The Cheaper HD Chromecast Is Most likely All You Want


A photo of the Chromecast with Google TV's remote

The Chromecast with Google TV HD is the baseline first-party Google TV dongle.
Photograph: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Google has two Chromecast with Google TV dongles available on the market, which look an identical. However the first model, which is available in three colours, is technically the outdated one with 4K capabilities, whereas the new model was launched a month in the past and tops out at 1080p. There’s a $20 value distinction between the 2.

Save your cash and purchase the newer, cheaper model of the Chromecast with Google TV that simply got here out. Most folk will get away with the $30 HD model. In the event you’re not paying to stream 4K content material, there’s no want for the $50 dongle that does. I’ve been utilizing each variations of the Chromecast with Google TV for a few month, and I’ve hardly observed a distinction in efficiency between the 2 since I solely stream HD content material.

4K versus HD

There’s a helpful Google assist web page detailing the variations between the Chromecast with Google TV 4K and HD. However first, the similarities: They plug in through HDMI and assist HDR 10, HDR 10+, and HLG, one other HDR format floating on the market. Each gadgets additionally assist Dolby Atmos, Bluetooth, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi connections.

A photo of the new vs. old Chromecast remotes

What can I say? A white distant in a home with a younger child is a grime magnet.
Photograph: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

The 2 Chromecasts look the identical, all the way down to Google’s iconic distant (a leftover from its digital actuality days). Each my Chromecasts are within the “snow white” coloration, and the white remotes confused me. After a more in-depth look, I noticed the 4K model’s distant has yellowed-out buttons—the one I’ve had across the longest. That’s one thing to remember in regards to the longevity of this distant.

Show decision is the primary distinction between the 2 Chromecast with Google TV dongles. The unique Chromecast with Google TV helps 4K content material as much as 60 frames per second, the HD model stops at 1080p. The Chromecast with Google TV HD doesn’t have Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR both, whereas the Chromecast with Google TV 4K doesn’t assist AV1 video decoding.

The HD model of the Chromecast with Google TV has a tiny bit extra storage onboard than its predecessor—about 300MB price. That storage can assist with knowledge caching and squeezing in an additional streaming app. Most Google TV apps are across the hundred-megabyte vary in dimension.

Efficiency between 4K and HD

The 2 dongles look and act alike, regardless of the variations of their processors. The Chromecast with Google TV 4K has a barely extra succesful processor than the HD model. The latter is a little bit of an older chip, but it surely’s coupled with 1.5 GB of reminiscence, which helps it sustain with the 4K model, which has 2GB.

I carried out a while assessments between the 4K and HD gadgets to see if the expertise was discernable between the 2. I observed some stuttering whereas utilizing Google Assistant voice instructions on the Chromecast with Google TV HD.

A photo of the back room lights command on Google TV

The Assistant on Google TV is useful, however the HD model does take a second earlier than returning to playback.
Photograph: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

It turned out that was the one half that indicated I used to be on the marginally lower-specced HD model, and I solely encountered it whereas watching dwell TV. I hate having the backroom gentle on as a result of it creates glare, however I additionally hate shouting on the good show throughout the room. As Google intends, I take advantage of the Chromecast with Google TV distant to inform the Assistant to show off the lights. On the HD model of the dongle, the dwell feed pauses for a short second. I didn’t expertise this with the 4K model, and that’s most likely as a result of it has extra RAM.

In addition to that, the 2 Chromecasts carried out the identical with each different function I examined. That included catching up on my DVR library and casting Beverly Hills, 90210 from the Pluto TV app on my smartphone. I’m not presently working profiles on my Chromecasts, so I solely examined it with my important consumer account.

Do you pay for 4K content material?

After a few month of testing, I forgot that I had two dongles plugged into my 32-inch TV and defaulted to the HD model each time. For a state of affairs like this, the place you’re introducing clever TV performance to an HD-only “dumb TV,” you solely want the $30 Chromecast with Google TV. You would possibly even discover it on sale through the purchasing seasons, which might make it across the similar value as a few of Wal-Mart’s home model streaming sticks. The Onn model runs Google TV, however I want the first-party Google TV expertise over the third-party one. Google is frequently pushing updates to Google TV and software program rollouts are usually delayed for third-party gadgets.

In the event you pay for 4K content material—whether or not by way of Netflix or YouTube TV’s add-on package deal—you’re most likely paying for quicker web with increased bandwidth allotment and need to get your cash’s price. However you don’t need to default to the Chromecast with Google TV 4K just because it’s the choice talked about right here. If you have already got one, keep it up. If not, there are different platforms to think about. For example, Amazon’s Hearth TV Stick 4K Max helps Av1 decoding, which is a format receiving some buzz for its bandwidth effectivity. It’s additionally not shutting down its Luna cloud gaming service if that’s one thing you’ve been that means to attempt in your TV.

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