Would you like to do more with your TV? Well, the newest kid on the block, Google’s Chromecast (now with Google TV) is available in India for Rs. 6,399. Google TV is a user interface that runs on top of Android TV (Android TV is a Smart TV operating system that is based on the Android operating system), with a different appearance. It’s pre-installed on the newest Chromecast, which makes dumb TVs smart and could become the home for all your streaming apps and more.
It is not the first time that Google has launched Chromecast in India, but it is the first model to come with Google TV. The Chromecast now brings a dedicated TV UI right to your big screen. The Chromecast with Google TV is a standalone device with a Bluetooth-enabled remote and works with the Google Assistant.
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The Chromecast includes a very good remote, can stream 4K (60Hz frame rate) content, and has support for Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos sound. The best part of Chromecast is the unified home page, now known as Google TV. One can search and look through different applications with relative ease. Google Assistant integration has also definitely improved over its predecessors.
The Chromecast competes directly with Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K Max. The great advantage of Chromecast over Fire TV Stick is that the interface is more intuitive, it does not include ads and it offers much better search results. If you’re deep into the YouTube ecosystem, Chromecast would be perfect for you and your TV.
let’s set it up
Setting up Chromecast with Google TV is extremely easy. Simply plug the device into the HDMI port on your TV/monitor/projector and power it on with the adapter and cable included in the box. After that, just follow a few simple steps on the TV, connect to your preferred wireless network, enter your Google account details, and you’re good to go. That is all. If you don’t have an Android smartphone handy, don’t worry because the remote is here to take control.
One of the best remotes in the business.
Let me tell you one thing. The remote that comes with this Chromecast is the best in its class. It is neither too tall nor heavy. It has a very comfortable feeling in the hand. The icing on the cake is the clicker function with a four-way directional pad placed in a circle. The center of the circle has a selection key. Then there are two rows of buttons along the bottom: back, Google Assistant, home, mute, YouTube, and Netflix. There are also power and input buttons (to switch to and from Chromecast).
There are easily accessible volume buttons on the right side of the device. It’s a compact, curved remote that gets the job done.
By adding Google TV, you no longer have to rely on your phone, tablet, or computer to access all your apps, stream content, chat with the Google Assistant, and more. You can search and control the interface with the new remote.
Google TV has over 6,500 apps including all your favorite streaming apps (YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar, SonyLIV, Voot and more), music apps like Spotify, Gaana and TuneIn, lifestyle apps like Loup, health and fitness apps like Workout At Home, cult.fit, Gymondo, business apps like AnyDesk (for remote desktop), FX File Explorer and many more.
The Google TV interface also features a content-centric home page (instead of Apple TV’s app-centric home page) and displays rows of movies and TV shows. The bar at the top features search, the “For You” section, and tabs for movies, TV shows, and apps.
The built-in Google Assistant also gets the job done without a hitch. The feature, which can be accessed via a black button on the remote, is almost seamless.
The “For You” section has suggestions for movies and TV shows (based on my preferences). In the “For You” section, I can see what’s new in my frequently used streaming apps, resume shows, and show content that might interest me.
Sometimes the interface lagged, especially when switching apps. That was not enough to deter my wonderful experience with the new Chromecast. It may not be as snappy as Amazon’s Fire TV Stick interface, but it does a good job on its own.
The built-in Google Assistant also gets the job done without a hitch. The feature, which can be accessed via a black button on the remote, is almost seamless. I asked Google Assistant several questions. From “Play NDTV on YouTube” to “What’s the weather?” and from “Open SonyLIV” to simply “No Time To Die”. The results were exactly what I had asked for.
Saying “No Time To Die” brought up a page where I could watch the latest James Bond movie (it automatically told me where I could watch it, this time on Amazon Prime Video), and its trailer, and read the description and details. of the cast and crew. He also threw similar action movies. I also asked about the latest India-West Indies T20I, which returned the scores with no problem.
Basically, everything you can do with the Google Assistant on your Android smartphone, you can now do on your TV through the Chromecast device.
Last but not least, there is also an ambient mode. With this mode, you can enjoy a slideshow of photos (that you have selected) from your Google Photos library when the Chromecast is not in use.
Verdict: Is this the streaming device to buy?
Previously, the Chromecast could only be controlled via a smartphone. With the new Chromecast with Google TV, the game has changed. Google has finally caught up with the competition, with the inclusion of a very cool remote.
The problem is that Google has priced the Chromecast with Google TV a bit expensive. A $6399, is much more expensive than the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K (MRP of $5,999, but usually discounted at $4499) and on par with the Fire TV Stick 4K Max, which is priced at $6,499. There is also competition from Xiaomi and realme which are lower in price but omit many features. Xiaomi’s Mi Box 4K arrives in $3,699, while the realme 4k Smart Google TV Stick retails for $3,999.
Google TV’s interface is cleaner than the rest, the remote is excellent, and performance is pretty good. There is also ease of use that comes with the Chromecast with Google TV. One big advantage with Google Chromecast is that you can cast apps from your smartphone. You can even mirror the Google Chrome browser tab on your TV.
One wishes that Google had more competitive prices for the Chromecast with Google TV. Pricing aside, the new Chromecast is a strong contender in the industry today. For a 4K streaming device, Google Chromecast should be at the top of your list.
In the end, it may depend on which ecosystem you are more integrated into and which one you prefer more. If your house is full of Alexa products, you may prefer the Fire TV Stick. If you’re a big fan of Google Assistant, Chromecast with Google TV is the way to go.
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