Google officially announced its all-new Chromecast at today's big hardware event. It works basically the same as previous Chromecast devices — the tiny dongle plugs into your TV's HDMI port and allows you stream your favorite movies, shows and live television in 4K HDR (just like the Chromecast Ultra) — but there are a few big changes this year.
First, the all-new Chromecast comes with an actual remote for the first time. This has been the most requested Chromecast feature as previously you'd have to use your smartphone or laptop as your Chromecast remote. However, it's not just any remote — it's a voice remote. It has a dedicated button for Google Assistant that allows you to search for specific shows or apps. You can also use the Google Assistant buttons to control your other compatible smart home devices, like change the temperature of your Nest thermostat or summon a live view from your Nest smart camera. The remote has dedicated buttons for YouTube and Netflix, too. It runs on two AAA batteries.
Second, the latest Chromcast actually has a built-in Android TV operating system. This means that unlike previous Chromecast dongles, where you had to open apps and shows on your smartphone or laptop and then cast them to your TV, the all-new Chromecast is a device that can finally work on its own. You can download apps like Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus or HBO Max and access them whenever you want. In this way, the latest Chromecast feels more like one of Amazon's or Roku's streaming sticks.
And third, Google has built something called Google TV into the new Chromecast. It's essentially a new home screen that's baked into Android TV, and it organizes the shows, movies and live TV across all your different apps in one place. This way, your last streamed shows or movies appear right when you turn the Chromecast on. It's effectively the same thing that Apple TV does with its Apple TV app.
The new Chromecast is able to stream 4K content at up 60 frames per second. It supports Dolby Vision HDR, so supported shows will have more color, brightness and contrast. It also supports Dolby audio content.
The new Chromecast with Google TV costs $50 and is available for preorder today in three different colors: snow (white), sunrise (red/orange) and sky (light blue). Google will continue to sell the previous Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra, although the later will only be available as part of the Stadia Premiere Edition bundle.