The first-generation Google Chromecast launched on July 24, 2013, and almost immediately took the video streaming market by storm. With over 55m units sold around the world to date, this simple dongle may very likely be the most successful hardware product line created independently by Google.

There have been three generations of Google Chromecast. On top of that, there was also a stripped-down audio-only model – which did not exactly catch on – and a 4K Chromecast Ultra, which launched in November 2016. But it’s the basic models that made the Chromecast a household name and a wildly popular product.

Because Chromecast costs just $35, it is a really affordable way to dip your toes in video streaming. Although the device is not advertised to do that as the main feature, you can use Chromecast to stream almost any kind of content from the Chrome browser on a laptop or desktop computer, including presentations and photos. This vastly expands the use cases of Chromecast and gives it even better bang for the buck.

What is Google Chromecast?

Google Chromecast is a small device which plugs into the HDMI port of your TV and converts it into a fully-fledged media casting device. It works with every modern TV or projector, infusing it with reliable and convenient streaming capabilities on the cheap. At just US$35, Chromecast is an amazing value for money and is super easy to set up (Ultra is the only one to carry a little heavier price tag, US$69). 

How does Chromecast work?

With Chromecast, you can send a Netflix, Hulu or HBO Go video from your phone to a TV, or you can send a website on your computer to your TV. But the important thing to remember about Google Chromecast is that it doesn’t really send the content directly from the phone to the TV. Chromecast is, in fact, a fully independent Android device which uses your phone only as an input device, while in fact, it relies on its own connection to stream content.

The next Chromecast

The news of Google planning the release of their new generation Chromecast has been making the rounds on the Web for some time. The device will be a much needed upgrade to the Chromecast line, primarily because Chromecast Ultra, i.e. the 4K version of Chromecast, was marred by a couple of problems and failed to gain popularity. 

Google is slowly realizing that competition from Apple TV, Roku and Fire TV is real, and decided to add a couple of valuable upgrades to the fan-favorite casting device. Google Chromecast 4 (codenamed Sabrina) is rumored to come with HDMI 2.1 and Dolby Vision and Google Assistant support out of the box. Google has also made sure to implement low-latency gaming mode, which suggests it could nicely work with Google’s upcoming gaming platform Stadia. 

Google Chromecast 4 Sabrina – what we know so far 

Not many details are known about the new device, but we’ve managed to collect whatever little we found on the new device:

1. The name

Google hasn’t officially confirmed the name of the new Chromecast anywhere, but reliable sources like XDA Developers point to names such as Chromecast Ultra 2 or Sabrina. We believe Sabrina is the more likely name as it already appears in many of the leaked promotional materials and indicates that the product is a bigger milestone in the Chromecast line. And it really is! Rather than just a streaming dongle, the new Chromecast will be a fully-fledged, 4K-capable Android TV device that shares more affinity with Apple TV, Xiaomi Mi Box or Nvidia Shield TV Pro than its own predecessors.

As part of the branding overhaul, it is also very likely Google might strategically rename Android TV to Google TV.

2. The design remains mostly the same

The design of Chromecast Sabrina does not veer away from the Chromecast 2 and 3 models. Leaked promotional photos from Google show an oval, pebble-shaped device available in three colors white, black and light pink. This clean look nicely aligns with Google’s simplistic design philosophy and pastel color palette we know so well from their other products. 


Source: XDA Developers

3. Price

The Chromecast Sabrina is expected to be a tad more expensive than the previous generations, mainly due to its 4K capabilities and a remote control coming in the box. What little is known about the launch in general, we could only expect Sabrina to cost around what the original Chromecast Ultra did, i.e. $80-ish or less. 

By comparison, Sabrina’s direct competitor NVIDIA Shield TV stick costs $149, although it’s more powerful and geared strictly towards gaming. 

4. Accessories

The leaked materials suggest the biggest change for Sabrina: the new Chromecast will come with a remote control. The design of the remote itself is no surprise here – circular navigation dial and a bunch of simple buttons, all clearly in line with Google’s understated, utilitarian aesthetic we know so well. 

In fact, many of today’s vendors of streaming devices keep it simple, and specific elements have already become a staple: a touch-sensitive circular panel, and a rudimentary set of buttons sitting beneath it. In Sabrina’s remote control there is also a dedicated button for Google Assistant, which conveniently locks the user into Google’s ecosystem.

remote control

Source: XDA Developers

5. Release date

Due to the global pandemic turning upside down the plans of many companies (delayed, changed or cancelled products), every release date has to be taken with a pinch of salt. This being said, we still believe the new Chromecast will debut alongside Google’s Pixel 5 phone, making a splash sometime later in October.

6. Software

Sabrina is Google’s big comeback to the Android TV hardware game, and also an attempt to wrench some clientele from Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV offerings. Google’s mostly forgotten, ill-fated Nexus Player Android TV device which premiered in 2014 was only a half-baked effort to bring the system to the masses. It’s high time for Google to catch up.

At the same time, Android TV itself is alive and well, thriving as the go-to system in numerous leading manufacturers’ smart TVs. While its popularity is growing, offering a separate box or dongle like Sabrina is still a great way for Google to attract the owners of the older TVs – people who no longer receive software updates for their built-in smart TV systems. And while they cannot enjoy the smart capabilities in full, their TVs are still great and could get back to speed if coupled with Sabrina in the HDMI port. 


Source: XDA Developers

Leaked images confirm Sabrina will be a different beast than your good ol’ Chromecast. For once, it actually has an interface! There is a list of TV shows and movies at the bottom. In the middle, there’s a carousel of recommended titles along with the service provider that offers the content. 

With support for Google Assistant, users may soon be able to show alerts from Google Nest doorbells and video cameras, which is already possible on Assistant-powered smart displays.

What makes Sabrina better than my old Chromecast?

There are a couple of ways which speak in favor of Sabrina, even if you already have a legacy Chromecast attached to your TV.

  • Sabrina is capable of 4K streaming, which is something your TV is very likely capable of – but your Chromecast 1, 2 and 3rd gen isn’t!
  • Sabrina will basically convert your TV into a modern, always-updated Android TV with Play Store, apps (including many games) and customizable home screen. Chromecast, by comparison, only works for a limited number of “Chromecast-enabled” apps. Netflix, Spotify, Hulu all have both apps available for the Android TV and Chromecast-enabled smartphone apps. But there are exceptions, Amazon Prime Video is not compatible with regular Chromecasts, while it works with Android TV. 
  • Sabrina comes with a remote control

What else is Google cooking for 2020?

There are several big releases coming from Google this year, and Chromecast Sabrina is only one of them. Let’s have a look at what Google has up its sleeve:

The new Google Home speaker

The original Google Home is not sold anymore, which suggests a likely upgrade coming this year. We just don’t know any details about it yet.

Pixel 4a

Pixel 4a has been leaked to infinity, and we know almost everything about it already. In a nutshell, it is intended to replace the Pixel 3a – an affordable device that brings the best of both worlds – Google industry-leading camera prowess and affordability. Priced at just $349, it will also undercut its direct competitor, Apple iPhone SE 2020.

We know the Google Pixel 4a phone has already gone through the FCC certification in the US, which indicates the device is days away from its global debut. Pixel 4a will come with a 5.81-inch OLED screen and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 730 processor with 6GB RAM. The device is believed to feature a 3,080mAh battery, 12.2 MP single camera, and headphone jack.

Pixel 5

Although the Google Pixel 5 is months away from release, we already know a lot about the upcoming phone. Many say the Pixel 5 will look a lot different from the existing Pixel 4 and likely follow a completely new design language. 

Leaks have also suggested that the phone will come with a mid-range processor as opposed to Qualcomm’s flagship chipset. At the moment, we can expect the Pixel 5 to be powered by the Snapdragon 768G processor. 

Pixel 5 will come with a redesigned camera module and a long-awaited ultra-wide-angle camera. Early rumours also suggest that the Pixel 5 would sell for $649 as a starting price, a lot cheaper than the base price of the Pixel 4


Chromecast has brought streaming to the broader audience. Its popularity could be attributed to a couple of reasons: affordability, simple set-up and convenience. Sabrina is the anticipated successor to the Chromecast line-up, and with 4K streaming, remote control and Android TV on board, it’s a much-needed upgrade to the fan-favorite streaming stick.

The launch of the Google Pixel 4A phone is round the corner, as is Android 11 and Pixel 5. Sabrina will be unveiled in either of the two events. Piggybacking on the popularity of its older brothers, Sabrina will be to Android TV what Chromecast was to streaming. It’s big news for the developers of Android TV apps looking to broaden their audience. We’re really looking forward to it!