During today's event, Google is unveiling a huge number of exciting and brand new products. One thing coming across the stage, however, isn't that much different from its previous iteration; the Chromecast Ultra. Like the last version of the Chromecast it features a similar shape and design even down to the magnetic HDMI cable that is attached and sticks to the back when not in use. The Chromecast Ultra is a bit faster than its contemporaries, but the big difference is support for streaming content in 4K and HDMI.
With some connections, though, this may not be quite enough for the insanely huge content that can be pushed through this new Chromecast. This can be a serious hurdle for those whose ISP just doesn't cut it, or who use older or cheaper routers. Google's solution? A good old-fashioned RJ-45 adapter, allowing you to plug the Chromecast Ultra straight into your router via ethernet and mostly cut out the middleman in the streaming equation. If a computer you want to stream from happens to have an ethernet port, you may be able to plug the Chromecast in and beam content directly, but there has thus far been no confirmation on whether or not this more direct method would work, since Chromecast streaming is usually done over the internet. The ethernet adapter is part of the AC adapter, so if you have the Chromecast rigged up via USB, you'll have to free up an outlet.
While such a solution is far from perfect, anything that allows one to stream such insanely high-resolution content is welcome, with streaming technology still largely coming to grips with such content. The Chromecast Ultra's $69 price point really only makes it worthwhile to those who have 4K or HDR content to stream and a 4K TV to watch it on, but these users get an added bonus; Wi-Fi reception is reportedly a bit better, and normal-resolution video content starts up its streaming magic at about 1.8 times the speed of the Chromecast models of yore. While this is, as of now, the only Google-made solution for 4K content with native Cast support, the $69 price point and focus on 4K video can't help but draw comparisons to the Xiaomi Mi Box. Given the features and market for both, it's anybody's game as to which one will win over the 4K crowd in the end.