A great approach for your Smart TV!
Ok, I admit it I was never really a big fan of the original Chromecast devices as they heavily depended on the apps being installed on my phone.
In all fairness, it was still a pretty good concept, but I found Roku and the Amazon Firestick better and let’s not forget that some smart TVs already come with a pretty decent system built in.
Around a year ago, I decided to purchase a 4K Chromecast with Google TV using the Google Store credit that I’ve accumulated. In all fairness, I didn’t know what to expect and having used various smart TV systems over the years, the new Chromecast had a lot to compete with.
But I was in for a pleasant surprise and after using the device for almost a year, I decided to share the 5 things I like the most about the new Chromecast with Google TV built-in.
1. Voice Remote
Let’s start with the remote control, as it’s the main device you use to control the new Chromecast.
One of the main differences between the old and the new Chromecast is that it comes with a pretty neat remote.
Not only does the remote look clean and minimalistic, but it also supports voice control which can be extremely useful, especially if you don’t like typing on your TV using a remote control.
I like the style Google went with for the remote as it looks great and feels great in my hand. The remote is very simple and has two shortcut buttons, one for YouTube and the other for Netflix. It also has a mute button, a back button and your standard controls.
On the right-hand side of the remote, you will find volume control which allows you to control your TV’s volume providing that it’s compatible with your TV.
I’ve been primarily using the Chromecast with the bedroom TV which happens to be a basic 32-inch Toshiba TV I picked up at a bargain price. But I am now planning to get a second HD Chromecast with Google TV for the bedroom and use the 4K one in the living room.
The reason I’m mentioning the TV I use the Chromecast with is because I set up the remote to also be able to control the TV, which my Toshiba TV supports quite well as I can change the volume and power the TV on and off.
To make things even better, I can use the remote control that came with the TV to control the Chromecast, which is not something I do often as the remote that came with the Chromecast is just so much better.
I can also control the Chromecast using the Google Home app on my phone, which is great when you lose the remote. The only downside is that if you control the Chromecast using your phone, it won’t interact with the TV.
2. Stunning Interface
The next thing I wanted to talk about is the stunning interface, I’ve tried so many smart TV systems over the years including Apple TV and pure Android, but my favourite interface has got to be the one provided by Google TV.
It’s just so clear and everything makes sense!
The home page is called the For you page and it has a wide range of things listed including your top pics, your apps, things that you’re watching and other popular item
At the top you have your top pics listed and that works with a wide range of apps including YouTubre, BBC iPlayer and even Prime Video! I find that it’s a great way of discovering new content.
Below that you have your apps listed and that’s another thing I like about Google TV, you have access to a wide range of apps through the Google Play Store. If you’re using an Android device, you can even install apps remotely using the Google Play Store app on your phone.
As a whole, I like the way Google TV interacts with all the other apps and gives you suggestions based on what you’re watching within those apps.
Another thing I like is that when I search for a movie, it gives me suggestions on what app to watch it on. So if I want to watch Home Alone as it’s almost that time of the year, I simply search for Home Alone and it will give me suggestions on where to watch it as well as information about the movie.
3. Google Assistant Support
The fact that the Chromecast with Google TV supports Google Assistant is phenomenal!
It works by there being a built-in microphone in the Google TV remote and you activate it by holding the Google Assistant button on your remote.
I find it great as you can use Google Assistant to find movies and TV series without having to type the name of the movie in.
To make things even better, if you have a Google Nest in your room, you can use voice control to control the Chromecast. For example, you can ask Google Assistant to pause and play your TV and open certain apps.
I find this to be a great feature as you don’t even have to use the remote if you don’t want to which is great if you are busy with other things and can’t find the remote control.
4. App Support
I know that app support has improved over the years on other platforms but with access to the Google Play Store, the device has access to a wide range of apps from all around the world.
I find this to be very important to me as a bilingual person as it means I can access both English and Polish streaming services with ease.
Whether I can use them or not depends on the terms of the app, but I find that I can watch many Polish services such as Polsat Box Go.
I don’t know what it’s like for other languages but it’s worth giving a try.
Apart from TV streaming services, you also have access to a wide range of other apps including sports apps, productivity tools, educational apps as well as business and communication apps.
Although I never tried it, you can even have Google Meet on there, which is great for business!
The last thing I wanted to talk about is the overall performance of the device. I find that it performs incredibly well and during my time of using the device, I have never experienced any crashes or lag which is important.
Having used devices like Firestick’s and Roku’s over the years, I know that they slow down over time, that is something I just haven’t seen yet on the Chromecast with Google TV. It seems to generally perform really well.
Combined with a well-designed interface, the overall experience of navigating through the system is incredibly smooth and generally enjoyable, which is not something I can say for other platforms.
In fact, the last TV device I enjoyed using was the Apple TV, especially with that epic remote. But the Chromecast with Google TV is a whole new level of smart TV in my opinion, especially on the cheaper end of things.
Overall, after using the Chromecast with Google TV for 11 months, I am incredibly satisfied with the purchase and I am definitely thinking about getting another one for the living room.
Whether I get another 4K one or just buy the HD one to swap in the bedroom is another question, But I am definitely thinking about buying another one.
That’s another point, the device comes available in two variations, an HD one and a 4K one. The HD one usually costs around £34.99 but is currently on sale for £22.99 at the time of writing this article.
Whereas, the 4K one usually costs £59.99 but is currently on sale for £39.99 at the time of writing this article, which I think is a bargain in both cases considering what you are getting.
To top that off, the 4K version of the device is available in 3 different colours including Sky, Sunrise and Snow, which is what I have.