Chromecast Ultra can’t stream photos from Google Photos at 4K resolution
The Google Chromecast Ultra was launched as an upgrade over the previous Chromecast. Featuring 4K playback with HDR and Dolby Vision, the Chromecast Ultra also came with an Ethernet port to facilitate smoother 4K streaming. Needless to say, the primary selling point of the Chromecast was its 4K capabilities.
However, the Ultra does not always stream in 4K, even when you think it should. When casting photos from the Google Photos app to a Chromecast Ultra, the content is cast at 1080p resolution, even when other conditions are fulfilled. So even if your Chromecast is linked to a 4K TV, and the content you wish to cast from Google Photos is higher resolution, the Ultra will restrict itself to 1080p.
We reached out to Google for comment on the issue, to which they confirmed that this is intended behavior for now.
“Thanks for reaching out. Just confirming that at this time, 4K photos will not cast in 4K resolution with Chromecast Ultra.”
While there is nothing inherently wrong with casting at 1080p in this instance since it affects only a subset of use cases, it is still an important point for the end consumer to know since 4K support is a key selling point of the device. The Ultra boasts of 4K capabilities, but not in each and every situation. Despite the shortcoming, the Chromecast Ultra continues to be a great additional accessory for your 4K TV. The company recently refreshed the standard model, but not with 4K support, so the Ultra is still the device to get if you want 4K casting support.
It is unknown if Google plans to push an update to support 4K casting through Google Photos on the Chromecast Ultra. We will update the article in case we come to know.