Needless to say, the current lineup of Chromecasts is a bit long in the teeth. We are waiting for a new version to launch, just to keep waiting and waiting. With the popularity of Fire TV Stick sky-rocketing, with the popularity of Roku and even a refresh for NVIDIA Shield TV, just a little time. This will take us to Chromecast with Google TV, introduced next to Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5.
Chromecast with Google TV Details
- Chromecast on Google TV
- Dimensions: 162mm x 61mm x 12.5mm
- Weight: 55g
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4 GHz / 5 GHz)
- Resolution: Up to 4K HDR, 60 FPS
- Formats: Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10 +
- Color: Sky, Snow, Sunrise
- Voice Remote
- Dimensions: 122mm x 38mm x 18mm
- Weight: 63g
- Sensors: Accelerometer
- Connectivity: Bluetooth, Infrared Sensor to control the TV
- Microphone: Integrated for Google Assistant
- Strength: 2 AAA batteries (included)
What is ‘Google TV’?
For years, Google shut down “Android TV” as the main interface of streaming services. With the release of the 2020 Chromecast, a new version will be available, but it is not yet a fully replaced replacement. Google TV is still based on Android TV, but will eventually go to existing Android TV devices. Google has confirmed that the rollout of various streaming devices and TVs will start in 2021, starting with some Sony TVs powered by Android TV.
Instead of focusing primarily on streaming services like Netflix and the rebranding Google Play Movies app, Google TV also aims to act as your all-in-one hub for everyone, including Live TV. With the launch of this new streaming stick, you can now access all your streaming services in one place, including YouTube TV preferences. Although, we hope to see other live TV services like Hulu heading to Google TV in the near future.
The Streaming Stick
Google chose to keep things simple on the Chromecast itself, moving to a matte finish for the “puck” instead of the shiny black finish found in previous generations. Chromecast on Google TV comes in three different colors, though the Sky and Sunrise versions have proven to be elusive, as the new colors make people happier than the simple white version. It’s also a bit odd that they come in so many different colors, considering that the dongle can hang on the back of your television, but hey, on each of them themselves.
The Chromuck puck carries the basic G logo found on Pixel devices, with the HDMI cable connected to a thin strap that folds back and attaches to the back of the puck via a magnet. Below, you will find tedious regulatory information, including a single LED light and a reset button. Below, Google has added a USB-C port that should be used to maintain Chromecast power. Talking about power, make sure you have a free plug on your power strip, as you will need to plug in Chromecast to start the party.
For many, one of the biggest reasons people stopped snatching a Chromecast and instead opted into the likes of the Fire TV Stick from Amazon went down a notch. Not everyone has enough technology to know how to really Cast something from their phone to the big screen, while others do not want to face it.
Adding a remote is the way to go, and Google did just that with the new Chromecast on Google TV. It gives you the ability to interact with an interface, as opposed to just trying to load content from different apps on your phone. It also does not include issues that can occur when trying to cast from your phone, in the event that your friends want to show something, but do not want to connect to Wi-Fi or whatever the case may be.
Google has simplified everything with this new Chromecast, as it has an available interface, complete with a small remote. Fortunately, Google did not go the Apple route of creating a remote that primarily relies on gestures with a touchpad. Instead, we actually get buttons on this remote.
There are buttons for the following:
- Come back
- Google Assistant
- Change TV Source
If you are wondering about where the volume controls are, just look at the right side of the remote. They’re smart hidden, and I honestly didn’t think Google included volume controls when I first started messing with Chromecast. Another thing that can be hidden is the microphone for Google Assistant interactions, as it is placed between the Source and source input buttons near the bottom. It may take a while, as my thumb rests on the top of the microphone when I first get the Chromecast.
Google obviously wants to pay attention to the details, most of the time somehow. Chromecast with a Google TV remote is powered by two AAA batteries, but when you open the battery housing, you will find that the batteries match the color of your remote and Chromecast. It was a beautiful touch and something we certainly did not expect. Hopefully, Google will start selling those batteries alone, but we are not stopping them.
Enough words about the design and all that jazz. What is this new Google TV interface about? During initial setup, you will need to use the Google Home app on your smartphone of choice, regardless of whether you are using iOS or Android. You’ll then be able to get set up on your television, as you can actually use the Chromecast remote to control your TV, including the interface.
Once everything is set up and your accounts have been added, you will be greeted with a new Google TV Home Screen. At the top, the following sections greet you:
- For you
- Long live
The only potential catch is in the “Live” tab, as it will only appear if you have YouTube TV installed on your Chromecast on Google TV. Otherwise, it will not appear at the top of your screen. Sa Search, it shows some different recommended commands for Google Assistant, along with some recommendations to try to find a new watch. For you, provides an overview of your installed apps, some trending content (including YouTube), and the ability to adjust your recommendations to the bottom.
Ang Movies at Shows The sections are somewhat explanatory, as Google TV gives you the ability to browse a variety of content. With Apps, not only have you been given access to the apps you already have installed, but you can also go through and find some new apps to try and download on your Chromecast on Google TV. Finally, Library provides instant access to all the movies and shows you own via Google Play, including anything on your “Watch List”.
The interface interaction is really smooth and seamless, and we did not experience any stutter or hiccup, even if you were trying to quickly switch from one movie to another. The only real problem we encountered was during the initial set up, as our remote had difficulty setting up the ability to control my Samsung TV. After some re-testing, we were able to use everything as expected. Other than that, Google Assistant responses are fast and quick, and we get some movies without having to try. Plus, the recommendations are easy to use on more than one occasion if we are too tired to think and just want to put something before bed.
Where is Stadia?
This is the biggest headline announcement ever since the latest Google event. With the upcoming Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 launches, and the Xbox Game Pass coming out in beta status, this will be the perfect time for Google to try and get some of the gaming magic with its own game streaming service , Stadia. But that is not the only case.
Instead, Google is “playing safe” for some strange reason, and will not bring Stadia support to Chromecast using Google TV until “the first half of 2021”. Sorry, what? That is an absurd timeline for a streaming service that will be available in a few hours now, and will be a major selling point for the latest streaming stick you offer. The delay is unreasonable, and while it may not matter to many, it could be a way for Google to get more people to convert from the Fire TV Stick.
No, I’m not angry. I was just disappointed.
Google TV Review Chromecast: Conclusion
For just $ 40, Chromecast with Google TV has the opportunity to evict Fire TV Stick owners who prefer to have Google Home instead of Alexa. The interface is cleaner throughout, and except for the remote hiccups during the initial set up, no one really complains about it. Almost all of the top streaming services are available and available to you, except for Apple TV +. That should not come as a surprise, but it is a failure. I mean, how else can I watch Ted Lasso if I can’t use my new Chromecast?
So should you buy Chromecast on Google TV? Google has completely put Amazon and Roku on notice at this time, and the remote complement to the Google Assistant shortcut is a dream come true. Now if you do not forgive me, I will try and get a set of Nest Audio for some ambient sound.
- The remote is amazing and a welcome addition
- New colors with matching batteries
- The interface is fast and smooth
- 4K HDR support
- Stadia will not be compatible until 2021
- The microphone is easy to cover-up
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for a new streaming stick and don’t want to deal with Amazon, or just want to replace your current Chromecast, then get Chromecast on Google TV. You are not exaggerated in controlling your streams with a smartphone, as the remote is the perfect addition. Seriously, this is the almost perfect streaming stick for everyone, not just Google fans.