Review: Chromecast with Google TV is more than just a streaming stick

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The Chromecast with Google TV interface and a separate remote control is finally officially available in the Netherlands. This is the first dongle with a full TV platform from Google and the device stands out from the competition by bringing together movies and series from various services in one overview.

In the Netherlands, we had to wait almost two years for Google to release its new Chromecast. Although the device has been on sale through various channels for quite some time, it is only now fully supported in the Dutch market and is officially available.

Previous Chromecasts released since 2013 were ideal for older TVs without apps or other smart features. Dongles made it easy to stream Netflix movies to the TV, for example. The device is simply entered into the HDMI connection and then you can send videos from a phone or laptop via WiFi to the big screen.

All of that is still possible, but the new Chromecast is a world of difference from its predecessors. It has everything to do with Google’s Google TV interface and the included remote control.

Yes, you get an extra remote, but the advantage is that it controls your entire TV and you don’t need a phone anymore. The other remote controls are therefore no longer necessary. It also has fixed buttons for opening Netflix and YouTube and a separate button for the voice assistant. The volume buttons are a bit awkwardly placed on the side.

Google TV shows movies and series from different apps in one place.

No longer a conduit

Where Chromecast previously only transmitted images, it now claims a central place where everything is linked on television. All apps from popular video services can be installed on it, such as Netflix, Videoland, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max and NLZIET. You can open the apps separately and browse the content library, but Google TV prefers to bundle everything together.

For example, the home screen shows an overview of series and movies that you can watch on different services. Google TV categorizes itself, but you can also use Google Assistant to search for movies, series, or genres. Voice command often works fine, but sometimes it doesn’t understand you well or you get something different than what you were looking for.

However, it is nice to have a preview on the homepage. Then you no longer have to navigate through masses of titles in different applications. The downside is that you can’t determine how movies and series are rated. But Google hopes you can let go and navigate what the Chromecast has to offer.

It’s the first Chromecast with a remote.

Also handy for other tasks

Google is behind on its TV interface, as Amazon, Apple and Xiaomi have been offering this kind of solution for years. Google tries to distinguish itself with its own overview. Google Assistant is also a nice addition, as the voice assistant works the way you’re used to. You can show the weather forecast on TV, ask if there is a traffic jam or ask for other information.

Users with smart equipment can also link it to the Chromecast. Just ask the assistant if the lights can be turned off, it works without any problems. Users with a Nest smart doorbell can even see footage of the person outside the front door on the TV when the doorbell rings. Due to this integration with other equipment, the Chromecast can not only be used for the TV, but for many other tasks.

Logical continuation of old Chromecasts

A study by Telecompaper showed in 2021 that 68% of Dutch households could be online via a smart TV. It is not known how many people also own a Chromecast, an Apple TV or, for example, a Horizon box from Ziggo. In any case, it is clear that many people stream films and series.

But the new Chromecast is primarily for people who want a better overview of the growing lineup, who don’t want to get lost in thousands of movies and individual app series, who want to easily operate their smart gear ( Android) at home and want more choices in the type of apps they can use on TV.

The Chromecast offers 4K with HDR support for an extra clear picture and is well priced at £69. Occasionally, the software falters for a while, but never to the point of becoming boring. All in all, the device is a logical continuation of the old Chromecasts which is not inferior to the existing competition.

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