Chromecast with Google TV HD is official and available now

In a somewhat strange move, Google officially announced the new Chromecast with Google TV HD and make it widely available today. The new Chromecast comes in at $29.99, which is cheaper than the current Chromecast with Google TV and does a few things differently than its predecessor. Overall, the story of this device comes down to the price tag, and $29.99 is a good one to start with. In the end, I’m still puzzled by this version.

Let’s get the facts out first. This Chromecast HD device produces a 1080p signal versus the previous Chromecast (which is still available) with Google TV 4K output. It has slightly less RAM at 1.5GB versus the original 2GB and the storage stays the same at 8GB. And the processor is a bit less capable than the 4K model, too. This is a long list of discounts, and as I write this, you can get the first generation version for $40-50 at many retailers.

If you take a look at the spec sheet, it’s easy to dismiss this new version of Google’s Chromecast pretty quickly, but I still hope it’s suitable for quite a few people for several reasons. there upgrades With that’s a device to keep in mind, so let’s talk to them before dismissing this slightly degraded Chromecast.

New OS version 12

First , This new Chromecast works on Android / Google TV 12 out of the box. We’ll have our unit on hand later today, but I doubt this will mean any major differences in appearance or user interface. What it could mean is improved performance and a smoother experience across the board. It’s not yet confirmed, but the current Chromecast with Google TV runs Google TV 10, so this version is two years ahead of what we’re currently offering.

Better update capabilities

While performance should be better – even with a less capable processor and slightly less RAM – One part of Google TV 12 that is undoubtedly the best is the update process. With this version of the OS, Google can update it across storage partitions rather than relying on user-facing storage, meaning that your Chromecast will actually be able to get bigger OS updates in the future, unlike the current Chromecast 4K that is still Stuck on Android 10.

decoder AV1

Although it is less powerful, the new processor in Chromecast with Google TV HD has a trick that the original can’t claim: AV1 decoding. AV1 is a newer, more efficient codec with higher quality video streaming than the current H.264 standard that the original Chromecast relies on. For example, YouTube has been pushing for this codec to be handled natively by hardware partners recently, so it really looks like AV1 may become the standard in the future.

Less accuracy, more speed

Finally, this may not be an advantage, but It will undoubtedly be a positive aspect of Google’s decision to stick with the HD version of Chromecast. No matter how you slice it, 4K is inherently more stressful on the processor than standard HD. We see it all the time with Chromebooks: when screen resolutions go up, performance goes down. It’s a simple math and when you force the CPU to push more pixels, every single task becomes more intense.

With a lower resolution, the new Chromecast will have a much lower burden to manage with both the user interface and video playback. And with many consumers still waiting to make the transition to 4K or not too concerned about everything being as high-resolution as possible, 1080p may end up being enough for many of them for at least the next few years.

However, the move to launch an affordable Chromecast with Google TV option two full years after the original release is odd. If the two of them got close to each other, I would understand that. But in late 2022, I feel we’ve reached the point where this device should be released alongside an updated Chromecast 4K with more memory, a better CPU, and more RAM. Without this option, the lineup seems out of the ordinary to me, and it doesn’t make much sense until you see the sale prices (which we know are coming) this Chromecast with Google TV HD come in at under $20.

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