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The Chromecast with Google TV (aka "Sabrina") Topic for Owners

193696 Views 1815 Replies 161 Participants Last post by  whiteboy714
Exclusive: This is Google's Android TV dongle, remote, and new UI

It looks just like a Chromecast, but now has a remote. Apparently supports Dolby Vision and uses an Amlogic SOC. Price will be around $80.

UPDATE Nov 18 2020:
For those of you wanting to add ethernet and external storage, I ordered a bunch of usb hubs off amazon. Here is my list so far. Tested with a 5V 3amp usb c power supply and NOT the stock power brick:
Ones that work

1. https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01COJ0MDY/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
My favorite cause it so cheap! Works great
2. https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07Q6YS7W2/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s04?ie=UTF8&psc=1
my second favorite because of the detachable usb c cable
3. Amazon.com: Hauyate USB C Hub Multiport Adapter,MacBook Pro USB C Dongle, 8 in 1 USB C Dock to HDMI Adaptor Compatible for iPad, XPS More Type C Devices-4K HDMI USB3.0 SD/TF Card Reader 60W PD: Electronics
works. ok price
4. https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07QQ11BP6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
works but pricey for most. got mine free for a review though

Ones that don't work.

1. https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B084MDSG8N/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s03?ie=UTF8&psc=1
UPDATE Oct 2 2020:
OK, here are a few things crossed off my important list:

1. HDHomeRun live and recorded TV playback: MPEG2, AVC, DRM, 4K broadcasting with HLG all works fine. This app itself is somehow difficult to install (probably my fault) but using the play store web site, I got it installed. So, to be clear, HLG on 4K live TV is supported correctly. However, HLG on YouTube shows up as HDR10 as others reported.

2. My USB-C hub works. I monitored combined power usage never exceed 5 watts. So, I will test with the charger that comes with the box later.

3. Bad news is that the network speed on the gigabit network port on the hub is capped around 320 mbps. So that's USB2.0 speed. Still better than the 100mbps Google offered.

4. More bad news about using the UBS ports for storage extensions: keep up with Google's traddition, it won't support anything that is not formatted as FAT/FAT16/FAT32. That means 32GB or less. Larger sized storage automatically gets rejected/ejected.

5. There is no Dolby Digital processing like the ones on Shield or Apple TV. So, if you connect to a TV that does not show support of DD+ via EDID, you will be limited to 2.0 on most streaming services. In my case, my Vizio does report support of DD+. So I got 5.1 audio in Disney+ as well as Dolby Vision.

Now on to my other testing of local media playback.
UPDATE Oct 1 2020:
It is now available for purchase on Google:
  • By itself: $50, link
  • One Chromecast + 6 months of Netflix: $90, link
  • Two Chromecasts + 6 months of Netflix: $130, link
  • Ethernet adapter, 10Mbps only: link (though you're probably better off buying an after market USB-C hub with Ethernet USB port, and USB-C PD for expandability)
My setup is as follows: Chromecast -> Denon AVR-X4500H -> LG 77C9

First, the good:
  • Dynamic Range Switching works well in most apps (Tested Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Plex, Kodi)
    • Correctly switches between Rec. 709 & Rec. 2020 color spaces
    • Doesn't work in Movies Anywhere for some reason
  • Passes through correct HDR10 metadata, including MaxCLL, and MaxFALL
  • Chroma upsampling is good, the same as other recent Amlogic chipset-based devices I've tested (ODroid N2)
  • Supports CEC and IR remote control
  • Speed is really good, not up to the Shield TV, but it's also 1/3 the price or less
  • Frame rate can be manually set, only 23.976Hz, 25Hz, 29.97Hz, 50Hz, and 59.94Hz supported
    • The UI shows them as whole integer frame rates, but I've confirmed via HDFury Integral 2 that they are not actually integer frame rates
Now, the bad:
  • HDR10 content has raised black levels
  • No passthrough of Lossless Audio Codecs
  • No automatic refresh rate switching
    • Refresh rate app does not work
    • No automatic refresh rate toggle in settings
      • Confused by this one, I thought I saw it reported somewhere else that it does, but nothing exists that I can find
    • Plex & Kodi don't support automatic refresh rate switching
  • MPEG2 Live TV direct plays in Plex, but has pretty bad stuttering issues, whether interlaced or progressive (maybe being software decoded?)
  • Voice search does not support Plex/Kodi
  • 24.00, 60.00 refresh rates are not supported, even when manually setting
HLG does work too. And I can choose 24hz, but no frame rate matching. And the IR remote does turn my TV on and off.

Apps I tested:
HBO Max has 5.1 audio
Peacock is stereo
Hulu is stereo and HD only
Vudu only goes up to HDX
FandangoNow is HD only
Movies Anywhere is HD only
Amazon Prime gives me HDR10 and Atmos
Netflix gives me DV and Atmos (first time I’ve been able to get Atmos from Netflix)
Disney+ gives me DV and 5.1

I also get HDR10, DV and 5.1 from my Google Play library.
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This device will replace my 2019 Shield for one reason and one reason only: framerate match built right into Android TV 11 OS. That and YT HDR as well as HLG support which are never possible with Shield.
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Yeah I hate contributing to waste, but unlike disc players it seems every single streamed to date it always compromised in several features. Google themselves in my opinion have been pretty bad both hardware, services, and software to other hardware vendors that they are sadly bottom of the field. Eg, their services (YouTube/Google Play Movies) barely support 4k HDR or Dolby Vision, don't support atmos, on any device, barely support 4k HDR on any device (eg 1080p on Apple TV - and yes that is software google provides). Which is why I'm watching this thread. I'm hoping maybe something is gonna happen. But seeing a $50 price tag, I'm not that hopeful....
It can run all the streaming apps available today with 4K, DV/HDR10/HLG and Atmos support. That's inline with most of the sub-$100 Android TV boxes. What Google offers that no other can do is the first to get Android TV 11.
In Comparison, $150 to $200 nVidia Shield runs on a 5-year old SoC that can't do YT HDR and no HLG support. It might run games better but I don't care about that at all.
This device will replace my 2019 Shield for one reason and one reason only: framerate match built right into Android TV 11 OS. That and YT HDR as well as HLG support which are never possible with Shield.
I’m afraid we won’t see a global framerate match feature in Android 11 like many of us would be waiting for.

In Android 11 there will be a new method for apps to call for a refresh rate switch described in detail here:

But it seems that this is mainly intented for mobile devices that can switch refresh rates without the display blanking out. Especially this paragraph makes me very pessimistic:

The platform will only switch display modes in response to a call to setFrameRate() if the mode switch is lightweight and unlikely to be noticeable to the user. If the app prefers to switch the display refresh rate even if it requires a heavy mode switch (for example, on an Android TV device), use preferredDisplayModeId.
The other method mentioned here is the one that is already available and used by apps like Kodi. So even if the new calling method would be used on Android TV - for example on a HDMI2.1 capable display that supports the VRR feature - this will still be optional and depend on the app to support it. So as long as streaming providers like Netflix decide to not support frame rate matching with their apps, the addition of this new feature in Android 11 won’t make a difference.
We shall see. To support what Kodi did requires more low level programming that most streaming apps won't do. Hence, I see Google has a chance here to add this new API in Android 11 API. Of course, whether or not Netflix will mod their app to support is the new API is unknown. But I see this as a positive development. No VRR required. Match frame rate is support across the board in all other streaming devices, except Android TV. Google better do it right.

There is zero advantage for smart phone to do it because most, especially cheap ones, phones runs at 40Hz or so to reduce power consumption. Phone users could care less about matching refresh rate on such a small screen.
If I pickup a few of these, I'll cycle my Mi Box 4s and Jetstream over to TVs that currently have Nexus players on them... So retiring 5-6 year old devices doesn't strike me as too terrible from an e-waste standpoint (especially since, as they're still working, they will go in a drawer or eBay and not in a landfill for some time).

If I had some confidence the Shield, Mi Box 4s, and Jetstream would get the YTTV and Nest Hello integration any time soon, I'd probably wait it out. I'm only half expecting the Shield ('17 Pro) to get it at all... As good as their update record has been, everything has to EOL eventually and the '19 models are different enough that I expect support for the '15 and '17 models to twilight sooner rather than later. The Shield will stick around for some time as, if nothing else, my Plex server... And the Nexus Players may even get new life for PiP sources if we have an NCAA Tournament this year... But YTTV and Nest Hello are big every-day use items that I'm keen to have deeper integration on all my primary displays.
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This device will replace my 2019 Shield for one reason and one reason only: framerate match built right into Android TV 11 OS. That and YT HDR as well as HLG support which are never possible with Shield.
I have the 2017 Shield and I am in the same boat. It's really unfortunate that Shield decided to cheap out on not supporting YouTube HDR and HLG, even though from a computation hardware perspective the chip is more than enough to do so.

It probably won't be as powerful as Shield, but I also don't expect to do any gaming nor run a plex server. As long as Sabrina can play UHD rip without an issue then it's good enough for me. If it has auto dynamic range switching like the Shield does then it'd be an auto buy for me.
Yeah, Shield was quite powerful and ahead of everyone else.... 5 years ago compared to the slow Android TV boxes of that time (Nexus Player, MiBox 3 etc). But these days, with modern SoC, the alternatives are catching up quickly. I just don't feel my 2019 Shield much different than my Verizon Stream TV box or JetStream box. With a lot of features like Dolby Vision now builds into the OS, I'd quite ready to pick up a few of these new Google Streamers at this price. I have 10+ TVs at home. So I need a lot :)
I'll be picking one up and giving it a go just to see what it can do. Having a remote makes it appealing. I assume you can connect other bluetooth devices (audio, keyboard, etc), making it more compelling.
If it's running Android TV, you should be able to connect different devices via Bluetooth in the same manner as other Android TV devices currently on the market. Hopefully Google hasn't deviated from the familiar setup on this device.
If it is scheduled to launch 9/30 as some websites revealed, I wonder if it will launch with old Android TV 9 OS. Android 11 is currently still in beta.
Since this is going to be an Android device, there's a decent chance it will run the Kodi app...right?

Hope the remote has a IR blaster for TV/AVR control, otherwise its a lagger.
I don't see any reason why not, it's in the Play Store. IR would be nice for volume control, but as a Harmony user, it wouldn't be a deal-breaker... but I still use the native remotes of my devices in a few rooms as secondary (i.e. in the office or kitchen to control the living room), so it would be a nice bonus.
My Roku Ultra died in less than 2 years. I do not game, so did not want to pay for the Shield and Apple TV 4k is also way too costly. All streaming sticks are cheap but run very hot.
This new device might be good for sports streaming. I can hold out for this one.
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Looks like that STAR button from the leak everyone thought would be programmable will bet Netflix instead, unless it's different regionally (the image above was German, or at least the post was).
Leaked video of packaging:

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BTW if you want to try to get ahold of it early, you can see if Walmart near you have them.

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