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Chromecast with Google TV 4K review. Google cast Android TV

Chromecast with Google TV 4K review

Get the Chromecast with Google TV 4K if you want an excellent streaming device with Google Assistant built in.

Pros

  • Sensible layout
  • Lots of streaming services
  • Remote included
  • Smart home features

Cons

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Chromecast with Google TV 4K is much more than just a streaming stick with a remote. One of the best streaming devices there is, Google’s latest home entertainment device boasts a sensible interface, nearly every streaming service you can think of and Google Assistant at your beck and call.

Size: 6.4 x 2.4 x 0.5 inches (dongle); 4.8 x 1.5 x 0.7 inches (remote) Number of channels: 5,000 Ports: HDMI, USB-C Max video resolution: 4K/60 fps Supported HDR formats: HDR10, HDR10, Dolby Vision Supported audio formats: Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby Atmos

A bunch of new Android TV upgrades should prove to be strong competition against Roku and Apple TV. And another great new feature on Android TV is the ability to use your phone as a remote control. For those wondering about why this model now has “4K” in its name, Google recently tacked that on because (as our Chromecast with Google TV HD review shows), its latest model creates some need for rebranding.

The Chromecast with Google TV 4K is around the same price as the Roku and Amazon Fire TV Sticks on the market, but as this Chromecast with Google TV review outlines, it’s the things only Google can bring that make this one of the best Smart streaming devices. Check out our Chromecast vs Fire Stick face off to see how those devices compare.

Chromecast with Google TV 4K: Price and availability

Chromecast with Google TV 4K costs 49.99, and that’s 20 more than the Chromecast with Google TV HD.

If you don’t want to get a separate Chromecast dongle to plug into your TV? We’ve ranked the best TVs with Chromecast built-in so you can cast to your TV without one.

Chromecast with Google TV 4K: Design

As with most streaming devices, the Chromecast with Google TV 4K is a dongle that plugs into an HDMI port on your TV, and it’s accompanied by a small remote control. Wondering how it compares to the remote-free Chromecast? Check out our Chromecast with Google TV vs Chromecast face-off.

The dongle, which will fit comfortably in your palm has an oval shape that makes it look like it would be perfect for skipping across a lake.

The Chromecast is pretty simple and established device, but if you want to learn more we’ve got a full “what is Google Chromecast?” guide which should answer any questions you may have.

On one end is an HDMI output, while the other end has a USB-C port; included is a USB cable and plug, as the Chromecast with Google TV 4K needs more power than your TV’s HDMI port can provide.

The remote that comes with the device is somewhere between the Apple TV and the Roku remote. Like the Roku, the Google TV remote is curved at the top and bottom and has a rounded rear, but isn’t as pronounced a curve. While not as minimalist as the Apple TV remote, the Google TV remote is a single color, with the exception of the Google Assistant button.

To see how the Chromecast compares to the latest and greatest Roku, check out our Roku Streaming Stick 4K vs. Chromecast with Google TV face-off.

At the top is a circular d-pad; beneath are eight buttons: Back, Google Assistant, Home, Mute, YouTube, Netflix, Power, and Input. On the right side are two small volume control buttons.

Google sent me the Sky color: the dongle is a grayish blue, while the remote is gray, with a light green Google Assistant button. The Snow model has both a white dongle and remote (with a black Assistant button), while Sunrise has a pink dongle and remote. It really comes down to the remote color you want, as the dongle will most likely be hidden out of sight.

Similar to the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, you’ll be able to connect the Chromecast to Ethernet; Google will have a power/Ethernet adapter available soon after launch. Check out our Chromecast with Google TV vs Fire TV Stick 4K face-off to see more about how they compare.

Chromecast with Google TV 4K: Interface

There’s nothing particularly radical about the Google TV interface, but it works. Plus, Google just cleaned up the Google TV user interface to make it even better. At the top are tabs for For you, Apps, and Library; beneath are thumbnails of content that’s relevant to that menu.

As part of this refresh, the Movies and Shows tabs have become shortcuts that appear on the For you tab underneath your Continue watching row. They are joined by Family and Español and are aimed at better curating your content.

If you subscribe to YouTube TV, a Live tab will also appear in the top menu, which will display shows currently airing through that service. And the Library tab will display the content you’ve purchased or rented from Google, as well as DVR content from YouTube TV.

Sub-categories on the home page include Top Picks for You based on your viewing history from the streaming services you’ve linked, Trending on Google, and Recommended Videos based on what you’ve watched on YouTube.

If you long-press on a thumbnail, you can see the services on which it’s streaming, watch a trailer (if applicable), save to a Watchlist, rate it, and view additional details.

Considering my viewing tastes are vastly different than my wife’s, I like that you can add multiple Google accounts to the device. I won’t get recommendations for Gilmore Girls, and she won’t get the Fast Furious franchise popping up on her screen.

That said, individual user profiles won’t be coming to the device until sometime next year.

Unfortunately, there’s a current Chromecast with Google TV flaw that’s annoying one of our editors: the Currently Watching list has a bit of bugginess to fix.

Chromecast with Google TV 4K: Streaming services

You won’t be wanting for streaming services: The Chromecast with Google TV 4K includes YouTube, YouTube TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Spotify, Disney Plus, Hulu, ESPN, Sling, HBO Max, CBS All Access, Starz, Peacock, Peloton, Tubi, PBS, and more.

And some more to the list: Chromecast with Google TV is adding the Apple TV app. In April 2023, Google partnered with Tubi, Plex and Haystack News to bring over 800 free channels to its revamped Google TV Live tab. Click the Live tab in the top menu bar to find them along with the rest of your live channel services. Google also added a TV guide feature on the left rail that lets you browse by genre, see what’s trending and quickly access any channels you’ve added to your favorites.

Apps and services can be installed directly from the device, or you can head to Google Play on your phone and remotely send new software to Google TV.

The device can stream content at resolutions up to 4K/60 fps, and supports HDR, including HDR10, HDR10 and recently gained support for Dolby Vision as well. Audio-wise, it supports Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby Atmos.

Row 0. Cell 0Max streaming resolutionSupported HDR formatsSupported audio
Chromecast with Google TV 4K Roku Streaming Stick 4K Amazon Fire Stick 4K
4K/60 fps 4K/60 fps 4K/60 fps
HDR10, HDR10, Dolby Vision HDR10, Dolby Vision HDR, HDR 10, HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby Atmos DTS Digital Surround, Dolby Audio, Dolby ATMOS Dolby Atmos

Chromecast with Google TV 4K: Performance

During my time testing the Chromecast with Google TV 4K, I found it to be fast and responsive, and delivered excellent video quality. It was connected via Wi-Fi to a Netgear Orbi satellite, which was about five feet away, and plugged into a Vizio M60-C3 4K HDTV.

I was impressed with the details and colors when streaming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker from Disney Plus, videos from YouTube, and more. In almost every case the stream started up in high definition; in the rare instances where it didn’t, it resolved itself usually within a minute.

It did crash once, though, as I was exiting Disney Plus to return to the Google home screen.

Chromecast with Google TV 4K: Search

What Google device would be complete without search? A Google Assistant button on the remote not only lets you search for movies and TV shows by name, genre, actor and more, but can also leverage Google search engine for more general inquiries. Check out our TiVo Stream 4K review to check out the other big Android TV streamer.

For example, I asked Google Assistant to show pizza places near me, and it returned a list of all the slice joints near me. Selecting one of the options opens the same Google card as you’d find if searching on Google Maps. However, you can’t view the menu, look up directions, or select the phone number to call the establishment. If you ask Assistant to get you directions, it will give you an overview on the TV, and send directions to your phone.

As imperfect as it is, Google’s search proved better than Alexa on the Amazon Fire TV Cube; while that device also pulled up a list of pizzerias, its directions were just an overview, and could not send them to my iPhone.

Chromecast with Google TV 4K: Smart home features

If you have a Nest Hello video doorbell, a Nest Cam, or some other compatible home security camera, you can ask Google Assistant to show you a feed from that device on your TV. Here is a list of cameras that work with Chromecast; not all may work with Chromecast with Google TV 4K right away. I was able to stream a feed from the Wyze Cam to my TV.

This is the same feature as what Amazon offers with its Fire TV devices. Not surprisingly, Ring and Blink (which are owned by Amazon) don’t work with Chromecast with Google TV 4K.

You can also use Google Assistant on the Chromecast with Google TV 4K to control other Smart home devices, such as Smart lights and Smart thermostats. While it’s useful for turning things on and off on command, I’ve found that Alexa’s Routines make for a far better Smart home assistant.

Chromecast with Google TV 4K: Verdict

While there’s a certain minimalist appeal to simply using your phone to beam content to your TV, I can see scores of people ditching their old Chromecast devices just so they can use the remote that comes with the Chromecast with Google TV 4K.

As this Chromecast with Google TV 4K review has shown, this device has a few advantages over other streaming sticks. It has Google Assistant built in, which leverages the power of Google’s search engine; and, it’s also a Chromecast device, which makes it easy to beam pretty much anything you want to your TV.

It’s a wonder why it took Google so long to come out with a device like this. Hopefully, though, the Continue Watching row will be fixed soon.

Chromecast with Google TV Review: Undoubtedly the best 50 Android TV Streaming player

chromecast, google, review, cast

Google fanboys will want to eat my liver for saying this, but in my opinion, Chromecasts before the Chromecast with Google TV should have been complimentary handouts one got for buying an Android smartphone. I honestly didn’t see the rationale of buying a standalone glorified casting app for 29.99 yet my Smart TV could do the same at no extra cost. The whole premise of a husk of a device without an interface that depended on supported apps on your smartphone to cast content to a TV just didn’t fly with me.

Before you crucify me on the cross, you should know that I initially bought into the hype and got a Google Chromecast (3rd Generation). It just didn’t work for me. Smartphones are great devices but can only be the occasional remote control and not a daily driver. So in its place, I got an inexpensive Xiaomi Mi Box S, an actual Android TV box, and I haven’t looked back ever since.

Now that the latest Chromecast is here to take back its birthright and assume the throne, it’s only fitting we put it through rigorous tests to ensure it’s the real deal. It hasn’t escaped our attention how most reviewers are gushing about Chromecast with Google TV, but we would like to do our own bit of due diligence before we join the gush-fest.

In the box

chromecast, google, review, cast

Previous Chromecasts were barebones to the point that once plugged into a TV, you’d more or less forget about it. The new one does a thing or two differently. The Chromecast with Google TV dongle comes with a remote control, a USB-A power adapter, a USB-A to USB-C cable, and two AAA batteries.

Older generation Chromecasts shipped with a power adapter but it was entirely up to you whether to use it or no. This time around, it’s a necessity as we are going to find out.

Design

chromecast, google, review, cast

Google didn’t go too far out into the woods design-wise. The latest Chromecast maintains a familial resemblance to those that came before. The pebble-shaped dongle has an HDMI cable permanently attached along with a USB C port for power draw via a power adapter that’s also provided. The underbelly houses the reset button and an indicator LED.

The dongle has a smooth matte finish and comes in three flavors; white, blue, and pink with matching remote controls. Not that the colors really matter much, seeing how the dongle will stay hidden behind your TV pretty much till the end of time. That hasn’t stopped the colored variants from being snapped up the minute they surface in online shops.

Remote Control

chromecast, google, review, cast

The new and improved Chromecast finally bowed to pressure and tossed in a remote control. As a first from Chromecast, there’s no precedent to give a comparison. The remote is flat on top as expected with a deeply curved back for better or worse.

This design decision thrills me and annoys me in equal measure. The darned thing keeps sliding out of my grasp whenever I try to adjust the volume with my right hand. You see, the volume buttons are situated on the right side same as the Roku remote. Roku does it better with this whole arrangement if you ask me. A flatter back gives you better leverage to fiddle with side buttons.

Thankfully, the rest of the buttons are situated on terra firma. The circular direction pad near the top blends nicely with the overall rounded shape of the remote. Google does away with unnecessary FastForward /Back /Play /Pause buttons in favor of the directional pad. The rest of the buttons are so few, we can name them all here: Back, Home, Google Assistant, Mute, Power, Source, YouTube, and Netflix. Oh, there’s also a microphone orifice although that’s not a button in itself, we still thought we should mention it.

You can set HDMI CEC to allow the Chromecast remote to take over the functions of your TV from commandeering TV volume, accessing content source, switching off and on the TV at will using the IR blaster. After a few days in, I personally prefer to use the Chromecast volume controls over TV volume because when easier to balance.

Chromecast with Google TV Specs

A quick peek under the hood reveals modest specs. The Chromecast is powered by 2GB DDR3 RAM, 8GB ROM, and an ARM Mali G31 GPU. And despite the laurels, Chromecast with Google TV is by far the slowest Android TV box at bootup. It took a nail-biting 50.6 seconds to boot. By contrast, a much cheaper Fire TV Stick (3rd Gen) boots up in 35.83 seconds. I know that this is nitpicking, but I imagine our readers ought to know the nitty gritty.

SPECS Chromecast with Google TV
Processor ARM Mali G31
RAM 2GB DDR3
Storage 8GB
Remote Control Bluetooth Infrared
Voice Google Assistant
Picture 4K HDR (HDR10, Dolby Vision) and Dolby Atmos
Cast Chromecast
OS Google TV (Android 10)
Power supply USB-C

Performance

chromecast, google, review, cast

I made an interesting observation when I plugged in the Chromecast with Google TV. I noticed that the TV’s HDMI port registers it as Chromecast Go, which hints at the dongle’s lackluster processing power. If you’ve used Android’s entry-level smartphones, this would ring a bell. Android Go is Google’s answer to smoothly running its apps on less beefed-up devices.

Other than the less than stellar boot-up time, and remote freeze-up when I press buttons that haven’t been configured yet, I haven’t experienced the performance lag that has been reported by some users. The remote control is still the main let-down for me. On occasion, it forgot my TV, requiring me to reconfigure it before I could use it. Secondly, the Google Assistant button can be caught unawares at times and it won’t work when you press the button for voice search.

And to their credit, I forgot whatever misgivings I had about boot time once the interface loaded. I would say that Chromecast had a significant interface overhaul in relation to Android TV, but that would be a lie. Much as Google released Android TV, it had never had a taste of its own medicine, that is until now. Google TV (formerly Android TV) takes the reigns from Android TV, introducing the all-new Android 10 OS. The Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, however.

Google TV is a much more refined interface that’s leagues easier to navigate while still remaining true to the Android TV we have come to know and love.

Streaming content

chromecast, google, review, cast

Google’s vast ecosystem is the mother lode of apps for just about every major streaming service worth its salt. There’s over 6,500 apps to spoil you rotten including the likes of Disney, Netflix, HBO Max, Prime Video, YouTube e.t.c., and for my African homies, DStv and Showmax too. The biggest name I can think of that is AWOL is only Apple TV Plus, for now, but that too might soon change.

Using the remote control, the directional pad can take you to Home, Apps, Library to find your purchases, rentals, and watchlisted content across your devices. I love the fact that I Continue Watching is prominent in the Home app and it allows me to continue where I left off on Netflix. It’s also easier to check out recommendations without having to go galivanting around in separate apps.

Unfortunately, I would like to mention though, that it appears Google is practicing some discrimination as usual. Fringe regions like where I reside only get cursory Search, Home, Apps, and Library features. Users who live where the money reside get the whole shebang with Search, For You (recommendations galore), Movies, Shows, Apps, and Library.

Take a look at the Google TV interface on the Chromecast.

The Chromecasts supports content in 1080p or 4K HDR/ HDR10 and Dolby Vision. It also supports DTS, Dolby Audio, Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby Atmos formats. That said, you actually need a compatible Smart TV and soundbar to take full advantage of these audio-visual goodies.

The power of Google Assistant

chromecast, google, review, cast

I have had Google Assistant on my smartphone since eons back and I will admit that I rarely use it. However, I have found that it takes on a different meaning on the Chromecast.

Google Assistant makes your TV an interactive part of your entertainment experience. You can pull up movies and shows by talking to your remote or ask for content based on genre regardless of which app it is. Unfortunately, we noticed that the Assistant will say content on Prime Video isn’t available even though it has pulled it up for you.

What you might not realize is that Google Assistant does more than pull up movies. You can interrupt your viewing to ask about how a movie performed at the box office, how old an actor is, the weather, and such tidbits, and then go right back to your viewing.

Is it worth it?

If you’ve set deep roots in the Google and Android ecosystem, another Google device makes perfect sense. Chromecast with Google TV integrates well with everything Google from your smartphone for a secondary remote, for signing in to apps, for Photos and chromecast functionality using your smartphone. It supports most major streaming apps and you can also sideload apps if what you use isn’t on the Play Store. The remote control with Google Assistant makes it even more versatile than all the previous Chromecasts combined.

Price and where to buy

Chromecast with Google TV goes for 49.99. It comes in white, pink and blue. Find it on the Google Store, Best Buy and most major online shops. In Uganda, head over to Odukar where it retails for UGX 395,000.

Endless entertainment, boundless enjoyment

Chromecast built-in is a platform that lets you cast your favorite entertainment from your phone, tablet or laptop right to your TV.

Easily control your TV with apps you already know and love from your iPhone iPad Android phone or tablet, Mac or

Windows laptop, or Chromebook.

Enjoy thousands of movies and TV shows

Listen to millions of songs and podcasts

Frequently Asked Questions About Chromecast Built-in

What is Chromecast built-in and how does it work?

Chromecast built-in delivers multi-screen and audio experiences by connecting the devices you already know and love to your TV or audio device.

Casting is as simple as pressing a button from your favorite app. Watch your favorites on the TV while switching to another app. Listen to your top tunes while taking a phone call or sending a text, all without interrupting what’s playing on the speakers.

With Chromecast built-in, your phone is your personalized remote control that you can use to browse, play, pause, and even make playlists. Cast from Android tablets and smartphones, iPhones, iPads, Mac, Windows and Chromebooks to your TV or speakers.

When I cast entertainment from my Smart device to my Chromecast built-in TV, does it use data from my cellular data plan?

Your mobile device simply acts as a pointer and authenticator communicating with the TV on your home network.

The TV is only using internet data from the network it is connected to (e.g. Wi-Fi in your home).

How many and what type of apps support Chromecast built-in?

Currently, there are over 1000 apps which are Chromecast enabled and lot more are being added as the platform continues to grow.

The Chromecast platform also supports numerous categories of apps from media and gaming to new and innovative, some categories of apps are:

  • TV Movies
  • Music Audio
  • News
  • Games
  • Sports
  • Photos Video
  • Others (Productivity, Education, Weather, etc.)

How does gaming work on the Chromecast platform?

Chromecast is a very unique and innovative platform for gaming with a number of interesting possibilities:

  • Single player gaming
  • Multi-player gaming in your home
  • Online Multi-player gaming

Your mobile device acts as a controller with a second screen which can be used in unique ways when playing multi-player games in your living room, such as displaying information or stats which your opponents should not see.

The games themselves can be rendered using a couple of techniques depending on how the game developer choses to implement them:

The game app on your mobile device renders the game on your TV

If it is a Cloud based game, the game can be rendered/streamed using online gaming servers or as a temporary web app running on your TV and your phone simply acts as the controller.

How do I cast from my PC (Windows, Mac or Chrome OS)?

To cast from your PC (Windows, Mac or Chrome OS) you need to install the latest version of the Chrome Browser which comes equipped with Chromecast.

Can I mirror the screen of my Smart device to the Chromecast built-in TV?

Casting your Android screen is available on devices running Android 4.4.2 or higher. Casting your screen is not supported on iOS or Windows devices.

All devices running Android 4.4.2 or higher support the Cast Screen feature, some devices have been optimized for screen casting so your experience may vary. Please be sure to not be running “Power Saving Mode” on your Android device. This can limit the processing power of your device which could affect the performance of the Cast Screen feature.

To cast your screen from your Android device:

Connect your Android device to the same Wi-Fi network as your

Chromecast built-in device.

Open the Google Home app.

In the top left corner, touch the navigation drawer icon.

Touch the Cast Screen button.

Select your Chromecast device.

Because you’ve gotta watch that camrip on a huge screen

Story by

Callum Booth

Callum is the Managing Editor of TNW. He covers the full spectrum of technology, looks after editorial newsletters, and makes the occasional (show all) Callum is the Managing Editor of TNW. He covers the full spectrum of technology, looks after editorial newsletters, and makes the occasional odd video.

Welcome to Plugged Basics, a collection of tips, tricks, guides, and advice on how to easily get the most out of your gadgets, apps, and other stuff.

Chromecasting is amazing. Now the majority of modern TVs and lots of Smart devices have the functionality, you can get videos from your phone to the big screen seamlessly.

But, as convenient as Chromecast technology is, there’s one major flaw: streaming your own videos.

Yes, casting Netflix or YouTube is as easy as pressing a button, but what if there’s a file on your computer you’d like to watch on your Chromecast or Android TV device? Trickier, right?

Well, we’re here to help you out.

How to stream local files to your Chromecast or Android TV device?

The easiest way to do this is — unsurprisingly for something called Chromecasting — by using Google Chrome. So, in this guide, that’s what we’re going to concentrate on.

The first thing you want to do is download the app, Videostream. You can do that here.

Once Videostream is all downloaded and installed, you’re close to streaming all your sweet files on your Chromecast or Android TV. You should be able to taste it.

The next thing you have to do is open the app. It should cause a new tab to open in Chrome, which will look like this:

At this point, you just need click the “Choose a Video” button in the middle of the window — but I probably didn’t need to tell you that.

Then, choose your file from this menu:

chromecast, google, review, cast

After you’ve chosen the file you want to cast, you’ll get a little pop-up requesting you to choose the device you want to stream to. It’ll look something like this:

chromecast, google, review, cast

You select the Chromecast you want to stream to and, BOOM, your downloading video will be playing on your screen of choice in an instant.

Another option for streaming your local files to your Chromecast or Android TV

While Videostream has always worked well and has provided many hours of stutter-free entertainment, it might not be for everyone — especially if you don’t have Chrome. So, thank the lord VLC is here to help.

If you’re unaware, VLC is hands-down the greatest media player to have ever existed. It works on pretty much every OS, and you can download it here.

Using VLC to send your local files to your Chromecast device is easy. Simply load the file, head to the ‘Playback’ menu at the top, then go down to the ‘Renderer’ section. From there, you’ll be able to choose your supported device of choice. It should look like this:

So there you have it! A simple way to stream local and downloaded files to your Chromecast or Android TV. Thank us later.

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