Chromecast vs Chromecast Ultra: Are you dreaming of streaming on the bigger screen? Chromecast lets you do just that. With Google Chromecast, you can cast your mobile or tablet screen to your TV so you can view your favorite movies from your streaming apps, listen to music, or even present a slideshow. All you need to do is connect your Chromecast to your wifi network and plug it into your TV.
Using Google Chromecast is simple, but choosing between the two different devices can be difficult. What is the major difference between Chromecast vs Chromecast Ultra? We’ve rounded up everything you need to know. For more information, check out our Chromecast review.
Why Buy a Chromecast?
A Chromecast plugs into an HDMI port on your TV, A/V transceiver, or any other display that can play video and audio. Once the dongle is set up, it can mirror your mobile or system screen or receive an online stream from many Android apps or any Chrome browser. Once a stream is connected, the Chromecast takes over the connection, so only the Chromecast’s bandwidth is taken up; your phone or laptop, despite being the stream’s source, no longer uses processing devices or battery life to power it.
There are thousands of apps in Google Play and the Apple App Store, including hundreds of the most popular streaming services that are Chromecast-enabled. Google maintains a robust (but not necessarily complete) list of Chromecast-enabled apps if you want to check your favorite niche app casts.
The Chromecast, Chromecast Ultra, and Chromecast with Google TV all take Cast streams in the same way. However, the base Chromecast has a lower max video resolution and doesn’t support Dolby Vision. Neither the Chromecast nor Chromecast Ultra has a remote control or entree to Google TV apps, so you have to use your mobile as your remote and streaming library at the same time.
Chromecast vs Chromecast Ultra: What the difference?
The 3rd-generation Chromecast, released in October 2018, is an excellent option for most basic streaming setups. It supports 802.11ac wifi at both 2.4GHz and 5GHz, allowing for a good quality stream, but it does top out at 1080p resolution. The 3rd-generation Chromecast is a money-friendly choice for those who do not have a 4K TV or aren’t planning on watching a lot of 4K content.
The Chromecast Ultra, which went shelves in November 2016, gives higher performance and is equipped to handle 4K HDR streaming with a solid internet connection. It supports the same 802.11ac wifi at both 2.4GHz and 5GHz as the 3rd-gen Chromecast and has some additional antennas to help with latency and higher performance streaming. For situations where a router or a Google wifi mesh is nearby, the Chromecast Ultra comes with an ethernet adapter in the box so you can hardwire the device to your network, delivering you the best connection possible. This adapter is available to buy for the 3rd-gen Chromecast if you want a more stable connection, but the stream will still be capped at 1080p.
Which Should You Buy?
If you are in the business of a streaming device right now, I recommend the Chromecast Ultra. For the extra money, you will essentially future-proof your setup. When it was first released, it didn’t make sense to splurge on the more expensive option, but as more streaming content is made available in 4K and 4K TVs’ price continues to decrease, the Chromecast Ultra has become the better purchase.
If you are interested in Stadia, Google’s new game streaming platform, then the Chromecast Ultra is currently the only option for streaming games to your TV. Robby has speculated that the 3rd-gen Chromecast might also be maintained in the future. Still, if you are interested in the Stadia Pro subscription and want 4K/60fps, the Chromecast Ultra is your only option.
The streaming landscape is advancing to evolve, and with the Chromecast Ultra, you will be ready to take full advantage of higher resolution content. You will happy you spent the extra money. In the end, the Chromecast Ultra merely is more capable and will give you a better long-term streaming solution.
Chromecast vs Chromecast Ultra features
When it comes to Chromecast vs Chromecast Ultra, there are more differences than you might first think. Both devices still look aesthetically identical, with the small, compact circular design we’re familiar with. However, Chromecast Ultra gives a few new features that Chromecast can’t, including faster speeds and the ability to stream in 4K ultra-high-definition (UHD) quality.
The ability to view in 4K is the principal difference between Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra. With the older Chromecast model, you can only stream in 1080p (high definition), but Chromecast Ultra allows 2160p (UHD) streaming.
You can only stream your preferred movies and shows in UHD if you have a TV that supports 4K viewing. You also need to make sure you have the required internet speed, an HDMI port that supports high-bandwidth digital content protection (HDCP) and 60 frames per second (FPS), and a high-speed HDMI cable. If you don’t meet any one of these requirements, you won’t be able to stream in 4K with your Chromecast Ultra.
You can also view content in 4K high-dynamic-range (HDR) quality with your Chromecast Ultra, as long as you have an HDR-compatible TV. Recognize, not all 4K TVs offer HDR streaming, so it’s not guaranteed.
[wps_faq style=”classic” question=”Q: Is a Chromecast Ultra worth it?”]A: For the extra money, you will essentially future-proof your setup. When it was first released, it didn’t make sense to splurge on the more expensive option, but as more streaming content is made available in 4K and 4K TVs’ price continues to decrease, the Chromecast Ultra has become the better purchase.[/wps_faq][wps_faq style=”classic” question=”Q: Which Chromecast is the best?”]A: Chromecast (3rd gen) The Chromecast Ultra remains the only device that lets you stream Stadia games on your television. It can also figure any content in 4K HDR and Dolby Vision. [/wps_faq][wps_faq style=”classic” question=”Q: Is Chromecast Ultra discontinued?”]A: Google’s new $50 Chromecast with Google TV has supplanted the Chromecast Ultra in substantially every way. So you apparently won’t be surprised to hear Google is getting rid of its original 4K streaming device.[/wps_faq][wps_faq style=”classic” question=”Q: Does Chromecast Ultra work on non-4k TVs?”]A: The Chromecast you require if you don’t need 4K video. It’s the very easy-to-use Chromecast as the Chromecast Ultra, just without 4K video and with a cheaper price tag. It’s as simple as that.[/wps_faq]