After months of rumors, the Chromecast with Google TV HD has arrived, providing you with entry to Google’s slick streaming TV system for $30.
That’s $20 lower than the present mannequin (now dubbed the Chromecast with Google TV 4K), with the brand new machine’s greatest trade-offs being a most decision of 1080p and a scarcity of Dolby Atmos decoding. The 2 streaming dongles in any other case look an identical, and even ship with the very same distant management.
Whereas 4K has turn into the usual decision for many new TVs, loads of people nonetheless have older HD units which may profit from a plug-in streaming machine, both as a result of their good TV software program is horribly outdated, or as a result of they haven’t any smarts in any respect. With Roku and Amazon each charging $30 for his or her Roku Categorical and Fireplace TV Stick Lite dongles respectively, Google lastly has a funds HD video mannequin to match (and with a greater distant as well).
Chromecast with Google TV: HD vs. 4K
Similar to the 4K mannequin, the Chromecast with Google TV HD plugs into your TV’s HDMI port, offering its personal menu system for accessing companies similar to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. Its diminutive distant has a directional pad; residence and again buttons; Google Assistant voice controls; shortcut buttons for Netflix and YouTube; and controls for TV quantity, energy, and enter. That final level is notable as a result of neither Roku nor Amazon supply TV controls on their very own $30 streamers.
The menu system is identical as effectively, with an emphasis on content material over apps. Whilst you can launch straight into Netflix and different companies, Google TV’s residence display has its personal suggestions on what to look at. It additionally permits you to add reveals right into a unified watchlist, and it has a “Proceed Watching” row to assist choose up the place you left off from varied companies.
Jared Newman / Foundry
So how precisely is the HD mannequin totally different from its pricier sibling? A handful of the way:
It has a most decision of 1080p at 60 frames per second.
It doesn’t assist Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR (although HDR, HDR10+, and HLG are supported).
It doesn’t assist Dolby Atmos audio decoding (although Atmos passthrough is supported for apps that enable it).
It solely is available in white, so no “Dawn” pink or “Sky” blue.
The dongle has an “HD” engraved on the again, to assist distinguish it from the 4K model.
Solely the brand new HD mannequin helps the AV1 codec, which could enable companies similar to Netflix to devour much less bandwidth whereas streaming.
As for the worth, notice that the 4K model is at the moment out there with three months of HBO Max for $65, successfully chopping the machine value to $20 for brand spanking new subscribers. That supply received’t be prolonged to the HD Chromecast, although patrons of each fashions can nonetheless redeem six months of Peacock Premium (usually $5 per 30 days) at no additional cost.
Remember additionally that the Chromecast with Google TV 4K incessantly goes on sale for $40. We’ll must see if the HD mannequin will get its personal reductions to maintain tempo with the likes of Roku and Amazon, whose personal streamers typically promote for lower than the sticker value.
Chromecast is useless, lengthy dwell Chromecast
The launch of the Chromecast with Google TV marks the tip of the highway for Google’s traditional Chromecast dongles, which didn’t include a distant and required you to launch movies by means of streaming apps in your smartphone or pill. Google says it’s going to solely proceed to promote the outdated Chromecast whereas provides final.
Except you see deep reductions on these older Chromecasts, you’re higher off choosing the brand new model, which prices the identical at $30 and presents a correct distant and on-screen menu system. Similar to the traditional Chromecast, the brand new mannequin nonetheless helps casting, so you should use your cellphone because the distant if that’s your desire.
Completely offloading the controls to your cellphone was an excellent concept again when streaming gamers and good TVs have been sluggish and clunky. Lately, even the most cost effective streaming units really feel quick and fluid—Google’s personal latest efficiency enhancements have helped on that entrance—so finally it’s time to maneuver on.
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