Google recently announced a slew of new and exciting products at its annual event on October 4, the highlight being the Pixel smartphone. Among the trove of the new hardware unveiled was the Chromecast Ultra, Google’s latest media streaming dongle after the Chromecast 2. If you already own a Chromecast, you must be wondering- should I upgrade to the new ultra? Is it worth the price? (Chromecast Ultra costs $69, compared to the $30 price tag of the original). Let’s see how these two differ and whether an upgrade is worth it or not:
What is Chromecast?
For those who are not aware, the term ‘media streaming’ can be misleading, for the Google device is not similar to devices like Roku or Now TV. With a Chromecast, you can directly view videos from your mobile device to the television through an HDMI plug-in. That way, you can enjoy videos from Netflix or YouTube, and also access compatible apps and Chrome browser pages on a much bigger screen.
So what is this new Chromecast Ultra?
The Chromecast Ultra is an upgraded version of the original (now updated to Chromecast 2) with a cosmetic design change- there is a ‘G’ logo in place of the Chrome one. The key feature of the new model is its ability to support ultra-high definition content (4K or UHD) with a maximum resolution of 3,820 x 2,160 pixels. That means you can watch shows like Stranger Things in hair-splitting 4K detail. Also, the processing power of the Ultra is 1.8 times more than the original device, so browsing the menus or navigating through the functions should be much smoother than before. On the other hand, the standard device has a high-definition standard of 1920x 1080 pixels, usually found in most television sets.
The Chromecast Ultra also supports HDR or high dynamic range video that is normally available only in some of the high-end 4K televisions. In addition, the Ultra has Dolby Vision support but that too, can be availed only if your television has that particular feature.
What about the buffering speed?
Chance are that if you use a 4K tv, then your internet connection would also be top-speed. If your WiFi connection is up to it, you can watch 4k videos without any hassles. There is, however, yet another option of plugging the Ultra directly into the router through its Ethernet port- very useful when WiFi connectivity is a drag. The standard Chromecast does not have any Ethernet port.
Should you go for the upgrade?
It all depends whether you own a 4K TV or not. The Chromecast 2 works well on most TV sets with 720p and 1080p, and unless you are absolutely craving for 4K streaming or planning to buy a good, expensive set then you should most certainly go for the Ultra. Else the standard version will suffice. Also, if you suffer from WiFi connectivity woes, then the Ethernet port will be tremendously useful to ensure smooth video streaming.