A $20 Chromecast with Google TV is perfect for this one reason

Chromecast with Google TV.
Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

Normally, I would never recommend that someone buy a streaming device that tops out at 1080p resolution. Even if you somehow don’t have a 4K TV already — I’m not judging, there are plenty of good reasons — you might well have one in the future. And at that point, it’s better to not have to buy new hardware until absolutely necessary. Just go ahead and spend the extra $30 now for a 4K version.

But it’s hard to say no to a $20 Chromecast with Google TV HD.

I wouldn’t use this on my main television. When it comes to the TV I’ll be watching most — whether that’s in the living room, or the bedroom, or wherever — I think it’s worth spending a few extra bucks to get the best streaming device you can afford. Not that everything you ever watch will be available in 4K resolution. And there’s an argument to be made that maybe you won’t even notice the difference. (We’ve long said that a good 1080p stream is better than a bad 4K stream.)

If there’s a single use case that makes sense for a $20 streaming device, it’s this: Put it in your travel bag, and leave it there. Do not take it out when you return home. This is your on-the-go streaming device, and it shall never be more than that.

I’m on the road a fair amount. Whether it’s long distances for work (and fortunately, that’s not as often as it used to be), or shorter regional trips for the kids’ soccer tournaments, I’ve lived out of a bag plenty. The novelty wears off pretty quickly, especially when it comes to the quality of the televisions in the hotel room. The little bit of normalcy that comes with being able to watch your channels on your streaming service of choice goes a long way.

Buy at GoogleIn fact, Chromecast With Google TV (the full 4K version) has lived in my go-bag for a long time. There are a few reasons for that. One is that it’s small. The dongle, remote, and charger don’t take up much space at all. (Kudos to whomever opted for a plug whose prongs fold into the body of the power supply.)

The second reason — and perhaps the most important — is that it doesn’t cost a lot of money. It’s about one-third the cost of my at-home platform of choice, the Apple TV 4K. And the trade-off of not having 4K for a few hours in a hotel is one I’m willing to make. Eventually I’m going to be in a rush to check out and will accidentally leave the Chromecast attached to the hotel-room TV. It hasn’t happened yet, knock on wood. But if and when it does, I’ll only be out $50.

Or, if you take advantage of this $20 Chromecast sale, you’ll only be out a couple Hamiltons.