As we reported at the start of this year, a tentatively named “Chromecast HD with Google TV” is in the works. It will presumably be cheaper than the existing $49.99 dongle and be closer in price to the $29.99 Chromecast. Once that new device launches, one interesting question is whether Google will still sell a streamer that is powered by its original Cast operating system?
Compared to every Chromecast-branded device that came before, the primary hardware differentiator of Google’s 2020 streaming dongle was the inclusion of a remote control. The company stuck to phone-based control for quite a long time in sharp contrast with every other television device and Android TV.
People like their remotes and the Chromecast “HD” with Google TV is said to also include one — if not the exact same voice remote — in the box. Ahead of it being announced, the biggest presumed selling point of this HD model should be its price to let Google better compete against the likes of Roku and the Amazon Fire TV.
If Google were to match the existing $29.99 price point of the existing Chromecast, would it make sense for that Cast-powered model from 2018 to remain on sale?
In terms of functionality, the Google TV-based unit can do much more with a guide-like UI, Android apps from the Play Store, and other nice smart home integrations. This makes it easy for Google to just push people to this new device and feature-rich experience.
With the launch of the Chromecast with Google TV, the company stopped manufacturing the Chromecast Ultra and let supply slowly dwindle alongside the Stadia Premiere Edition. That’s one precedent for what Google could do.
In fact, the Chalk (white) 3rd-gen Chromecast has been out of stock for several weeks in the US Google Store. The listing was removed entirely more recently, with no inventory at some other stateside retailers, though it’s still available in Europe.
Google in theory could keep selling the lesser Chromecast, but that does make for a confusing product lineup. There are some people who appreciate the simplicity of Cast, but is that enough for a 2018 dongle to be kept around for a few more years? After all, Google TV is clearly the future of the company’s entertainment strategy from hardware to content.
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