Google’s Chromecast with Google TV (2020) is a revelation – it fixes something that wasn’t broken, and improves a nearly perfect technology in a tangible way. And it’s all thanks to the remote and Google’s ‘new’ software, Google TV.
Combined, the two offer a massive uptick in usability over previous Chromecasts that required you to use your phone or tablet to Cast content rather than giving you an on-screen interface to interact with.
But now that Google has added a dedicated TV interface that you control with a remote, you have instant access to most of the major streaming services, including Disney Plus, HBO Max and even the streaming app of its biggest competitor, Amazon Prime Video. On top of that, there are a number of apps that have been carried over from Android TV, Google TV’s predecessor, that bring games and productivity apps to the streamer.
The result is a retooled streaming device that might resemble its predecessors, but which offers a whole new experience that’s more user-friendly for folks who are used to using a remote control and an easily navigable interface.
- Ovular design akin to the original Chromecast
- Comes with a remote!
- Can be powered by some TVs, or from the wall
For the last three years Google has stuck to a hockey-puck shape for its Chromecast devices, and it’s done so again for the Chromecast with Google TV. The latest design is slightly more elongated than before, but by and large it’s pretty similar to its predecessors.
Again you’ll connect the Chromecast to your TV via an attached HDMI cable (which, thankfully, uses the latest spec, HDMI 2.1) and draw power from either a wall outlet or via a USB port on your TV… if you’re lucky.
We actually plugged the Chromecast into the back of a new Vizio V-Series TV, and were informed that it couldn’t draw enough power from the set’s USB port. This could be frustrating for anyone who doesn’t have many remaining free power outlets in the vicinity of their entertainment center, but most people won’t be bothered by plugging the Chromecast into the wall.
Unlike the Chromecast Ultra, there’s no Ethernet jack on the Chromecast with Google TV, which means it will only work over Wi-Fi. According to Google you’ll be able to buy a USB-C to Ethernet adapter for the Chromecast with Google TV, but one isn’t included in the box.
On a more positive note, this new-and-improved Chromecast does come with a Bluetooth/IR remote. The plastic zapper is a bit on the flimsy side, but it comes fully stocked with a circular keypad, a volume rocker on the side and eight front buttons. If your TV supports HDMI-CEC you can control the volume of the TV with the Chromecast remote, and even power-down both the TV and Chromecast when you’re done watching.
Because this is the first revamped Google TV product it does, of course, have a Google Assistant button on the remote that you can use to summon the eponymous virtual assistant – which we’ll talk more about in the next section.Buy the Google Chromecast with Google Tv Best price online from CELLULAR KENYA,Nairobi
- You’ll need a Google account to use it
- Casting works with iOS and Android phones
- Most streaming apps are here except Apple TV and Stadia
As you’d expect from a product with ‘Google TV’ in its name, the new Chromecast really caters to the Android audience out there: you’ll use your Google account as a login for the device, and you’ll then have access to Google Assistant, YouTube/YouTube TV (if you have an account), the Play Store, Google Photos, and Nest devices if you have them.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first Android TV-based device to incorporate Google Assistant – Sony TVs have been using it for years, and it’s even used by the new Nvidia Shield – but it does feel right at home here. For those concerned about privacy, Google Assistant only turns on when the button on the remote is pressed, and you can outright disable the service when logging in with your Google account at startup.
Tapping into your Google account will also populate the main screen of the Chromecast’s UI with relevant and recommended content. If you’re familiar with Android TV, this will all look super-familiar to you, but for the uninitiated it’s a veritable smorgasbord of content compiled from different sources. For example, on our home screen we have Captain America: The First Avenger (most likely because we binged the Marvel movies in order) and Parks and Recreation, among other comedies and sci-fi films.
Scroll down a bit more from your recommended content row and you’ll find Netflix-esque rows of content that are grouped together by genre, a row of recommended videos from YouTube and finally trending shows and movies. Move from the For You tab and you’ll find separate areas for movies, shows, apps and your own library that, unless you frequently buy movies from Google Play Movies and TV, could be quite barren. There’s also a Live TV section, but that will only appear if you subscribe to YouTube TV. (Google does include a free trial inside the box, but you’ll still have to pay for it once the trial ends.)
When you select something to watch, you can either immediately start watching it or add it to your Watch List so that you can find it again later. Google TV also uses a thumbs up / down system to help you improve the recommendations it makes. Last but not least, there’s a halfway decent built-in search feature that can show you several ways in which to stream a certain movie or show, but it’s not nearly as robust as Roku’s built-in search engine.
The interface isn’t revolutionary and can feel a bit basic, but those are really our biggest complaints about it so far, otherwise Google TV seems easy-to-use and gets the job done.
In terms of app support, all the main players are here including Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, Sling, HBO Max and Disney Plus, plus over 6,500 lesser known apps that Google TV has inherited from Android TV. The only major missing app here are is Apple TV, which is a bit disappointing considering it doesn’t support AirPlay, either.