Google releases cheaper version of Android TV streaming device

The Chromecast with Google TV HD looks the same as the flagship Chromecast with Google TV, but has fewer internal bells and whistles.
The Chromecast with Google TV HD looks the same as the flagship Chromecast with Google TV, but has fewer internal bells and whistles. (Courtesy image, Graphic by The Desk)

After months of unconfirmed reports and leaked images, Google has finally debuted the cheaper version of its flagship Chromecast with Google TV streaming device.

The Chromecast with Google TV HD formally replaces the third-generation Google Chromecast puck. It offers access to high-definition video through apps downloaded from the Google Play Store, and supports most popular services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, YouTube, HBO Max, Paramount Plus and Apple TV.

Like the older-model Chromecast with Google TV, the Chromecast with Google TV HD comes with a remote control that allows users to navigate through the Google TV home screen and its various apps without having to “cast” content from their phones or tablets. But the option to cast content is still available for streamers who want to stream something from an app without having to download it to the device.

The Chromecast with Google TV HD is priced at $30, about $20 cheaper than the 4K-capable model, which costs $50. It comes in one color — white — compared to the three color options of the 4K model (white, blue and pink).

Early reviews of the Chromecast with Google TV HD suggest Google used cheaper, less-powerful internal hardware in order to make the device cheaper to buy. A benchmark test conducted by the technology blog AFTV News found that the Chromecast with Google TV HD was about 75 percent as powerful as the fully-featured, but more expensive, Chromecast with Google TV.

The tests put the Chromecast with Google TV HD on par with the Android-powered Xiaomi Mii Box S, which costs twice as much as the Chromecast with Google TV HD, but below Walmart’s Onn-branded Android TV 4K box, which is priced $10 less than the Chromecast with Google TV HD. It was also beaten in power by the Amazon’s cheapest Fire TV Stick Lite, which retails for $30 but is frequently offered on sale for as little as $15.

Still, the Chromecast with Google TV HD has some redeeming qualities: It’s the first Google TV-powered streaming device to come with Android 12 out of the box, while the higher-priced, 4K-capable Chromecast with Google TV shipped with Android 10. It also offers support for high-dynamic range (HDR) content and comes with a six-month free trial of Comcast’s streaming service, Peacock.

The Chromecast with Google TV HD is available to purchase today at Best Buy, Walmart and Amazon.