Stream TV in 4K
First, there was Chromecast, a stick that plugged into the HDMI port on your TV and played videos from the internet. en there was Chromecast 2, with faster Wi-Fi and a new shape. is time, Google has kept the same design – a little flying saucer on a rubber strap – and added 4K resolution, four times sharper than Full HD. As before, you’ll need an Android or Apple phone or tablet to operate it. e Ultra connects either via Wi-Fi, or with an Ethernet cable – which you may need to get a fast enough connection for 4K.
Other streaming boxes are available (see ‘Do I really need…?’ Issue 491, page 22), but this is currently the cheapest with 4K, also known as Ultra HD. Relatively few films and TV shows are available in UHD, but it does look great. If you don’t have a 4K TV set, on the other hand, it’s pointless. Just buy the cheaper Chromecast 2.
Even if you do have a 4K TV set it probably already has its own smart
apps that access the same major online video services (Netflix, BBC iPlayer and so on), without £69’s worth of dangly frisbee. In fact, your 4K TV may provide something important that the Chromecast Ultra doesn’t: Amazon Video. is offers a huge choice of content, and if you have an Amazon Prime account, most of it is free. But because Amazon isn’t friends with Google, it’s not available on Chromecast.
802.11ac Wi-Fi • HDMI plug • Ethernet port • Mains adapter with 2m cable • 4K video • 13.7x58x58mm (HxWxD) • 47g • Requires a device with Android 4.1, iOS 8.0, OS X 10.9 or Windows 7 or later
VERDICT: e basic Chromecast is a handy gadget, but this adds too little for most 4K TV owners at too high a price, and Amazon Video is a big miss
ALTERNATIVE: Amazon Fire TV Stick £40 Available in April, the updated version of the streamer, which comes with a remote, omits 4K but adds Alexa voice control and guest accounts