Google announced the new Chromecast with Google TV (HD) on September 22, 2022.
This is essentially the same Chromecast as the company announced two years earlier, but it’s HD only instead of offering up to 4K resolution. It comes in at a lower price point, with the primary aim to compete with Roku’s offerings. Roku offers HD streamers at the same price, and it has helped them become the number one streaming platform. Google wants a slice of that, so in comes the Chromecast with Google TV (HD).
What is the Chromecast with Google TV (HD)?
Chromecast with Google TV (HD) a continuation of the fourth-generation Chromecast, which turned out to be a massive hit for Google when it was announced back in 2013. It was originally a $35 dongle that you plugged into your TV and instantly able to stream all sorts of content to your TV with ease. So the new Chromecast with Google TV (HD) is actually the cheapest Chromecast to date.
Now, seven years later, it was time for Google to improve the Chromecast. So here comes Chromecast with Google TV (HD). It now includes a physical remote control, and has an actual interface. Chromecast, never had an actual interface. Instead, you would hit the Cast button on your phone in a specific app, and that was it. Chromecast with Google TV (HD) has Android TV baked in, so it’s not an entirely new operating system, but the Google TV launcher on top is brand new.
The Chromecast with Google TV (HD) is made completely from recycled materials. So by purchasing the new Chromecast, you’re actually helping the environment. This is likely also why some of the parts of the Chromecast – the remote and batteries – have an interesting texture.
What is Google TV?
Google TV is the new launcher that is on top of Android TV on Chromecast with Google TV. This might all sound very confusing, especially if you remember the fact that Google had Google TV up until it killed it off in 2014 in favor of Android TV.
But now Google TV is back, sort of. It’s a new launcher on Android TV, that aims to make it easier to find content to watch on your big screen. There are a few new tabs at the top, that highlight different content. So the “Live” tab will highlight what is currently on TV, if you are a YouTube TV subscriber. Movies and Shows highlight movies and TV shows you can watch from a variety of different apps that are installed – as well as Google Play. Then there is the Apps library, where you can launch your apps, like you normally would.
Google TV has come to other devices since launching in 2020 on the original Chromecast with Google TV. Though not all TVs have decided to use Google TV over Android TV. So right now, Google is using both, and kind of merging them together.
What streaming apps work with Google TV?
While Android TV streaming apps do work on Google TV, since it’s the same platform basically, there are some special features that you get with apps optimized for Google TV. The biggest feature is that it will show content in the “For You” recommendations page, from those apps. So here’s the streaming apps that are available for Google TV.
- Amazon Prime Video
- Apple TV+
- Comedy Central
- DC Universe
- Disney NOW
- Epix Now
- Fox Now
- Google TV
- HBO Go
- HBO Max
- Pluto TV
- Showtime Anytime
- The CW
- Tubi TV
Which live TV services work with Google TV?
On Google TV, there is a “Live” tab at the top, which allows you to see what is live on TV from various streaming Live TV services. So what services are compatible? Right now, just a couple. But here’s the full list.
- Pluto TV
- Sling TV
- YouTube TV
Originally, it was only open to YouTube TV. But since the initial launch of Google TV in 2020, Google has opened this up to other apps. Hulu + Live TV is the only one that is really missing at this point.
What resolutions does the Chromecast with Google TV (HD) support?
As the name indicates, the Chromecast with Google TV (HD) only supports up to 1080p resolution. So there’s no 4K HDR available here. That’s one way that Google was able to keep the price down, but it’s really not a big deal.
One thing that a lot of people don’t really understand is that most content is still filmed in 720p or 1080p. So going with 4K isn’t really needed, unless you’re watching a lot of YouTube. It also makes it a good option for your parents, who are likely streaming live TV all the time, which is still broadcast in 720p on most channels.
Is it possible to use it wired?
Google has said that you can use a USB-C dongle to add an ethernet port to the Chromecast with Google TV (HD). So if you’re worried about buffering over WiFi, it is possible to connect it directly to your router.
Most people won’t need to connect it directly to their router, since it is only going to do 1080p anyways, and most people’s internet is capable of streaming 1080p with no issues.
How does Google decide what content to add to the “For You” list?
Google TV is able to access things you have watched already, as well as what you have put on your wishlist in the Play Movies & TV app – before it was rebranded to Google TV.
The recommendations “For You” are not that great in the very beginning, especially if you did not create a wishlist. But the more content you watch, the better it’ll get over time.
You can still add stuff to your wishlist (now called “watchlist”) on Google TV. Just search for a movie or show, and then add it to your watchlist.
What buttons are on the Chromecast remote?
Google is still keeping the remote pretty simple with the Chromecast with Google TV (HD). There’s the D-Pad at the top, with a back button, home button, Google Assistant button and mute button below it. Below that, you’ll find a YouTube and a Netflix button. With power and input buttons below that. On the side of the remote are the volume buttons.
It’s good to see Google sticking with two services for their buttons and ones that definitely won’t be going away anytime soon. One, that Google owns and the other being Netflix. It’s also important to note that you can long-press on the YouTube button to change it from YouTube to YouTube TV.
Google is going with the “keep it simple, stupid” approach here. Which makes it even better for using with your parents.
Are there parental controls and Kids profiles available?
Since the launch of Google TV two years ago, Google has added parental controls as well as kids profiles to the platform. So you can let your kids free on the TV and not worry about what they are watching, to much.
Google does allow parents to choose what content that their kids can watch. You can choose to block or allow certain apps. Like Disney+ you could allow, and within Disney+ you can set parental controls to only allow them to watch content that is rated PG or lower.
There are other controls available too, like setting a daily screen time limit, a daily bedtime, and you can add bonus time as well. Google also allows you to hide library content. So it’s pretty robust.
How much storage is available on the Chromecast with Google TV (HD)?
Internally, the Chromecast with Google TV (HD) is the same as the 4K model, for the most part. Which means you’re getting the same 8GB of storage inside. That’s still pretty small, when the Apple TV is only available in 32GB and 64GB models. And you really only get about 4.4GB of usable storage. However, Google TV has rolled out some updates lately that make the storage go a bit further. So it might not be as big of a deal here.
How much is the Chromecast with Google TV (HD)?
The Chromecast with Google TV (HD) is priced at $29.99. That’s $20 less than the 4K model (which is still on sale).
At that price, it’s cheaper than the Amazon Fire TV Stick, and the same price as the Fire TV Stick Lite. It’s also the same price as the Roku Express. All three of those streamers are streaming in HD quality, just like the Chromecast with Google TV (HD). So definitely a competitive move here from Google.
What colors does the Chromecast with Google TV (HD) come in?
In order to get the Chromecast with Google TV (HD) down to its $30 price tag, Google did need to cut some corners. In addition to lower resolution, Google also cut the different colors. Instead only offering the Chromecast with Google TV (HD) in a single color – snow. Having different colors was nice, because you could have multiple Chromecast’s around the house and not worry about mixing up the remotes. As each room had a different color Chromecast. That’s not possible with this new HD model.
What comes in the box?
Only the essentials come in the box with the Chromecast with Google TV (HD), here’s the full list:
- Power adapter
- Power cable
- Voice remote
- 2 AAA batteries
- Quick start guide
- Safety and warranty document
Surprisingly, there is a charger in the box, where a lot of other accessories are not coming with one. Now the Chromecast with Google TV (HD) is USB, but your TV likely won’t give it enough power. So you’re going to need to plug it into the wall. At least that’s how the 4K model works, so we’d expect the same for the HD model.