Best answer: Playing Google Stadia on a TV only works with a Chromecast Ultra for now, and beyond that, you also need a Stadia-compatible Bluetooth or USB controller. Basic Chromecast owners will need to upgrade, while Chromecast with Google TV owners will have to be patient until Google adds Stadia support in 2021.
You need both a Chromecast Ultra and compatible controller to play on a TV
Does Stadia work with Chromecast, Chromecast Ultra, or Chromecast with Google TV? At the moment, only Ultra will work for your game streaming needs — but that should change in the future.
After some initial issues with Chromecast Ultra firmware, now all Chromecast Ultras can support Google Stadia. Unfortunately, with the launch of Chromecast with Google TV, Google apparently decided to stop stocking the Chromecast Ultra on its site, and all major retailers are currently out of stock.
Consequently, the only way for new Stadia gamers to play on their televisions is to purchase the Google Stadia Premiere Edition, which comes bundled with a Chromecast Ultra and a Stadia controller.
If you're unable to get your hands on a Chromecast Ultra, you can still play Stadia on most Android phones (Check Google's supported list of devices if you're unsure), a Chrome browser on your PC or Mac, or even on an iPhone or iPad using a workaround app. You just won't be able to see the games on your 4K TV without Chromecast Ultra.
Apart from the Chromecast Ultra, the only other essential for Stadia streaming is a controller. If you get your hands on a used Ultra but don't have the Stadia controller, there's a great list of wireless Stadia-compatible controllers you can use, including the Xbox One, PS4, and Switch Pro controllers, so you should hopefully be able to use a controller you already own.
When will Stadia come to Chromecast with Google TV?
Google claims that Stadia will come to Chromecast with Google TV in the first half of 2021. That's a broad stretch of time and means that new Chromecast with Google TV owners may have to wait nearly 9 months before getting access to the platform — assuming Google holds to its schedule.
It makes sense that the basic 3rd-generation Chromecast isn't Stadia compatible, because it doesn't display 4K content and may not have the processing power (even the Ultras overheated while streaming in 4K initially). Yet Chromecast with Google TV can support 4K HDR with Dolby Vision at 60 frames per second, matching or beating the Chromecast Ultra in most specs. So why the delay?
We can only speculate, but the most likely explanation is Google TV, the streaming platform built on Android TV. Whatever operating system Chromecast with Google TV uses to stream content, it's different than the standard casting tech you saw on Chromecast Ultra. It's possible that Google is working on a Stadia-specific app for Google TV that isn't performing up to specifications yet. Or, that the processing power for Google TV means that the new Chromecast dongle doesn't have the same casting bandwidth for 4K streaming as the Ultra.
Whatever the reason for the delay, we hope to be able to answer "Does Stadia work with Chromecast with Google TV?" with a simple "yes" sooner rather than later. In the interim, the more intrepid can always try to sideload Stadia on their Chromecast with Google TV device.
Best for living room gaming
No console, no maintenance, just video games
Your best way to get your hands on a Chromecast Ultra today, the Stadia Premiere Edition also gives you the ergonomic Stadia controller with Share and Google Assistant buttons specific to Stadia.
Stadia, future edition
No game streaming until early 2021
Chromecast with Google TV may not play Stadia games now, but it will cost you less than the Stadia Premiere Edition and get you access to Google's new streaming platform in the meantime. With Ultra all but discontinued, Chromecast with Google TV will get more support and updates for Stadia gaming in the future.
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