Google launched the first-generation Chromecast back in 2013 and it is still receiving security updates — but that's pretty much it. As Google confirmed to 9To5Google, this original Chromecast will not be coming with new features. If you have an old Chromecast, it may be time to upgrade.
Now, if you want to check if you have a first-generation Chromecast, this is quite easy. Now, you can either do this via the Home app on your Android phone or you can also check the Chromecast hardware.
Check Your Chromecast’s Generation By Looking at It
If you can't recall it, you can just check behind your TV to see which one is plugged into the HDMI port.
From the image displayed below, you can see the Chromecast on the left is a first-generation Chromecast. Now, if the one you have looks like the one on the left, it means you have an older Chromecast which only gets security updates and not new features.
Find Your Chromecast’s Version From Your Phone
You can also use the Home app on your smartphone to check your Chromecast version. Make sure that you have your phone connected to the same WiFi network as your Chromecast. Next, launch the Home app.
Tap on the Chromecast whose version you want to check.
Next, tap on the gear-shaped Settings icon at the top right corner of the screen.
Scroll down to the bottom of the screen. Now, you should see the “Cast firmware version” number at the bottom of the screen.
If the version there is 1.36, it means that it is a first-generation Chromecast. However, if it is 1.40 or more, it means that it is a second-generation or newer Chromecast. The most recent firmware versions associated with each Chromecast can be seen on Google’s Chromecast firmware versions web page.
Should You Upgrade Your Old Chromecast?
If you own a first-generation Chromecast, upgrading to a newer model definitely isn't a bad idea. Apart from the fact that you will get new software features, you also get improved hardware.
The first-generation Chromecast, for instance, is only compatible with 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi networks while newer Chromecasts are compatible with both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi networks. there is also support for 802.11ac Wi-Fi on second-generation Chromecast as well. On Chromecast Ultra models, users get 4K support plus they are the only Chromecasts that are compatible with Google's upcoming Stadia game streaming service. You don't get 4K on the third-generation Chromecast but there is 1080p video at up to 60FPS. First and second-generation Chromecasts only support 1080p video at 30 frames per second.
The Chromecasts are still cheap too. The original first-generation Chromecast was launched back in 2013 with a starting price of $35 and the third-generation Chromecast can still be purchased for $35. Purchasing a Chromecast Ultra will cost you $59.
But do you really need to upgrade? Maybe not. If you are happy with the Chromecast you've got and it works for you, it’s not like there’s a security risk—you’re still getting security updates. In a statement from Google to 9To5Mac, the company would “continue to update it with bug and security fixes.” You just wouldn't get features like speaker groups without buying new hardware in the future.