Google ends support for original Chromecast — see if you need to upgrade

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The original Google Chromecast was a game-changer when it launched. The tiny streaming device allowed you to mirror your screen directly to your TV at a time when that wasn’t a common feature and frankly made screen mirroring a must-have addition for the best TVs ever since. But unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.

Google has officially ended support for the first generation of the Chromecast. In fact, support for the original actually ended back in April with one last update — firmware version 1.36.159268 that covered minor bug fixes and improvements. But the announcement was buried in firmware release notes so it was only discovered in the past 24 hours (h/t 9to5Google).

This isn’t the first hint we’ve had that this day was coming. Sales of the original streaming dongle stopped in 2015 and in 2019 Google announced it would no longer add features to the streaming device. And if you’re like me and still own your original Chromecast, chances are you eventually upgraded — I took advantage of a Black Friday deal to get the Chromecast Ultra. But still, it's sad to see the OG finally be put to rest. 

Will my Chromecast stop working?


(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Practically speaking, if you still use a first-generation Chromecast it’s time to upgrade. While Google ending support for the streaming dongle doesn’t mean it will no longer work, Google says that “Users may notice a degradation in performance.” Once that starts, it’ll be nearly impossible to fix since Google no longer provides technical support, so it’s better to upgrade now before you’re forced to.

Especially since Chromecasts can be vulnerable to malicious actors. While not a common occurrence, there have been instances in the past where Chromecasts have become a security threat to users. We even covered one back in 2018 where Chromecasts told potential hackers where you live, which opened up your home network to unwanted access from outsiders. This was patched by Google, but if it happens again, the first-generation Chromecast will no longer get a fix. 

Which Chromecast should I upgrade to?

The Chromecast with Google TV remote in front of a TV displaying a Barry ad

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey / Tom's Guide)

While Roku devices currently hold our top two spots among the best streaming devices we’ve tested, there’s a clear winner among the Google Chromecast options at number three. The Chromecast with Google TV 4K is an excellent choice if you’re replacing your original Chromecast thanks to an included remote along with the addition of Google Assistant and the Google TV smart TV user interface.

You could also upgrade your TV so that you have Chromecast built-in without needing an extra dongle. We have a selection of highly rated TVs with Chromecast built-in that we’ve tested and are worthy of consideration for anyone upgrading their TV. We also have a guide on the best Google TVs we’ve tested, all of which have Chromecast built-in. Either way, you can’t go wrong. 

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Malcolm McMillan
Senior Streaming Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.

Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.