2021-09-26

Chromecast (Google TV) is no longer forcing HDR output

Google has started rolling out its April 2021 update for Chromecast with Google TV. It includes 'Advanced Video Controls' for more granular selection of SDR and HDR output, and more.    

Locked SDR now possible

The new Chromecast is a wonderful little dongle for general-purpose streaming but it lacks some of the advanced video options found in other devices. For example, Chromecast's insistence on outputting HDR to HDR-compatible TVs has caused trouble for owners of low-end or mid-range LCD TVs that lack the hardware to do HDR video justice, often resulting in worse picture quality. While Chromecast offers SDR/HDR matching, it has lacked the option to set SDR as the default - or preferred - option. Also read: Review: Chromecast with Google TV Google's latest Chromecast update, which is rolling out now, fixes the problem. With the new 'Advanced Video Controls' you can set Chromecast to SDR mode, which "only supports HDR content". This is something most LCD TV owners should consider doing. Based on our quick testing, it works as intended. Chromecast still lacks frame rate matching so users should expect video judder, depending on the content.

Chromecast (Google TV) is no longer forcing HDR output

New video setting options make Chromecast a better match for LCD TVs. Screenshot: FlatpanelsHD

Other features, fixes

The update also introduces other video settings, Bluetooth audio and WiFi 5GHz improvements, and a new HDMI CEC option to only turn on/off the TV. It is still running Android 10 but it now has the latest Android security patch from April 2021, up from the December 2020 patch level. Google also recently introduced a number of 4K and Dolby Atmos fixes with its February 2021 update.

Chromecast with Google TV - April 2021 update

Firmware QTS1.210311.005. 116MB. - Advanced Video Controls setting for granular HDR formats, resolution/refresh rate, and color formats - HDMI hotplug improvements helping your Chromecast detect the best TV Settings available - Wi-Fi Improvements for 5Ghz and Mesh networks - Bluetooth Audio stuttering improvements in some Apps - HDMI-CEC can now be configured to turn on/off only the TV in settings - Security update: Android security patch level to April 2021
FlatpanelsHD