New Google TV device sold before launch date

Google TV brings a new interactive menu to refreshed Chromecast devices for the first time. (Photo: Google/Handout)

Tech giant Google announced a handful of new streaming devices on Wednesday, including a streaming television dongle with a remote and a refreshed Android TV interface.

The refreshed Chromecast was hardly a secret — information about the device had been leaking out for months, including the internal code name “Sabrina” that was used during the development of the device. Even more interesting, some intrepid social media users figured out how to get their device, formally known as Chromecast with Google TV, well before it was announced by the company.

Last week, several Reddit and Twitter users said they were able to purchase the $50 streaming TV dongle at a handful of brick-and-mortar Home Depot and Walmart stores where the gadget was apparently put on store shelves days before it was supposed to go on sale.

A handful of users said they were able to purchase the device for between $50 and $60 with no problems and posted screen shots of store receipts that said the dongle was being sold under its internal code name Sabrina.

Some social media posters said they drove to several stores before finding the device available for purchase, only to be turned away at the register because Google had placed a “product recall” on the gadget.

On Wednesday, Google finally announced the device, which will be sold for a retail price of $50 and shipped under the brand name Chromecast with Google TV. The “Google TV” part relates to a refreshed, interactive dashboard that allows users to install and sort through various streaming apps and other types of software similar to other devices marketed by Roku, Amazon and Apple TV.

The device also comes bundled with a voice-controlled remote that relies upon the Google Assistant to carry out tasks like searching for movies, pulling up sports scores and turning on and off smart-connected lights and appliances.

Chromecast with Google TV is a departure from the company’s other streaming TV devices which require “casting” video and other media from apps installed on separate smartphones, tablets and computers. But it’s still a Chromecast at heart, and users are able to cast media just the same as they would on lower-cost devices.

The device is available in three colors — blue (sky), pink (sunrise) and white (snow) — but as of Wednesday evening, the blue and pink variants were sold out on Google’s own website.