(Pocket-lint) - Chromecast was originally announced in 2013, looking to make TVs smart, by plugging straight into the HDMI port and providing a range of connected skills.
The most recent versions - the Chromecast Ultra and Chromecast third-gen - were announced in 2016 and 2018 respectively, but still much very deliver on that original premise of making your TV connected.
But there's rumours that Google is looking at shaking up the Chromecast Ultra, with something new in the pipeline, codename Sabrina. It might be called Chromecast with Google TV, as Google looks to expand the offering beyond the original casting remit.
Here's everything you need to know, based on leaks and rumours so far.
Chromecast with Google TV release date and price
- 30 September launch event
- Pricing leaked at either $50 or $60
Google has booked in an event for 30 September and we're expecting to see the new device announced. We've also recently seen leaks from retailers saying it will be available from 30 September.
As for pricing, leaks initially suggested that it will be under $80. These have been further corroborated recently, with listings at Walmart, Home Depot, and Target all placing Sabrina at either $50 or $60. Finally, a couple Redditors were even able to buy the Chromecast with Google TV from a local Walmart and Home Depot in the US. They paid $50 for them, so we've no doubt about the pricing.
It would seem that the aim here is going to be to compete with Roku or Amazon, meaning that it's going to have to come in at a lower price than the previous version of Chromecast Ultra.
Chromecast with Google TV design and remote
- Oval pebble-like design
- Amlogic S905X2 hardware
- Will come with a remote
The existence of a new Chromecast, thought to be codenamed Sabrina, first appeared in March 2020. Those details claimed that the new Chromecast would be similar in design to the current third-gen Chromecast, so it will be a smooth round disc that connects to your TV via HDMI.
The design looks refined from the previous iteration of the design, a little more in fitting with some of the Google hardware design we've seen more recently. We're expecting it to come in pink, white and black colours based on leaked marketing video. It's said that it will be powered by Amlogic S905X2 hardware, common in Android TV devices.
It will also come with a remote, which is said to look like a cross between the Apple TV remote and the Google Daydream remote. That remote has been pictured in a number of leaks, so we can see that it has a directional controller at the top, a Google Assistant button, YouTube and Netflix buttons, as well as what look like controls for your TV, an home and back buttons.
There doesn't appear to be an Ethernet connection on the device itself and the version that was bought by a Redditor didn't offer this on the power supply either (as was the case with the Chromecast Ultra).
Chromecast with Google TV features
- Will run Android TV/Google TV
- Will allow Google Play app installation
- 4K HDR, Dolby Vision, HLG
- Google Assistant
The new Chromecast will change direction dramatically compared to previous versions. So far, Chromecast has only been a link between your TV and online content, relying on a separate device to control it - your phone or laptop for example.
If new rumours are accurate, the new Chromecast will run Android TV - although that might in turn be rebranded to Google TV. That will allow access to services currently open to Android TV - such as entertainment app installations from Google Play - but will also mean that it has a user interface you can control with the remote.
Leaked images from a marketing video show off a new user interface for Android TV on the device, so we suspect it will push out a new content-based focus. There's also the mention of smart home controls so we suspect it will integrate notifications from services like Nest, a little like the Nest Hub, although those would also be controlled easily enough by Google Assistant.
From leaked code we've also learnt that it will support a low-latecy gaming mode, able to switch TVs supporting the function to game mode over HDMI 2.1. That might suggest that Sabrina is going to support Stadia, so you can directly switch to Google's gaming platform, although and early leak from someone who bought the new device said that it didn't support Stadia.
We expect that the Chromecast will still support casting as the current models do, but allow easier access to services through direct remote control. It's also reported that it will run a new version of Android TV that elevates content outside of apps, to make discovery a more natural experience, to make it better compete with Apple TV and Amazon's Fire TV.
We're still expecting the new Chromecast to support all the formats it currently does, but for it to be a more powerful device overall - and there's confirmation of Dolby Vision support from the leaks - and something that's supported by the hardware leaks. We're also expecting for HLG support.
New Chromecast: All the rumours so far
Here are all the details in chronological order for the new Chromecast.
28 September 2020: Chromecast with Google TV bought early at Home Depot
Another Redditor was able to buy the new Chromecast early in the US - this time, it was at a Home Depot, instead of Walmart.
25 September 2020: Chromecast with Google TV bought early at Walmart
Oppps! I looks like the new Chromecast was sold to a Redditor early, so all the details have now leaked out.
18 September 2020: Chromecast with Google TV leaks out: Fresh set of images shows new remote too
Fresh leaks give us a complete look at the Chromecast with Google TV.
14 September 2020: Google 'Launch Night In' event announced: Pixel 5, Nest speaker, Chromecast, more expected
Google has confirmed it will be hosting a launch event and we're expecting to see the new Chromecast launched at that event.
14 September 2020: Google Sabrina called Chromecast with Google TV by retailer, priced under $50
Various US retailers have listed the Chromecast with Google TV - suggesting that's the name - along with a compelling price.
1 September 2020: Google's Sabrina Chromecast Ultra 2 price leaked
The pricing for Sabrina becomes a little clearer as listings appear on various retail sites, showing a price of either $50 or $60.
24 August 2020: Google new 'Sabrina' Chromecast may have just hit the FCC, with its remote
The new model appears to be listed on the FCC's website, indicating that it's finalised awaiting a full launch.
26 June 2020: Developer preview of Android 11 for Android TV launched
The developer preview of Android 11 for Android TV was surprisingly released by Google and the new software confirms that a new Android TV-based dongle exists. A video within the software shows a Sabrina-style device plugged into the back of a TV, though it's only shown in outline.
Other new rumours suggest Dolby Vision support, a low-latency gaming mode (potentially to work with Stadia) and HDMI 2.1. So it would appear to be a competitor to Apple TV or Fire TV rather than a simple cast device.
15 June 2020: Google's new Android TV dongle reveals a few more secrets before launch
More details have surfaced from Sabrina code, including hardware and support for a low-latency gaming mode.
2 June 2020: Meet Sabrina: Google's new Android TV streaming device leaks out
A detailed leak has given us a good look at what to expect from Google's forthcoming device, codenamed Sabrina.
7 May 2020: Google Chromecast Ultra 2 could have remote and run Android TV
Further reports have suggested that the new Google Chromecast Ultra will run Android TV, offering a full user interface, making it a much more approachable device than previous versions. It might also move to Nest branding.
6 May 2020: Google may be rebranding Android TV to Google TV
Rumours have suggested that Google might be looking to shake-up its TV offering, renaming the Android TV system to be Google TV instead.
10 March 2020: Unidentified remote from Google passes through FCC
A remote from Google has been spotted at the FCC, assumed to be the remote for a new Chromecast Ultra.
10 March 2020: Google is planning a second-gen Chromecast Ultra with remote
Reports from 9to5Google detail that Google is planning a second-gen Chromecast Ultra including a remote. The remote will have a mic and a Google Assistant button, and the new Chromecast will also run Android TV.