Google’s Chromecast devices have been offering a small, affordable, and simple way to stream media content to televisions since the first model was introduced in 2013. But Google shook things up a bit in 2020 by launching Chromecast with Google TV – it was the company’s first media streamer to come with a remote rather than relying on your phone or other device for controls. And it brought the brand new Google TV user interface.

At $50, the Chromecast with Google TV is still a reasonably affordable way to stream internet video to a TV. But at a time when Amazon, Roku, Walmart, and others are all offering models that cost half as much, it looks like Google is preparing a more affordable option.

Chromecast with Google TV (original)

A few days after 9to5Google first reported that a new Chromecast device was in the works, Protocol’s Janko Roettgers has obtained details “from a source with close knowledge” of Google’s plans.

Keep in mind that nothing is official until Google actually launches the product. It’s possible that the information may be inaccurate or just premature – even if Google is planning to launch a lower-cost Chromecast, that doesn’t mean the company will actually do it. That said, here’s what Roettgers has found out about the new device so far:

  • It’s code-named “Boreal,” but the actual name could be something like “Chromecast HD with Google TV.”
  • Boreal is expected to have an Amlogic S805X2 processor with ARM Mali-G31 graphics, 2GB of RAM (or less).
  • It would support the AV1 video codec, but top out at 1080p video resolutions streaming at up to 60 frames per second.

By comparison, the $50 Chromecast with Google TV (which was code-named “Sabrina” before launch) can handle 4K/60 fps video playback, but it doesn’t support hardware-accelerated AV1 video decoding. Google seems to have recently begun adding a 4K label to the packaging this model comes in, which could help differentiate it from an upcoming 1080p or HD model.

According to a follow-up report from Android Police, the new model is also expected to ship with software based on Android 12. The older 4K model currently runs Android 10, although it’s possible Google could roll out a software update for that model by the time it’s ready to release the new Chromecast HD with Google TV.

There’s no word on when Google plans to launch the new, cheaper model although likely possibilities could include the company’s annual Google I/O developer conference (which typically takes place in May) or fall hardware launch event (which is usually in October) although it’s also possible that the company could introduce the new model at pretty much any random time, since it doesn’t seem like a major update to the company’s hardware lineup.

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  1. Here in the UK the current chromecast is £59.99 which at the current conversion rate equates to approximately $80 so much more expensive than the opposition

  2. Bad news is, it will only stream “Bones”, “Angel”, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Gattaca”