Google’s Chromecast is one of best streaming players on the market, not to mention one of the most inexpensive. In November, the device will be getting a significant upgrade, and a significant price hike to go along with it. Google Chromecast Ultra will stream content in full 4K resolution with HDR and Dolby Vision support, but doing so will drive the cost up to $69 rather than $35.
Viewers got their first glimpse of the Chromecast Ultra at the Made By Google conference today (Oct. 4), and the device seems about as straightforward as streaming players get. Visually, it’s nearly identical to a full HD Chromecast, featuring a small circular dongle with a flexible HDMI cable. The only major physical difference is that it offers support for Ethernet connections – potentially quite useful if you need high bandwidth for UHD content.
Otherwise, the Chromecast Ultra will support the same wide range of channels as its full HD counterpart, including Netflix, YouTube and Vudu. However, Chromecast Ultra will support 4K content from those channels. The device will also channel HDR and Dolby Vision protocols for a superior range of color. Better still: Google Play Movies will begin offering 4K content to stream in November, which is also when the Chromecast Ultra will launch.
Google played coy about what lies under the Chromecast Ultra’s hood, but the company did mention that it will load content about 1.8 times faster than the current device, and will stay on Wi-Fi networks more reliably. This is something we’ll have to test for ourselves, but it’s a reasonable upgrade that goes beyond simple resolution.
While the Chromecast Ultra doesn’t sound like it has much to offer users with 1080p TVs, it could be a boon for people with 4K TVs who don’t want to dish out $100 or more for a streaming accessory. Tom’s Guide will have a full review when the product ships next month.