Now if I could only flush out the row of people who are already watching...

More HDR functions and increased Wi-Fi performance have been added to Google's new Chromecast

The Chromecast with Google TV, which was released last year, is getting a new April update from Google. It's a big upgrade for a streaming platform (166MB on my Chromecast), but it brings a lot of new features.

You'll be able to go a bit further into video settings than before after you've updated the latest app and restarted your Chromecast. You can now choose your favorite dynamic range format in the latest “advanced video controls” section of settings. If you like to leave it there, you can use Dolby Vision, HDR, or even SDR. This menu also allows you to manually switch between a variety of resolutions and refresh rates:

  • 4K (60Hz / 50Hz / 30Hz/ 25Hz / 24Hz / smpte)
  • 1080p (60Hz / 50Hz / 24Hz)
  • 720p (60Hz / 50Hz)
  • 1080i (60Hz / 50Hz)
  • 576p (50Hz)
  • 480p (60Hz)

Unless you have a compelling excuse to change it, I'd stick with whatever Chromecast chooses as the default: in my case, 4K 60Hz. Google claims that this upgrade boosts the Wi-Fi capacity of the Chromecast for Google TV on 5GHz networks and mesh devices. See the table below for a complete list of enhancements. I'm also looking for a way to get rid of the "continue playing" lines, where shows and movies will get trapped right after you've finished streaming them.

  • - Settings for granular HDR formats, resolution/refresh rate, and color formats in Advanced Video Controls
  • - Updates to HDMI hotplug, allowing your Chromecast to identify the best TV settings possible.
  • - Wi-Fi 5Ghz and Mesh Network Enhancements
  • - Some apps' Bluetooth audio stuttering has been improved.
  • - In configurations, HDMI-CEC can now be programmed to switch on/off just the TV.
  • - Android protection patch standard updated to April 2021

Aside from the firmware upgrade, the Chromecast with Google TV recently received HDR10+ certification. As a result, if you find content on Amazon Prime Video that streams in HDR, it should soon be enabled on Google's streaming device.

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