As Google’s hallmark casting tool plays catch up with the Fire TV.
Chromecast with Google TV
Google is finally giving the Chromecast an arm and a leg – and a remote control. In its 2020 avatar, Google’s hallmark casting tool is much more than well, a casting tool, as it plays catch up with the Fire TV. This starts with the software. It’s still based on Android TV but there’s a whole new skin on top that Google is calling Google TV, same reason why the dongle is also called Chromecast with Google TV.
The naming convention is in line with Google’s ongoing efforts to streamlines most – if not all – of its products and services, though the name Google TV in itself isn’t new. If anything, Google is only making things more complicated in its second rendition. Google TV by definition is the software that powers the new Chromecast. It should be available for third-party devices soon enough. Google TV is also an app that is replacing the Google Play Movies & TV app on Android phones as Google goes after Apple TV.
Regardless, it brings visible changes to Android TV with a new and hopefully improved home screen. The traditional methodology to focus on specific apps is out of the window in favor of something far more useful – content aggregation. It is now a “smart” array of content from multiple apps with dedicated tabs for movies and TV shows, with the intent of keeping users engaged with relevant things to watch tailored for them (based on their viewing pattern) without the hassle of sifting through each and every service they’ve subscribed to one by one.
An interesting thing to note here is that while the Google TV software is home to all major streaming apps, the Chromecast with Google TV prioritizes YouTube TV and for some curious reason, Netflix, with their own buttons on the remote control. Speaking of which, the bundled remote, which has been a long time coming, supports both Bluetooth and IR, and comes with power, volume and Google Assistant buttons.
Everything else about the new Chromecast is familiar if you’ve crossed paths with the Chromecast Ultra. It connects to your TV through HDMI and can stream 4K HDR and Dolby Vision content from streaming services at up to 60 frames per second, the biggest takeaway being that you no longer need a phone for this. All this is in addition to its widely used cast functionality.
The Chromecast with Google TV costs $49.99 (roughly Rs 3,700) in the US where it is already available to buy. India pricing and availability are yet to be announced.