There’s nothing wrong with streaming movies on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. But you have to admit that watching a show or a film on your TV still has that magical and nostalgic appeal ― not to mention that it’s more comfortable. Fortunately, you can easily do this by using streaming devices such as the Chromecast 2 and the Chromecast Ultra. These gadgets let you enjoy the best of both worlds: stream the latest and the greatest online content on your TV then sit back on your couch and watch movies or shows in comfort.
The question now is this: which device will you buy? We’ve created this guide to help you learn more about the Chromecast 2 and the Chromecast Ultra and pick the right option for you.
Specs and Features
Chromecast 2, as its name suggests, is Google’s second-generation 1080p streaming device. It has almost the same specs and features as the original Chromecast, although it has higher speeds since it comes with 5GHz Wi-Fi network support and has the “Fast Play” feature (which caches shows that you’re likely to watch). Chromecast 2 also has a different design from the base model, with a round chassis instead of a USB stick-like body.
Chromecast Ultra, on the other hand, is designed for 4K streaming. It works with 4K and HD TVs and gives you access to 4K online content. It’s built with improved processor and Wi-Fi antenna, so it’s no surprise that it’s almost two times faster than the Chromecast 2.
Chromecast 2 works with almost any kind of HDTV. Simply plug it into your TV’s HDMI, insert the mini-USB cord (which supplies the unit with power), configure the device through your smartphone, and start watching.
Chromecast Ultra, on the other hand, requires you to have a 4K or UHD TV that supports HDCP 2.2 ― a prerequisite that must be fulfilled before you can stream copy-protected content. The Ultra’s energy consumption is too much for your TV to support, so you’ll need to use the external power brick that comes with the device.
Both the Chromecast 2 and Chromecast Ultra require internet connection to work. However, the Ultra requires at least 20 Mbps for it to provide 4K streaming; if your bandwidth falls below this limit, the device will revert to 1080p resolution. This isn’t really a problem since 1080p still looks great, but it can be a disappointment if you’re expecting 4K graphics.
Most online content nowadays are available in 1080p, which means you’ll have a wide range of movies and TV shows to choose from when you use Chromecast2. This isn’t the case with Chromecast Ultra, though; 4K content is still not ubiquitous, so you’ll have limited options. Fortunately, this is due to change since more and more content creators are switching to 4K, so you can enjoy a wide range of 4K films and TV programs in the future.
At just $35 (the same price as the original Chromecast), the Chromecast 2 is the ideal choice if you have a limited budget and just want to stream online content on your TV. If you have bigger funds as well as a 4K TV, and if you’re particular about image quality and resolution, you’ll want to consider buying the Chromecast Ultra.