Google is working on a lower-end Chromecast with Google TV that would slot in below its current model in price — and also video resolution. According to Protocol’s Janko Roettgers, the upcoming, cheaper Chromecast will run the same Google TV software as the existing hardware and will still include a remote control. But it will be limited to a maximum of 1080p video quality.
Playing to that limitation, Protocol believes Google might market the device as “Chromecast HD with Google TV,” similar to the branding of Apple’s Apple TV HD. The product would be marketed towards consumers with 1080p TVs who don’t necessarily care about having the very best picture quality. Other specs mentioned in the report include a maximum of 2GB RAM and 60fps frame rate and confirmation that the hardware would be capable of decoding Google’s preferred AV1 codec.
With the 2020 Chromecast with Google TV priced at $49.99, potential price points for the HD version could range anywhere from $19.99 to $39.99. The entry-level streaming hardware market is fiercely competitive, with multiple models to choose between from Amazon and Roku alone; clearly, Google wants in on that pool of potential customers.
The only thing that would give me pause about a lower-end Chromecast with Google TV would be performance. The current model can already get bogged down from time to time, so, hopefully, Google can deliver a device that sacrifices resolution without ruining the day-to-day experience of browsing streaming recommendations and apps.
This new Chromecast HD with Google TV would likely replace the aging, older-generation Chromecast that Google continues to sell for $29.99 — despite it coming without any built-in entertainment apps or a remote. Like its predecessors, the standard Chromecast relies on users to stream content from another device like their smartphone or PC to the HDMI dongle. Google TV is a much simpler approach that offers a vast app store, voice search, Google Assistant integration, and more.