Google has a cheaper version of its Chromecast with Google TV in the pipeline, and more details about it are starting to leak. Pictures of a prototype device have been published last week, and there are apparently no differences from the existing 4K model. However, the specs of this cheaper Chromecast HD could be quite different.
On Twitter, developer Kuba Wojciechowski shared details about what he claims to be an internal firmware of the upcoming Chromecast device (via 9to5Google). The build the developer obtained mentions the “Chromecast HD” branding, and it also reveals that the device will run Android 12 with the same Google TV UI that already runs on the Chromecast with Google TV (The latter is still stuck on Android 10).
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As expected, the device sports an Amlogic S805X2 with support for AV1 decoding. The SoC is a considerable downgrade from the S905X3 in the 4K model (except the AV1 decoding). pic.twitter.com/U2gCAFiLg8
— Kuba Wojciechowski⚡ (@Za_Raczke) September 12, 2022
The developer also said that this new Chromecast HD will come with a less powerful Amlogic S805X2 SoC, which will still add support for AV1 decoding that the 4K Chromecast lacks. The Chromecast HD could also come with just 1.5 GB of RAM compared to 2GB on the 4K model. That may sound like a real downgrade, though Google recently improved performance on the existing Chromecast with Google TV through CPU and cache management optimizations.
According to Wojciechowski, the upcoming Chromecast HD will also add support for virtual A/B updates with compression. This will make it possible to install software updates using virtual partitions instead of on-device storage, and this should really help to deliver software updates in the future. However, the Chromecast HD having just 1.5 GB of RAM doesn’t bode well for Android 13 support, as this version requires a minimum of 2GB of RAM.
According to WinFuture, this new Chromecast HD will be priced at €40 in Europe, which would be €30 cheaper than the 4K model released two years ago. This price would also match Amazon’s Fire TV Stick, though this model and other Fire TV sticks are regularly on discount.
Google may well announce this cheaper Chromecast HD during its Made by Google event on October 6. We’ll see what happens next month, but Apple is also rumored to be preparing a more affordable Apple TV model to better compete with the cheap Amazon Fire TV sticks, Google Chromecast, or Roku devices. According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, this cheaper Apple TV could make its debut later this fall.