There’s mounting evidence that Google is preparing to launch a Chromecast HD device which will be positioned as a cheaper alternative to the company’s Chromecast with Google TV.
According to a series of recent leaks, the new model will top out at 1080p video streaming instead of 4K and have slightly less powerful hardware. But it could feature at least one key upgrade. 9/22/2022 Update: The Chromecast with Google TV (HD) is official, and it’s now available for purchase for $30.
Rumors about the new model have been circulating for a while, but in the past few days documents and pictures have shown up at Anatel, Brazil’s wireless regulator agency and Kuba Wojciechowski has taken a peak at leaked firmware that indicates some of the key features of the upcoming “Chromecast HD,” including the fact that Google is giving the new media streamer that name (or at least using it internally).
According to firmware from July, here’s what we can expect from the new Chromecast HD:
- Amlogic S805X2 processor
- 1.5 GB RAM
- WiFi 5 & BT 5.2 (NXP 88W8987 chip)
- A remote control that looks similar to the original model
The processor is a quad-core ARM Cortex-A35 chip with ARM Mali-G31 MP2 graphics and support for hardware-accelerated AV1 video decoding.
It’s a downgrade in most respects from the Amlogic S905X3 (quad-core Cortex-A55 chip with Mali-G31 MP2 graphics) chip used for the original Chromecast with Google TV. The new model also has 25% less RAM (the 4K version has 2GB).
But there are at least two significant improvements to the new model:
- Support for AV1 video decoding
- Support for A/B partitions, allowing for streamlined firmware updates
Since the original Chromecast has just 8GB of storage and no A/B partition scheme, sometimes it will fail to install operating system updates if a user has too many apps or other data on the device, because there’s not enough room to download the update to local storage.
The Chromecast HD appears to have storage partition that’s just for updates and which cannot be used for any user data, so that shouldn’t be a problem with the new model.