When Google announced and launched the nifty little Chromecast device back in 2013, I was so eager to get my hands on one of them that I was one of the first people to order the first generation Chromecast on Amazon! Fast forward to the present and a newer generation Chromecast has come out including the Chromecast Ultra which supports playback of up to 4K resolution!
I bought my first generation Chromecast for US$35 and had to use NZ Post’s YouShop to ship it to NZ. Altogether in total I spent around NZ$60 and still think to date is one of my best value purchases in a very long time. My first-gen Chromecast has been with me ever since I bought it back in 2013, and is still going strong to date. Until I got the new and improved Chromecast Ultra.
The new and improved Chromecast comes in two flavours, the regular one which only supports playback of up to 1080p Full HD resolution, and the Ultra which supports playback of up to 4K resolution. Setup was just as simple as the first generation Chromecast, however thanks to software updates, the WiFi password can be copied over from your device and you won’t have to manually type it in. This works even for the first-generation Chromecast device as well.
Also back in the days, Chromecast wasn’t officially supported in New Zealand. This meant that getting the Chromecast app on Android was a hassle too, and our blog post ‘Do You Need The Chromecast APK?’ was the most popular article for Chromecast in New Zealand! There weren’t many services in New Zealand that supported Chromecast. Nowadays we have Lightbox, Netflix, Neon TV, FanPass, Spotify and more which have provided support for Chromecast. If you think about it, Chromecast has come a long way in New Zealand and is still one of the best valued media streaming devices in the country to date!
Because streaming in 4K requires a bit more power and bandwidth, Chromecast Ultra also comes with a specialised AC charger with a built-in ethernet port. I preferred the convenience of plugging in the USB cable in the TV which also yielded a message on my screen saying that in order to stream 4K resolution I had to connect the original power adapter. But that was okay as my TV is only a 1080p panel. I really need to get a 4K UHD TV. TV prices in NZ have dropped like a bomb over the past years. You can get branded 55″ 4K UHD TVs for around $1000 these days!
My Chromecast Ultra is connected to my 5GHz WiFi network. Streaming from YouTube, casting my Sony Xperia X’s phone and casting a tab playing video on the Chrome browser all streamed without hiccups. They were all 1080p resolution or less and is still pretty impressive considering it was a fair way away from the router, and that we are still on ADSL broadband.
With Guest mode, visitors who wish to cast items to the TV can do so without having to be on your home wireless network. By ‘listening’ to a signal emitted by the Chromecast and entering in the on-screen PIN, an Android or iOS device can cast their items onto the big screen too!
Overall I am very impressed with the new generation Chromecast Ultra. From NZ$69 you can get your own Chromecast device (NZ$109 for the Chromecast Ultra) and almost turn your TV panel into a smart TV. For the price, a Chromecast is very well worth the money and provides a nice way to watch TV shows, movies, YouTube clips or even browsing websites on the big screen with the family, all of which can be controlled straight from a smartphone (Android or iOS).
For more information, please visit: https://www.google.com/intl/en_nz/chromecast/tv/ultra/