Everything we adored about the original is still included in Google’s more cheap 1080p TV version.
When I first opened Google’s newest streaming dongle, I had a slight sense of déjà vu due to how similar it appears to the previous model. The puckish oval design of the new Chromecast with Google TV is still present, it is packaged with the same remote, and even the OS that powers everything is (for the most part) the same. The only significant change (at least externally) is revised packaging with a label that reads “HD.” So, this new, more cheap Chromecast is specifically designed for consumers who want to stream TV and movies on 1080p televisions rather than supporting 4K monitors. And from where I’m standing, that’s good because, despite the fact that it can only play HD content, this device offers essentially the same wonderful viewing experience that we enjoyed on the original.
The Chromecast with Google TV (HD) is really simple and almost a carbon duplicate of its predecessor, so I won’t bore you with the usual design part. There is the Chromecast itself, which connects to your TV through HDMI, a separate remote control with a built-in microphone and a Google Assistant button for voice controls, and a power supply with a USB cord you may use if your TV is unable to provide enough power using only HDMI.
It’s also really simple to set up. A new sign-on procedure that uses your phone to scan a QR code in the Google Home app has been made possible thanks to an update in Android 12 for TV (which comes pre-installed). This eliminates the tedious process of having to enter your login information, connect to Wi-Fi, and so forth. Yet, you still have the option to complete tasks by hand if you choose.
After the Chromecast is operational, you may sign in to your preferred streaming services as usual before exploring some of the more complex settings, such as HDMI CEC (Consumer Electronics Control), which enables the Chromecast to perform tasks like turning on automatically when you turn on your TV. Also, you can set up the Chromecast’s remote to replicate crucial operations like volume control and input switching by using Google’s controller pairing feature. This implies that, if you have a configuration similar to mine and it’s not too complicated, you could even be able to store your TV’s remote in a drawer and only use the Chromecast, which is a terrific way to reduce clutter.
The streaming experience
The process of picking something to watch is quite straightforward. Along with a Live tab that works with a few streaming TV services (YouTube TV, Pluto TV, Sling TV, and Philo), there is a dedicated row across the top that makes it simple to find shows, movies, apps, and purchased content. This allows you to jump into currently airing programming right from the home screen.
Consequently, you won’t receive support for 4K videos because this model is geared towards 1080p content. However, despite having just 1.5GB of RAM and an Am logic S805X2 CPU, the HD model’s performance felt quite comparable to that of the original Chromecast when used with Google TV. When the dongle first turns on, there is frequently some lag while it loads the OS and downloads art for content recommendations. And if you pay close attention, you might also detect a few minor hiccups when you quickly navigate between apps or settings. Yet, in general, everything goes without a hitch, especially during replay, which is when it truly counts.
Chromecast with Google TV HD
The second significant feature that is missing from this new, less expensive Chromecast is Dolby Vision support. Despite this, it doesn’t seem like a big concern as many 1080p TVs, especially older ones, can’t manage it. At least HDR10 is still supported.
Other new additions in Android 12 for TV
The new Chromecast comes with a number of useful quality-of-life enhancements that will ultimately make their way to other Google TV devices because it is the first device to come pre-installed with Android 12 for TV. There are choices for matching your content’s framerate (which is set to auto by default), additional surround sound controls, and the ability to change the font scale (from 85 percent to 130 percent). You’ll also get a small pop-up when the Chromecast engages its microphone, exactly like with Android 12 on phones, so you’ll know when it’s listening to you.
It’s obvious the corporation didn’t try to do too much with the Chromecast with Google TV (HD). And that’s just OK because the original blueprint still functions well. Just here, it’s optimized for 1080p screens. For about $30, you get the same fantastic user interface, a handy, tiny remote that covers all the essentials, and performance that is more than adequate. The Chromecast with Google TV (HD) is the watch partner you need if you have an outdated set or secondary display that could benefit from a current streaming TV OS (and you haven’t already invested in another streaming platform).