Chromecast with Google TV Review 2021
The Chromecast with Google TV underwent a makeover last Fall, and it’s now better than ever.
This streaming device for your TV might be the best at giving you personalized watching recommendations, and it’s only $50, comparable to the Rokus and Fire Sticks.
But Chromecast’s biggest flaw is the inability to stream 4K content across all platforms like you can with the Apple TV.
Let’s get into the details of the Chromecast with Google TV to see if this is your next satellite or cable TV replacement.
- Gives personalized TV series and movie recommendations
- The Chromecast has all of the popular streaming apps
- Easy setup to connect to your TV
- It doesn't support 4K across all streaming platforms
- Not as much internal storage as an Apple TV or NVIDIA SHIELD
How much does Google TV cost?
The Google TV is comparable to the Roku and Fire Stick
The Chromecast by Google is now the same price as the Roku Streaming Stick and Amazon Fire TV Stick, two popular streaming devices.
The Chromecast has become a solid competitor against the Rokus and Firesticks, especially since the Chromecast now comes with a remote.
Friendly advice: don’t get a streaming device that makes you control it with your smartphone. It’s inconvenient when someone is calling you in the middle of your show, and you need to use that same phone to pause the said show.
|Device||Price*||Internal storage||Learn more|
|Chromecast with Google TV||$49.99||8 GB||View on Best Buy|
|Roku Streaming Stick+||$46.65||256 MB||View on Amazon|
|Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K||$49.99||8 GB||View on Amazon|
|Apple TV 4K||$163.99-$182.99||32 GB-64 GB||View on Amazon|
|Amazon Fire TV Cube||$119.99||16 GB||View on Amazon|
*Data effective 4/27/2021. Amazon.com List Prices (as of 4/27/2021 11:00 AM MST)
Consider spending more on an Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV Cube if you would like more storage space. We review these streaming devices and more in our Best Streaming Devices piece.
What does the Chromecast by Google TV come with?
Your Chromecast by Google TV comes with the following in its package:
- The Chromecast streaming device
- Voice and button-controlled remote
- Power cable
- Power adapter
- Batteries (for the remote control)
The Chromecast and the remote control probably weigh one pound combined (so be careful losing that remote inside the couch cushions).
But hey, we’re glad Google finally added a remote. Before, you had to control the streaming device with your smartphone or tablet, which really wasn’t practical.
When you push the voice-remote control’s black button (the Google Assistant), you can say “Westworld” or “show me funny movies” or ask, “what’s the weather like today?”.
And we were pretty happy that the box included the AA batteries for the remote because who wants to search through the junk drawer wishing and hoping you find two good batteries right before you were ready for a binge-watching marathon?
It’s the little things that make us happy.
Which apps does the Chromecast by Google TV have?
All the apps you can find on the Android Store
The Chromecast by Google TV comes with all of the main streaming apps you’d expect (and we wouldn’t expect anything less, Google).
You’ll also find all kinds of apps for sports, news, kids, music, games, fitness, cooking, you name it.
If you don’t already know, the Android Store has a ton of apps. So the fact that you can download any app you can find in the Android Store, the possibilities are endless.
Google TV’s streaming apps include the following:
- Apple TV+
- DISH Anywhere
- HBO Max
- Pluto TV
- Prime Video
- Sling TV
- YouTube TV
Google TV’s various apps include the following:
- CorePower Yoga
- Cosmic Kids Yoga
- Daily Workouts
- Fox News
- Kitchen Stories
- NBC Sports
- PBS KIDS Video
- TED TV
- The Weather Channel
What does the interface of Google TV look like?
It honestly looks similar to Netflix
When you turn on your Chromecast, you’ll find yourself on the “For You” home screen.
This menu does a great job of incorporating content from all of your streaming platforms and gives you solid personalized TV series and movie recommendations.
We saw the most suggestions from Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max.
You’ll find that Google TV’s interface is very similar to that of Netflix. You have your Movies and Shows tabs at the top, and you’ll also find horizontal categories.
Google TV will give you suggestions like a standard streaming service would, such as “Because you watched Palmer,” and movies and shows will be grouped in “Comedies,” “Mysteries,” and “Fantasies.”
And the more often you rate movies and series, the more accurate your recommendations will be.
And there’s another advantage of all of your streaming platforms being connected in one place: you can ask the voice remote to “show me action movies,” and Google TV will bring up action movies from all platforms.
And lastly, kids can have their own space with kid-friendly filters and will be able to view apps such as YouTube Kids, Cartoon Network, PBS Kids, and more.
You can also control how long they watch, and you can also set a bedtime so it turns off right at 9 PM. Now that’s a feature most parents can get behind.
Our take on the new Chromecast by Google TV device
Our very own Craig Hanks gives you his take on the new Chromecast device. He goes over the new equipment, interface, and perks.
Spoiler alert: Almost everything about the new device is positive, but there are a couple of swings and misses.
How do you set up the Chromecast by Google TV?
Simple setup: plug, connect, stream
Setting up your Chromecast will take about 20-25 minutes, and it’s an easy process.
These are the following steps for a successful setup:
- Plug the Chromecast into a power outlet and your TV
- Connect Google account to Chromecast
- Choose to receive a personalized experience and download apps
- Sign into each of your streaming platforms, music apps, and others
You’ll need to download the Google Home app before plugging in your device, and you might need an extension cord if your outlet is more than 3.5-4 feet away from your TV’s HDMI port.
Step One: Connect your Chromecast to your TV
The first step might be obvious, but every device is different.
Connect your cable, adapter, and Chromecast together. Then plug the adapter into your outlet and the Chromecast into the HDMI port of your TV.
Once you plug it in and you put the batteries in the remote, the remote will automatically connect.
Step Two: Pair your Google account to Chromecast
You’ll be greeted with a Welcome page to choose your preferred language, and then you’ll be prompted to scan the QR code on the screen.
This is where your Google Home app comes in.
Sign in to your Google account on the app, and then connect your device to your home internet.
Then you’ll have to wait about eight minutes while it is “Signing in to Chromecast with your Google Account” and “Installing system update.”
After it’s done with this step, you’ll be asked to sign in to your Google account again, but on the screen using the remote (so hopefully you have your Gmail password memorized).
Step Three: Opt in for a personalized experience and download apps
When you get to the screen that asked if you’d like a personalized TV experience, click “Turn On” if you want the unique feature Google TV can give you that you can’t get with any other streaming device.
You then get to select the streaming services you’d like downloaded to your home screen. Then the installation of your apps will take about 5 minutes.
We like that you can choose to download most of your favorite services within 10 seconds rather than needing to find them individually in the app store and download them one by one.
Step Four: Sign into each app you have an account with
After the apps have downloaded, you’ll find yourself at your personalized home screen.
You’ll see all of the suggestions Google TV has given you, but you’ll want to sign in with all of your accounts now so you don’t have to worry about it later.
So when you click on a suggestion that you decide you want to watch, just click “Watch Now” and sit back and relax.
Recap: Is the Chromecast with Google TV worth it?
If you don’t want to spend over $200 for a streaming device, the Chromecast will do the job.
The Chromecast might not have the internal storage space and full 4K quality that an Apple TV might have, but you will get access to all of the streaming apps you need for your living room entertainment.
Chromecast has a feature you can’t find with any other streaming device, and that makes it much more competitive against the Rokus and Firesticks: you get a personalized experience. You will get TV series and movie recommendations based on your interests and likes.
But if the Chromecast by Google TV doesn’t seem like the next streaming device for your home, check out our best streaming devices list for other options.
What is the difference between Google TV and Google TV with Chromecast?
Google TV is an interface on the Chromecast streaming device that combines all of your streaming services, music apps, games, and more. It gives you all of your entertainment suggestions in one place.
The Chromecast is the streaming device that houses Google TV, and currently, you can only stream Google TV with this device or the Android app.
What are some of Chromecast’s hidden features?
Some hidden features of the Chromecast include a button mapper (where you can reprogram the buttons on your remote), you can listen to the radio with TuneIn, and enjoy Barstool Sports content.
We have compiled a list of 10 New Chromecast Hidden Gems so you can get the most out of your streaming device.
What are some of Chromecast’s tips and tricks?
You can reprogram the buttons on your Chromecast remote with the Button Mapper app. You can also rearrange your homepage so your most-watched streaming services are more easily accessible.
Check out these two tricks and four others with our Top 6 Chromecast Tips and Tricks for Maximum Awesomeness.
What do you think?
Do you have Google TV? What’s your experience with it been?
Or do you like a different provider better? Drop us a comment below!