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Chromecast with Google TV Review

The Roffel home has been a Google home for long before I began reviewing Google products. We had the Google Home, the Nest Hub, and even a Google Chromecast. We loved all our Google products, except one – that darn Chromecast. No matter how much we tried to work with that product, it never seemed to suit are needs. Without a remote, we either had to provide voice commands to get things to load, or have a cell phone handy. You’d be shocked how many times we went to watch TV without our phones, and when voice commands just wouldn’t work how you hoped.

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I had given up on Chromecast devices from Google.

During this years Launch Night In, Google released yet another Chromecast, and highlighted this one as coming with Google TV. That’s fine and dandy, but I want a rem…..oh, wait a second. Chromecast with Google TV comes with a remote? Now I’m intrigued, and thanks to Google Canada, we’ve been using this device for just over a week, and here are our thoughts!

Remote Makes the Difference

It’s shocking how a remote can make such a difference in viewing pleasure. While I believe Google has vastly improved the voice commands having a remote allows my wife and I to better navigate the Chromecast. We previously wrote that we had issues using voice commands on the Canada English setting, but things seem to be working now on that front. And of course, with a remote comes a full UI that doesn’t look all that different from Amazon’s Fire Stick when you first load it up. It’s clean and easy to understand, and with a built in Google Play store, you can find a ton of apps to add to your dashboard to improve the functionality of your device.

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The remote is standard fare as far as remotes go. Volume rockers on the side like a phone is a nice touch, but like other casting devices, you’ll have your typical home, back, voice, and even Netflix and YouTube buttons. With a few different colour options, you aren’t necessarily stuck with another black remote, either.

Setup Hindrances

Getting the Chromecast setup was fairly easy, although without a handy mobile phone, it can take frustratingly long for as many things you need to accomplish. If someone were to ask, I’d suggest ONLY setting up your Chromecast if you have a phone handy – any other way is just a giant waste of time. What I would have liked from a product perspective, however, is a slightly longer power cable. Understandably, I’m fairly certain that Google expects folks to have an outlet not far from their TVs, but for those that have TVs mounted higher than normal – on a mantel, perhaps, or angled down from a corner – the included cord will be woefully too short to reach any outlets.

Google TV is for You

When developing the Google TV, Google wanted to focus everything on you, the user. How will your experience be while using the TV. Google algorithms work hard to recommend content across all your subscriptions, suggesting shows and movies you might enjoy. Like all interfaces, Google provides you a multitude of different panels – Search, For You, Movies, Shows, Apps, and Library. The “For You” panel is where Google TV is trying to do the most work, and it does an OK job, more often suggesting things I would actually like – or have noted to my wife I would want to watch – as opposed to things I didn’t really care for. It’s not perfect, but I would say 70-75% of the items listed on this panel where things I would want to watch.

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Ultimately, most US based streaming apps function quite well with Google TV – as per friends experiences. Whether they are using the Hulu app, History Channel app, or a host of other apps, Google is filtering through all the content available to make strong recommendations. Again, friends have indicated it is not perfect, but it’s a pretty darn good start.

Not all is Perfect

Not everything with Chromecast with Google TV is perfect. We’ve noted above about our issues with the devices cord length, but one other major missing feature has us a bit bummed. Stadia will not be supported on this iteration of the Chromecast until sometime in 2021 – for someone who plays Stadia a lot, this is a huge miss for me.

It would be understandable if Stadia was third party software that Chromecast supported, but we are talking about a Google gaming streaming service and a Google streaming device. The assumption that both would work with each other, on day one, shouldn’t have been something we wondered if we would get – it should have been something ready for day one. For those looking to upgrade their device, this is definitely worth noting – you’ll need to keep that Chromecast Ultra around for the time being.

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Conclusion

With 4K and HDR support, movie and TV show aficionados will find lots to love about the new Chromecast with Google TV. The device itself is small and discrete, and hides behind your TV nicely. The included remote and brand new user interface makes navigating and using Google’s latest streaming device a breeze. There are a number of reasons you might not want this device – only 8 GB of onboard storage, no 4K upscaling to name a few – the average North America viewer will love how Google has brought all your streaming services together, and will enjoy a clean interface with a fantastic remote. And for only 69.99 CAD, it fits right in with most of the competition.

 

Article By

blank Adam Roffel has only been writing about video games for a short time, but has honed his skills completing a Master's Degree. He loves Nintendo, and almost anything they have released...even Tomodachi Life.

Follow Adam on:
Twitter: @AdamRoffel