Thinking about picking up the latest take on Chromecast? If you want a future-proof streaming device that will begin taking advantage of the growing library of 4K content, the Chromecast Ultra is the way to go.
But, for those who haven’t really looked into 4K until now, here are some things to keep in mind.
According to cutcabletoday.com, here are the required internet speeds you need for various streaming qualities:
- 3.0 Mbps – recommended Internet speed for Standard Definition (480p) streaming
- 5.0 Mbps – recommended Internet speed for High Definition (1080p) streaming
- 25 Mbps – recommended Internet speed for Ultra High Definition (4K) streaming
These recommendations help you know whether or not the internet service you pay for can handle 4K streaming. Just this year, the US home internet speed average jumped up over 55mbps, so lots of you should be just fine. Of course, this still leaves a large chunk of the population possibly under-equipped to handle the rigors of 4K streaming.
Check with your provider to figure out your current speeds and to decide if you can afford a package with fast enough speeds for 4K.
The best part of the Chromecast is dead-simple setup over a wireless network without additional cables or hard lines. For most, this is the way they will use the Chromecast Ultra.
Regardless of your internet speed, your router can be the culprit if you are experiencing slow speeds. First, I’d recommend plugging your laptop into the router directly via ethernet cable to check your actual speeds. Simply search “speed test” in the Google search bar and run it (no app needed). You’ll see quickly what speeds you are getting from your ISP before they hit the air via your router.
Next, connect any device to your router and run the test again. As long as the speed is pretty consistent, you are in good shape. If you see a big drop off on the wireless network, you will likely have issues with streaming 4K.
Various online outlets and brick-and-mortar retailers have a huge selection of routers. Do your research and pick one that has good coverage and throughput. All routers are not made the same.
Additionally, you could just wait for Google Wifi or snag an OnHub. They should be great for this.
The Chromecast Ultra doesn’t come with an HDMI cable extension, only the short cable attached to the device. If you plan to use an extension HDMI cable, do your homework. While most cables are now high-speed HDMI, not all of them are. There are also “4K HDMI Cables” being marketed out there, but don’t be fooled. As long as it is high speed, you are covered for 4K. You can read more about it here.
Secondly, some TVs have HDMI ports that do and don’t support 4K and/or 60 frames per second in 4K. Consult your owners manual and identify your ports properly to save yourself some time and frustration.
Lastly, keep in mind that services such as Netflix don’t offer 4K in their standard packages. You have to pay more for that feature. Same with movie streaming services. When you purchase or rent a movie, selecting 4K will likely cause a higher rate for purchase, but will allow you to take advantage of all your 4K tech.
That’s about it. The Chromecast Ultra itself is a simple setup and a simple device. But 4K is still a growing ecosystem, and we wanted to be sure all of you who are just now getting into the 4K game have all your ducks in a row before your shiny new Chromecast Ultra shows up in the coming weeks.
Hope it helps!