Google introduced its new reinvented Google Chromecast TV recently, with a more advanced interface and a better streaming experience similar to the one offered by Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV.
Google designed a new user interface that can stream content from Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and HBO Max using a regular remote. In addition to the revamped interface and the remote, the new device offers:
- 4K support
- Dolby Vision support
- Dolby Atmos support
- Various built-in apps to choose from
The new device is dubbed “Chromecast with Google TV”, and comes with a starting price of 49.99$ which is 20$ cheaper than Chromecast Ultra that doesn’t come with a TV interface or a remote.
The new Google TV software is very functional making it user friendly. Also, you can stream content on your TV from your mobile device using Chromecast.
Google Chromecast TV pros
- 4K, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support
- User-friendly software with various content option
- The remote control works with both IR and HDMI-CEC
Google Chromecast TV cons
- The infrequent slowdown in performance
- No home screen customization
- No built-in app for Apple TV
Google Chromecast TV
The new Google Chromecast is an oval-shaped dongle that can be plugged into your TV screen through an HDMI port and comes with a 7.5-watt power brick to get it going. The device itself uses a USB-C port.
The new Google Chromecast TV runs on Android TV OS, offering various apps to choose what you like. You will find apps for popular streaming services such as HBO Max, Peacock, Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, Disney Plus, Vudu, Plex and more.
However, it doesn’t come with the Apple TV Plus app.
The new remote control is certainly a good addition. It has a shape almost similar to Rokus’ remote with its minimalistic design to feel comfortable in the palm of your hands.
The remote offers:
- A dedicated Google Assistant button for voice control and search
- Shortcuts for YouTube and Netflix
- Use HDMI-CEC and IR, giving you buttons for power and volume
- An input button for switching your TV to the Chromecast
- 2 AAA battery power
The remote uses Google assistant for voice control, which offers a reliable experience. You can ask your voice assistant to stream content or search for certain streaming services.
Streaming and software
You can go open, navigate and stream from your favorite streaming service easily through the app.
The Google Chromecast TV is the only streaming Android device in the market that comes with “Google TV” software that can replace the regular Android TV home screen entirely. Google offers a smooth user experience with functionally almost similar to the Apple TV app.
Google TV displays content available on various streaming platforms side by side, for easier navigation. It groups the available content in sections that include For You, Movies, Shows, Apps and Library where you can navigate through them from the top navigation bar. Each section shows the available content in different streaming services specifying the source of every content. Some content shows the average review from the Rotten Tomatoes website.
Google TV does an excellent job of collecting content from different streaming services, which can be useful when using TV services like Sling TV.
For YouTube TV customers, google added a “live” tab to the main Google TV interface, to enter the channel guide directly.
Installing your account for specific streaming services will make Google prioritized them in your recommendations before other non-subscribed content.
If you are not subscribed to a certain service you will find a lock icon under the content provided in this service.
You can’t block a certain service from the recommendations, yet you can like or dislike individual content or add it to your watchlist with a long-press on the center button.
You can easily display more details about a specific item, you can click on it.
For example, if you can stream this content through different services it will be shown, with free and subscribed options as a priority.
Google TV won’t show conspicuous advertising while using it, although some of the recommendations feel like it’s paid advertisement. However, the “trending on Google” and “YouTube recommended videos” rows are not considered a sort of advertisement as they are owned by Google.
The Library tab still needs to be improved to increase its efficiency, as it shows the content in a single horizontal row.
You can enable “apps-only mode” from settings to switch from Google TV, which hides all recommendations from your home screen and disables search and Google Assistant features. Enabling this mode makes the Chromecast experience feel a bit clumsy.
The new Google Chromecast TV offers smooth high-quality streaming without any noticeable interruptions, even for 4K HDR content. The gadget has a responsive performance, with minimal inertia.
- You can sideload apps, explore developer settings or else using the Android TV operating system.
- Pairing Bluetooth gamepads will give you a great gaming experience through Stadia or streaming Xbox games.
- Google Chromecast TV accepts a wired internet connection from some USB-C hubs with Ethernet.
- You can use it to control your smart home using Google assistant
- The ambient mode will turn your TV screen into a picture frame, where you can set it to display photos from the Google Photos library.
At the end…
The new Google Chromecast TV is a good offering from Google, yet it may contain some issues here and there.
You will take some time to get used to the software, however, you will get the hang of it eventually and enjoy a great user experience.
On the downside, the “continue watching” feature only supports selected apps such as Netflix. Also, the home screen can’t be fully customized.
Overall, the new Google Chromecast TV is considered an excellent 4K streaming device that is easier to use than Roku and Amazon offerings.