In Short

Chromecast debuted in July 2013, and has become one of the most successful Google products ever — and easily the best-selling hardware from Google. Easy to use, inexpensive, and compatible with all Android and iOS devices, the Chromecast is one of those unique products that all technology fans love.

The Chromecast doesn't actually have an interface or remote itself, as it instead relies on your phone (or computer) to select content that then streams independently on the Chromecast. Nearly all of the top video and audio media apps have Chromecast support, enabling millions of people to stream on their TVs without needing to buy a separate set top box. Users of Android phones and Chromebooks can also mirror their displays directly to Chromecast.

The first generation of Chromecast hardware was simple and relatively underpowered, but an updated second-generation Chromecast came later with better internal components and an updated design that integrated a cable for better placement. The second-gen Chromecast also launched with an audio-only version designed to bring smart audio streaming to any speaker with an analog or optical audio connection.

Coinciding with the launch of its own Pixel phones, Google unveiled the most powerful and feature-packed Chromecast to date: the Chromecast Ultra. The new model has a streamlined version of the same overall hardware design of the second-gen Chromecast, but with much upgraded internals to handle both 4K and HDR streaming video. The Chromecast Ultra also includes a power adapter that lets you plug an ethernet cable in for more reliable streaming.