Chromecast Ultra ups the ante with 4K and HDR

Google’s little streamer goes bigger than ever on pixels and power

It’s a fresh version of the original streaming dongle!

That’s right, my friend – Google just announced the Chromecast Ultra and, as the name suggests, this ain’t just another dinky streamer to plug into the back of your telly. This one does 4K and HDR, placing it firmly in the "high performance" category.

But don’t most 4K TVs already come with some 4K apps built in?

Some do, but they won’t offer the breadth and depth of content accessible via Chromecast Ultra. Not only can this thing tap into Netflix and YouTube for Ultra HD videos, it can access any compatible third-party apps that pop up in the future. Your smart TV probably won’t be able to match that.

But other than that, it’s the same as the existing Chromecast?

Nope – it’s has been given a performance boost to match that image quality boost. Think a faster processor and the option to connect via Ethernet, all the better to ensure your 4K streams don’t suffer from stuttering.

But on the other hand yes, in many ways it’s similar to existing Chromecasts in that you control it using your phone or tablet – any supported app will feature a Chromecast button that, when pressed, will put its content up on your TV screen. You can also mirror the screen of any Android device, or any laptop using Chrome.

It’s also controllable with the upcoming Google Home speaker, so you’ll be able to open apps and choose stuff to watch by simply speaking your commands into the air. What a glorious world we live in…

And it’s out soon?

You can register your interest and get on the waiting list for a Chromecast Ultra at the Google Store now, and it’ll cost you US$79 at launch – a hefty premium on the regular Chromecast, perhaps, but given all the extra power and pixels, it might well be worth the outlay.