Google unveils the Chromecast Ultra with 4K UHD streaming and HDR support

by on October 4, 2016

Stephan Jukic – October 4, 2016

After weeks of rumors and leaks about its specs and appearance, Google’s new Chromecast Ultra has finally gotten its reveal, and right on the date suggested.

Google used its Pixel event on the 4th of October to announce the upcoming Chromecast Ultra, a 4K streaming media thumb drive that secedes the original and purely HD Chromecast from late 2015. The new version will be able to stream 4K ultra HD content from YouTube, Netflix, and Vudu right after its launch and it supports high dynamic range in both the HDR10 and Dolby Vision formats.

Google’s own Google Play Movies service will also be coming to the Chromecast Ultra’s menu of content options in November.

According to the company, this new Chromecast is the fastest version they’ve released yet and it loads video 1.8 times more quickly than the older Chromecast due to an improved internal WiFi structure for connectivity. Google is thus saying that the new version is ideal for consumers whether or not they have a 4K UHD TV.


The Chromecast Ultra, which looks pretty much as the most recent published leaks predicted it would, will also come with an Ethernet port in the power adapter for users whose WiFi connections aren’t robust enough for streaming video in 4K resolution.

The new device is basically a small flat circular gadget with a sort of hockey puck shape and the black color to match. However, now instead of the Chrome badge of the previous Chromecast, it sports only a small “G” logo and comes with an attached HDMI 2.0 cord for easy concealment behind your TV. Content can still be mirrored from other Android devices like phones and tablets.  The new Chromecast will also be fully compatible with Google Home when the latter device goes on sale.

The old Chromecast compared to the more minimalist 4K model

The old Chromecast compared to the more minimalist 4K model

Google is however charging more money for this new toy of theirs. Unlike the older Chromecast, which cost just around $35 dollars, the new model is selling for a fairly pricey (for a streaming media thumb drive) $69 to U.S customers. This is certainly not a price that will put off numerous fans of Google streaming technology but it might look a bit steep for consumers who are on the fence about which device to pick. For example, the new Roku Premiere 4K set-top box with HDR sells for just $10 more and offers a more robust overall package than the Chromecast Ultra, and then there’s Amazon’s 4K Fire TV and even rumors of a new Apple TV device coming in the last months of 2016 as possible contenders against the Chromecast Ultra.

However, we can all at least be happy that the new thumb drive from Google means yet another 4K content platform on the market and in this case conveniently perhaps the most compact such device yet unveiled.

The release date for the Chromecast Ultra is November for the U.S it should soon be available in another 16 countries worldwide as well.

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  • NGR
    October 4, 2016 at 9:34 pm

    Yay! Ho hoo! Yippe! 4K UHD on Chromecast!!!

    Wait.. where is the content??


  • Ben Ballard
    October 5, 2016 at 1:02 am

    I don’t understand why Google has released a 4K Chromecast. The whole point of Chromecast was to convert “dumb” TVs into “Smart” TVs. This doesn’t apply to a 4K Chromecast, as you can’t view 4K content on a Dumb TV, you can’t view 4K content on an HD Smart TV either. Those that have 4K content viewing capabilities already have HDR 10 and/or Dolby Vision , and so already have an all singing all dancing 4K TV anyway. So this makes this device null and void and ultimately pointless.


    • Aron F.
      October 6, 2016 at 7:46 pm

      I think it fills a niche for those unfortunate few, like myself, who were early adopters of 4k TVs that were non-android OS, or for the even fewer 4k TV’s that are not ‘smart’. I know that I will be buying one right away, as the Sony Bravia that I bought will most likely never receive an update, firmware or OS, that would improve its usability. I know there are many other 4k set-top boxes or 4k devices that do very similar tasks, but not all of those are as easy and seamless to use as my 1st-gen Chromecast.


  • NPSF3000
    October 6, 2016 at 11:47 am

    @Ben Ballard. I have a 4K LG OLED, and it’s screaming for the simplicity of Chrome-cast for occasional tab casting, phone/laptop casting ‘remote control’ (ala vizio) and also for integration with google home.


  • Dan Beaulard
    October 9, 2016 at 7:16 am

    4K is useful also for non 4K-tv’s: when you watch a video on YouTube in 4K it has a higher bitrate than the same vid in 1080p. That’s why I always select the 4K option if applicable – even though my monitor is quad-HD, not ultra-HD.

    Furthermore, the functionality of ‘smart’ tv’s if often limited by userinterface whereas with the chromecast you can simply select on your phone or tablet and drag to the Chromecast which will take over. Smart features on tv’s also have a tendency not to be updated by the tv’s manufacturer, so that after a year or two many features will no longer work because it’s not updated.

    So i guess Google understands this a lot better than Ben Ballard does with his null and void and ultimately pointless comment.


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