Google is reportedly in development on a new version of its Chromecast streaming dongle that runs on Android TV and features a dedicated remote.
This is according to website 9to5 Google, which said it heard the news from a “source” familiar with Google’s plans. Also notable: Protocol reporter Janko Roettgers tweeted Wednesday an FCC filing for a remote control for an “unknown device.”
The site said the device will have a form factor similar to the current Chromecast Ultra, which retails for $70. It will support 4K and HDR resolution standards, as well as Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity. The device reportedly in development has a code name: “Sabrina.” That’s nice.
Chromecast was first introduced in 2013 as a simplified OTT solution—a small dongle that connects to the HDMI port of a display device. Users stream video from any source they are able to on their iOS or Android mobile device and “cast” the video to the Chromecast. The smart phone is the remote.
According to Parks Associates, Chromecast currently controls about 11% of the U.S. OTT device market, lagging far behind Roku and Amazon Fire TV. Current Chromecast iterations don’t run Android TV, Google’s software interface that provides users access to the Google Play store, and its vast selection of OTT apps, as well as Google Assistant voice support.
Android TV has become a popular solution for telecoms and other pay TV operators, which are looking to provide their subscribers with video services that cost-efficiently provide integrated access to popular OTT apps such as Netflix and YouTube, as well as nifty features like voice control.
Android TV, however, only has a small niche in the direct-to-consumer OTT device world. Android TV does power numerous smart TV models and OTT devices like Dish Network’s AirTV, but collectively, these devices occupy only a sliver of market share.
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