Google's Chromecast is going 4K.
It's been a year since Google updated Chromecast by releasing Chromecast 2 with a new design, improved internals, and a refreshed app. The Mountain View, CA-based company has likely been developing a third-generation model since then, and according to a recent report, that new device should debut this autumn, and it'll bring support for 4K streams. Here's everything we know about Google's upcoming dongle.
Google Chromecast: What is it?
Google launched the first Chromecast in 2013. It's an affordable HDMI dongle that lets you wirelessly "cast" content to a television. It basically makes most TVs smart. Then, in 2015, Google launched Chromecast 2. It's faster, more responsive, and just as affordable. And it arrived with an updated Chromecast app that serves as a one-stop shop for finding compatible apps and specific content across those apps.
For more information on Chromecast, see Pocket-lint's review of Chromecast 2.
- Chromecast 2 review: Make any TV smart, effortlessly
- What is Google Cast for Audio?
- Chromecast now has a guest mode: Here's how to turn on the feature
- What is Google Chromecast and why should you care?
- Roku Streaming Stick vs Google Chromecast
- Amazon Fire TV Stick vs Google Chromecast vs Roku Streaming Stick
Google Chromecast Ultra: What is it?
Android Police claimed that Google will unveil the next Chromecast during its 4 October hardware launch event. At this event, Google will not only announce an updated Chromecast capable of supporting 4K streams, but also two new Pixel smartphones, a Daydream virtual reality device, and details on its Amazon Echo-like Google Home speaker. Google's new 4K Chromecast is thought to be called “Chromecast Ultra".
Google was reportedly going to launch a 4K version of the Chromecast in autumn 2015, but it instead released Chromecast 2 with a new disc-shaped design. It also released a Chromecast Audio device, which basically makes most speakers smart by allowing you to wirelessly "cast" audio content from a Chromecast-enabled app to a speaker connected to Chromecast Audio.
Google Chromecast Ultra: What will it feature?
Google's 4K Chromecast should support 4K Ultra HD content for the benefit of consumers who've upgraded to TVs that support 4K content. If Google adds support for 4K to its HDMI dongle, it would beat both Amazon Fire TV Stick and Roku Stick, both of which are similar dongles, but they don't yet support 4K content. Apple's fourth-generation Apple TV box doesn't even support 4K.
We don't yet know what else 4K Chromecast might feature. Keep in mind Chromecast 2 was updated to be compatible with 5GHz Wi-Fi networks, and it comes with three radios rather than a single-band Wi-Fi antenna, so you experience less interference than you do with the original Chromecast on a 2.4GHz network. It'll therefore be interesting to see how else 4K Chromecast can be improved over Chromecast 2.
Google Chromecast Ultra: What will it look like?
Leaked renders posted by VentureBeat show a Chromecast device that looks similar the second-generation model introduced in 2015. The major difference between is that the Chrome logo on the HDMI dongle has been replaced by a subtle "G". Keep in mind Google is marketing its October event under the "Made by Google" tagline, which suggests everything we see at the show will be Google-branded and maybe even Google-made.
Up until now, it was unclear if the next Chromecast would feature a redesign, as Google drastically switched up design last year with the release of Chromecast 2. While the first Chromecast looked like a basic USB stick, Chromecast 2 brought an all-new look, with the purpose of making it easier to squeeze between ports behind your TV. It's a small, plastic, hockey-puck-shaped device with a glossy and colourful front and matte bottom.
Google Chromecast Ultra: When will it be available?
Google is expected to announce the updated 4K-capable Chromecast at the Made By Google event on 4 October in San Francisco. If so, we expect the device to be available for purchase either immediately or shortly after.
Google Chromecast Ultra: How much will it cost?
Google currently sells the current-generation of Chromecast and Chromecast Audio for £30 ($35) each. It is unknown whether the 4K version of Chromecast will cost more. That said, Android Police has claimed the device will cost $69.
Want to know more?
Browse Pocket-lint's Chromecast hub for the latest and breaking news.