra four years ago. Google has also released a $20 Ethernet plus power adapter for the new Chromecast, which connects an RJ45 port to the new Chromecast's power supply unit.
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