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. At the Mountain View, CA-based company's October 4 event, it announced a new, third-generation model that supports 4K with HDR and Dolby Vision. Here's everything you need to know about Google's new streaming 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.
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Google Chromecast Ultra: What is it?
Chromecast Ultra looks just like the Chromecast 2, although it's lost the Chrome logo in favour of a small 'G' to fit in with Google's 'Made by Google' message. Google says it's 1.8x faster than the Chromecast 2, which is ideal because it needs to be able to support 4K Ultra HD streams as well as High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Dolby Vision.
It works in exactly the same way as the Chromecast and Chromecast Audio, you simply need to tap the Cast icon in the compatible app on your smartphone or tablet to send content to the big screen.
Google Chromecast Ultra: What does it feature?
Google's Chromecast Ultra supports 4K Ultra HD content for the benefit of consumers who've upgraded to TVs that support 4K content. By releasing the Ultra, Google has beaten both Amazon Fire TV Stick and Roku Stick in getting 4K support into a small dongle. Amazon and Roku have boxes that support 4K, but not a dongle that can be hidden away behind the TV. Apple's fourth-generation Apple TV box doesn't support 4K either.
The Chromecast Ultra can not only stream content via wi-fi, but also comes with an Ethernet port for a wired, more stable internet connection. This is ideal for 4K Ultra HD streams, as they'll require a higher bandwidth and stronger connection than full HD streams.
Google Chromecast Ultra: What does it look like?
We'd already seen some leaked renders posted by VentureBeat of the Chromecast Ultra and they were pretty spot on. The new model looks almost identical to the Chromecast 2, with the only major difference being the Chrome logo on the HDMI dongle being replaced by a subtle "G" to fall under Google's "Made by Google" tagline.
It's a wise move from Google to use the same design as the Chromecast 2, as the new look makes it easy 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?
The Google Chromecast Ultra will be available from November.
Google Chromecast Ultra: How much will it cost?
Google has confirmed the Chromecast Ultra will cost £69 in the UK when it goes on sale in November and $69 in the US. You can sign up to a waiting list on Google's Store to be notified when it's available to buy.
Want to know more?
Browse Pocket-lint's Chromecast hub for the latest and breaking news.