Chromecast with Google TV – Yes!
In 2013, Google released the Chromecast to give android users the ability to cast their phones and applications to their TV; a competitor for the Apple TV. Then came other devices such as the Fire TV and Roku Stick. There was one thing required in order to use a Chromecast, though: a cell phone. That changed in September 2020, when Google released the Chromecast with Google TV. As a previous user of the older generation Chromecasts, I’m excited to upgrade to this version.
Chromecast Features and Design
Chromecast with Google TV is a 6.4 by 2.4-inch dongle with an accompanying voice remote. Connecting to TVs (or monitors) with an HDMI plug, the Chromecast with Google TV provides up to 4K HDR and 60 frames per second resolution. It’s powered by USB Type-C power and connects to the internet via Wi-Fi 80.11ac (2.4GHz/5GHz).
The remote is powered by 2 AAA batteries and connects to the Chromecast via Bluetooth. The remote has a directional pad at the top, a mute, home, back, and Google Assistant button, and dedicated Youtube and Netflix buttons. It also has an Infrared (IR) sensor to control turning on/off your TV, changing the inputs/source, and adjusting the volumes with the buttons on the side of the remote.
After powering up your Chromecast with Google TV, the setup goes through a process of:
- Synchronizing the remote to the Chromecrast
- Configure the Chromecast settings either through your Home app on your phone or through the TV.
- Configure Wi-Fi.
- Assign the Chromecast to any of your Home “rooms” if applicable.
- Sign in to streaming applications.
- Configure the remote to work with your TV brand.
The setup is pretty straightforward with simple prompts on the screen. Even setting up the buttons with your TV is a cinch. The Chromecast asks what brand your TV is and then begins to go through the specific codes while you test each button, ensuring it works correctly with your TV.
After setup, the Google TV OS appears. The OS lumps together all your movies and TV shows from every streaming service you’ve linked to the Chromecast. Google TV also presents movies that you can purchase even if they aren’t available through a streaming service.
Bringing TV Back To Life
I used the 2nd Generation of the Chromecast for a while. It only had the dongle. With it, my children often asked to put something on their 32-inch, 8-year-old LCD TV. I would have to go through my phone and then send a signal to their TV. If it was Netflix, it would ask “Are you still there?” after a few episodes, resulting in a stampede heading in my direction until I resume the show. It became a distraction, especially if they alternated between various shows. Now, Chromecast with Google TV allows my kids to just take the remote and tell Google Assistant to tune into their favorite Youtuber or show on Netflix.
The Chromecasts with Google TV were so beneficial to us that we purchased two (Sky and Sunrise color versions). We do have a Smart TV, but with our living conditions, that TV is currently in storage. Using another ‘dumb’ TV, this is making streaming so much easier and I can also ask Google Assistant to take care of any connected devices I have set up.
Chromecast Wi-Fi Hiccups
Throughout my past few months of using the Chromecast with Google TV, I ran into an issue with Wi-Fi disconnects. It would seem that the Chromecast would turn off its Wi-Fi on its own. I would see a “Wi-Fi Disconnected” message and go to settings, only to see that Wi-Fi had been turned off. I found out that this issue seemed to be consistent with other owners after looking for online solutions a week prior to this review. One suggestion mentioned turning off the Chromecast’s sleep mode. I tried this on one of the two and have not seen the Wi-Fi turn off for about a week. I do not know if this is a definite fix for now, but so far I have not seen Google acknowledge this issue, nor has pushed a fix for it.
Hey Google, I Like This
I’ve been finding the Chromecast with Google TV to be a very cool and useful device to use. Since I owned Google mini speakers, I skipped out on Amazon Alexa and Apple products. If Chromecast with Google TV is anything like what the other products had to offer, I’ve been missing out on a lot. I’m glad I decided to upgrade my old Chromecasts. It makes streaming the subscribed services so much easier.
At the time of this review, you can find the Chromecast with Google TV at the Google store for $49.99. Additionally, you can purchase the voice remote alone for $19.99.