The rumors are true: Google has released a new, more affordable version of its Chromecast devices, but it costs some features found on older models.
Nicknamed Chromecast with Google TV (HD), hunches of this new device have emerged recently with some reports speculating that the company is expanding hardware support to non-4K TVs. And sure enough, that’s what’s happening. This new HD Chromecast (opens in new tab) it’s essentially a toned down version of the 2020 model that supports 4K HDR streaming and multiple Dolby video formats.
On the surface, the new device looks identical to the older model as all changes are internal.
For $29.99, HD Chromecast lets you stream content in 1080p resolution (1920×1080 pixels) at 60FPS. Support for 4K resolution is gone and so is Dolby Vision, an HDR (High Dynamic Range) format that allows for brighter colors and deeper blacks. The new device supports HDR10 and HDR10+ which are not as robust as Dolby Vision, but still improve visual fidelity. Memory has also been downgraded as the Chromecast HD has 1.5GB of RAM compared to the 2GB of RAM found in the 4K version.
What hasn’t gone are the Dolby audio features (opens in new tab). Dolby Digital, Digital Plus and the atmospheres (opens in new tab) audio format are still present in Chromecast HD. Dolby Digital and Digital Plus, for those who don’t know, are compression technologies that help the device to produce high quality audio without losing fidelity. Dolby Atmos, on the other hand, is a format that replicates spatial sound for a more immersive experience. Atmos is present via HDMI pass-through, so you’ll need the right equipment, like a soundbar that supports the format.
The Chromecast HD package is split into the dongle itself, which you can directly connect to a TV via the HDMI cable and a remote.
On that remote you’ll find the same navigation circle present on the 4K model, as well as some dedicated buttons for opening YouTube, Netflix and accessing Google Assistant. The remote also comes with voice control to give the Assistant a command. You can even, according to Google, check a Nest Doorbell device’s video feed via Chromecast HD.
O Chromecast with Google TV (HD) (opens in new tab) is now available for purchase at the company store, but only in Snow White. Australians will have to pay a little more, however. In Australia, the device costs $59 AUD, which is about $40 USD.
Renewing Google TV
The launch of Chromecast HD comes at an interesting time as Google updates its Google TV service.
Back on August 22, the company admitted that its service didn’t perform at its best and has been trying to fix that ever since. A recent update brought improved storage management and a performance boost. The company claims that Google TV has over 10,000 apps on it.
There are also Rumors circulating about Google TV getting 50 extra channels live TV with the need for an extra subscription. Considering how the Chromecast HD started as a rumor and the newfound interest, the 50 channels could become a reality.
The performance of an HD-only Chromecast in a market where 4K TVs are quickly becoming the standard remains to be seen. For those looking for a streaming bargain, however, it might just be the ticket.
Be sure to check out ‘s review of the HD Chromecast’s big brother, the 2020 4K HDR model (We liked a lot).