Google TV - The Ultimate Guide

Want to know more regarding Google’s new Chromecast with Google TV? Let our guide show you the ins and outs of Google’s newest video streaming device.
Google TV - The Ultimate Guide
veröffentlicht: 4. Mai 2021
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Entertainment has come on leaps and bounds since the early days of television. No longer are people tied to the schedules of the networks, rather we can now choose what show to watch, when we want to. The number of available video streaming sites has grown considerably as well, but this has made looking for content a little inconvenient. Google TV seeks to change that by aggregating shows from all the services that you have, along with providing their own brand of content.

In this article, we’ll give you a comprehensive guide on Google TV, what it does and how to use it. If you’re looking for a way to sort and curate your shows, then Google TV may be just what you need.

TABLE OF CONTENT

  1. A Brief Background to Google TV
  2. Brief Google TV Review
  3. Where to Buy
  4. How Much Does Google TV Cost?
  5. Where Is Google TV Currently Available?
  6. So, Is Google TV Worth It?
  7. The Chromecast With Google TV Design
  8. Chromecast With Google TV Features
  9. Chromecast With Google TV Specs Table
  10. How Is the Google TV Powered?
  11. What Channels Can You Get With the Google TV?
  12. What Are the Movies and Shows Currently Available?
  13. Google TV and Chromecast
  14. The Google TV Remote – Each Bit Explained
  15. The Google TV App
  16. Google TV FAQ
  17. Other Quick Guides
  18. Your Favorites in One Convenient Location

A Brief Background to Google TV

As the name implies, Google TV is a video streaming service owned and operated by Google. It offers movies and TV series that the user can buy or rent. Recently, the Google TV app has also been given the capability to recommend shows based on other streaming services you currently have.

The service was originally launched in May 2011 as Google Movies. After its integration into the Google Play platform in 2012, the service was renamed Google Play Movies & TV or Google Play Movies. After Google added the aggregation capabilities to the service, it was renamed to Google TV in September 2020, though many still refer to it as Google Play Movies or Google Play Movies & TV.

The renaming can cause confusion as there are several other services that go by the Google TV title, namely a discontinued smart TV platform, and the Android TV user interface.

Brief Google TV Review

It’s easy to confuse the Google TV with other video streaming devices like the Roku, the Firestick, or the Apple TV, but this product is so much more. In fact, Google TV isn’t a device at all, rather a piece of software that’s available for multiple platforms that run the Android operating system.

Google does offer a device with the Google TV app already built-in, called the Chromecast with Google TV, but people may choose to download the Google TV app for free.

Google TV integrates Google Search and the Google Assistant to make watching video on demand more convenient. No longer do you need to comb through all of your other streaming apps one by one to find the shows that you might like. With Google TV, you’ll be recommended content based on your viewing activity from all of the other services that are available.

With the integration of Google Assistant with the Google TV app, you can easily search for content via voice commands. This feature also allows it to adapt to any smart home setup with ease. Other Google services like YouTube and Google Photos can also be used with the Google TV app.

The software isn’t perfect, however. Searching for general information using Google Search on the Google TV app will give you the top results, but won’t allow you to get directions or view further menus. The Google Assistant also won’t always recommend the best playback options when you do a search. There is also a bit of lag whenever you switch from one service provider to another whenever you’re watching shows.

Overall, Google TV is one of the best ways to watch video on demand content especially if you’re subscribed to more than one service. It’s definitely worth a look, whether you’re using the app, or planning to buy the new Chromecast with Google TV.

Pros:

  • Large app selection
  • Aggregation capability
  • Smart home integration
  • Convenient remote
  • Ties in well with other Google services like YouTube

Cons:

  • General Google Search isn’t optimized for Google TV
  • Google Assistant doesn’t give always best playback option
  • Switching apps causes considerable lag

What’s in the Box

  • Chromecast with Google TV device
  • USB-C Power cable
  • Chromecast with Google TV Remote
  • User’s manual
  • Warranty leaflet
  • Two AAA Alkaline batteries

SMARTHOME.News Average Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Average Ratings Around the Web: 4.8 of 5 Stars

Where to Buy

So, where can you get Google TV? If you only want the app, you can download it on your Android device via the Google Play Store.

The Chromecast with Google TV, on the other hand, is available on in any brick-and-mortar store that sells video streaming devices, or available online via any of the following:

How Much Does Google TV Cost?

The Chromecast with Google TV retails at $49.99, though some stores may offer discounts or promos.

Where Is Google TV Currently Available?

The Google TV app itself is available in over 111 countries, including the US, Canada, the UK, and Mexico among many others. Some territories may not have the app under the name Google TV but as Google Play Movies & TV or Google Play Movies, but they’re the same app.

TV shows for the Google TV are only available in nine countries. These countries are:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • Japan
  • Switzerland
  • The United States
  • The United Kingdom

So, Is Google TV Worth It?

It may surprise you to know that the Google TV app is free. In fact, if you own an Android device and have Google Play installed, it’s probably already available. If you can’t see a Google Play app on your menu, it may be under the name Google Play Movies & TV or just Google Play Movies. Because it’s free, there really isn’t a risk to try the app put.

Alternatively, if you’re planning on buying a video streaming device, then getting the Chromecast with Google TV is worth consideration. Not only does the device have all the features of the Chromecast, Google TV gives its users access to over 700,000 movies and TV shows, along with millions of songs.

The Chromecast With Google TV Design

If you’ve seen the Chromecast, then Google’s newest product is already familiar to you. The dongle of the Chromecast with Google TV is similar to the older generations of the device. What sets it apart is the remote which eliminates the need to have a mobile device around like the older Chromecasts require.

Once you plug in the Chromecast with Google TV, setup can be done via your mobile device, the Google Home app, or directly on the TV via the provided remote. The device itself is available in several color variants, if availability depends on your local supplier. The Chromecast with Google TV is as much a plug and play video streaming gadget as they come.

Chromecast With Google TV Features

The Chromecast with Google TV has 4K/60FPS maximum streaming resolution, comparable to other devices like Roku and the Amazon Firestick. It supports various HDR streaming formats such as HDR10 and HDR10+ along with Dolby Vision. In terms of audio, it can support Dolby Digital, the Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby Atmos.

Because of its Google Assistant integration, the Chromecast with Google TV can be used to operate other smart home devices. Compatible smart home security cameras are able to display their feed to your TV screen via the Chromecast with Google TV device.

The built-in Google Assistant is also able to control various smart devices via voice commands if they’ve been connected to your smart hub. Google Search is also easily available via the Chromecast with Google TV menu, if, as said, further menus and links are unavailable.

Chromecast With Google TV Specs Table

Chromecast With Google TV Specs

Input

110 - 240 Volts AC 50/60Hz

Output

HDMI 2.0 with Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) for gaming

Power Requirements

DC 5 Volts, 1.5 amp

Size

6.4 in x 2.4 in x 0.5 in

Weight

2 ounces (56.7 grams)

Available Resolutions*

4K Ultra HD and HDR / 60FPS

Video Support

HDR10, HDR10+, HLG Decode, Dolby Vision, VP9

Audio Support

Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos

Available Ports

HDMI output, USB-C power input, Ethernet power adapter port

Colors

Sunrise, Snow, Sky

Bluetooth Standard

Bluetooth 4.2

Wi-Fi Standard

802.11ac Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz / 5GHz)

Security

WPA2

*4K resolution requires both the content be in 4K, and the TV be able to display in 4K. If your TV doesn’t have 4K, Google TV will display pictures in the highest resolution available.

Chromecast With Google TV Remote Specs

Battery

AAA Alkaline Batteries x 2

Audio

Built in microphone

Colors

Sunrise, Snow, Sky

Weight (Batteries included)

2.25 ounces (63.8 grams)

BLE

BLE 4.2 compatible 2.4 GHz to RF transceiver

LED

IR LED, LED Indicator

Memory

256 KB external SPI Flash Memory

How Is the Google TV Powered?

The HDMI port doesn’t have enough power to operate the Chromecast with Google TV, thus it requires a separate power source. The kit includes a power adapter that plugs into any 110 – 240 Volt outlets, with a 5-foot (1.5 meter) power cable.

What Channels Can You Get With the Google TV?

Google TV has the ability to aggregate content from many different streaming apps and channels. The full list of services that are compatible with Google TV are as follows:

  • ABC
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • AMC
  • A&E
  • Crackle
  • Comedy Central
  • DC Universe
  • Disney NOW
  • Disney +
  • Epix Now
  • Fox Now
  • Google Play Movies / Google TV
  • Hulu
  • HBO Go
  • HBO Max
  • History
  • Lifetime
  • MTV
  • NBC
  • Paramount + (CBS All Access)
  • Peacock
  • Pluto TV
  • Showtime
  • Showtime Anytime
  • Sling TV
  • Starz
  • TBS
  • The CW
  • TNT
  • Tubi TV
  • VH1
  • YouTube TV

The available channels will certainly increase over time as Google TV makes further deals with other video streaming providers.

What Are the Movies and Shows Currently Available?

Google claims that the Google TV app gives users access to over 700,000 movies and TV shows across available streaming apps that they have. Although the app will suggest shows for services that you’re not subscribed to, this can be toggled off in the options.

As more movies and shows become available, not only to Google TV, but to other streaming platforms as well, the number of shows will only increase as a result.

Google TV and Chromecast

So, are Google TV and Chromecast the same thing? Well, as already mentioned above they’re not. The Chromecast is the hardware that allows you to stream content to your TV while Google TV is the software that provides such content.

The advantage of getting the newest Chromecast with Google TV is the remote provided with the kit. Unlike prior iterations of the Chromecast, this newest product no longer needs a mobile device in order to browse through shows. With the remote content can now be selected from an on-screen menu, or via voice commands through the remote’s built-in mic.

With the Chromecast with Google TV, Google seeks to directly compete with other streaming devices like the Roku, Firestick, and Apple TV.

The Google TV Remote – Each Bit Explained

The distinguishing feature of the newest version of the Chromecast is the remote. Below are some of the features that the Chromecast with Google TV remote provides:

Buttons:

Radial D-Pad – On the top of the remote is a radial pad that allows the user to move the on-screen cursor up, down, left, or right.
Select Button – In the middle of the Radial D-Pad is a Select button used to confirm menu selections.
Home Button – Brings up the Home Menu.
Back Button – Moves to the previous screen.
Side Volume Buttons – Raises or lowers audio.
Power – Turns the Chromecast on or off.
Source – Choose the TV’s input source.
YouTube Button – Opens YouTube menu.
Netflix Button – Opens the Netflix app.
Google Assistant Button – Allows you to control Google TV via voice commands.

The remote also comes with an RF LED light which enables the user to pair the remote with devices other than the Chromecast with Google TV. Devices like the Roku or the Firestick, for example, can have multiple remotes, and the Google TV remote can be paired with them. The remote can also be paired with Smart TVs for more convenience. Please refer to your device or TV manual to find out how to pair additional remotes to that particular device.

The Google TV App

If you already have a streaming device and just want to get the app, it’s readily available via the Google Play Store. If you have an Android device with Google Play Movies & TV installed, then Google TV only requires a quick update.

If you’ve used the Google Play Movies & TV app before, then you should be familiar with the interface as it’s practically the same. If you’re new to the app, then the icons and menus are as follows:

Home – located on the bottom menu, brings you to the Home screen.
Shop – On the bottom menu, contains a list of shows that you can buy or rent via the Google Play Movies & TV platform.
Library – On the bottom menu, shows you a list of shows that you own or are currently renting.
Watchlist – Movies and shows that you label as Watch Later will be displayed here. Located on the bottom menu.
Search Bar – On the top of the screen, you can type in the name of any show you want to search for here.
Settings Menu – The three lines icon inside the search bar. Contains a dropdown list for the Google TV app settings.
For You / Movies / Shows Tab – Contains recommendations of videos based on your viewing habits and what you recently watched, both for the Google Play Movies Platform and other streaming sites.

Google TV FAQ

Below are some common questions regarding Google TV and the Chromecast with Google TV.

  1. How do I get kids profiles on Google TV?
    Google TV allows parents to monitor and control their children’s viewing habits via a Family Link option in the app. To use Family Link, you need to set up your child’s profile and link it to your account. This can be done by following these steps:
    1. On the Google TV app Home screen, tap on your profile icon on the top right corner.
    2. Under Who’s watching tap on Add a kid.
    3. Tap on Get Started.
    4. If you already have a family group set up, choose your child’s Google Account from the group.
    5. If you haven’t set up their account, tap on Add a kid then follow the instructions.
    6. If you don’t have a family group set up, proceed to Google’s Families Page and set up your account.
    7. When Google TV has finished setting up your kid’s profile, choose the apps that will be displayed on their Home screen.
    8. You can set up parental controls by following the next instructions.
  2. Can Google TV run android apps?
    Yes. Because Google itself made the Google TV app and Chromecast with Google TV, it has access to all the available apps on the Google Play Store. You can open the Google Play Store to look for android apps you wish to use, or alternatively use Google Search or the Google Assistant to find apps to install.
  3. Is Google TV a subscription service?
    No. Google TV itself is just free software that gives you access to movies and TV shows. When you buy a Chromecast with Google TV, you’re paying for the streaming device, not the Google TV software. In fact, you can get Google TV on a mobile device entirely free.
    However, Google TV may suggest movies and shows which are behind a paywall. Netflix shows, for example, require a monthly subscription in order for you to watch them. You may turn off the option for Google TV to display recommendations on services you don’t have.
  4. How much is Google TV monthly?
    Google TV has no monthly subscription fee. The Chromecast with Google TV costs about $50, while the app itself is entirely free. Once you buy the Chromecast or download the app you don’t need to pay anything else to use it.
    Content is an entirely different matter. Netflix, Disney +, HBO Max among others require monthly fees to access their shows and movies. There are free channels available like Crackle that provide streaming without any fees.
  5. Is Google TV the same as YouTube TV?
    No. Google TV and YouTube TV are two entirely different apps even though they come from the same company. YouTube TV is a paid service that gives you access to over 85 local and national networks and gives you live TV content.
    Using Google TV when you have a YouTube TV subscription will give the Google TV app access to shows that are available in the YouTube TV app. Google TV has the ability to aggregate content from different subscription services and display them in one convenient menu.
  6. Can Google TV play Stadia or play any games?
    The Chromecast with Google TV has the ability to install software from the Google Play Store, including Android games. The Stadia, however, has yet to be supported on the device. There hasn’t been any reason given as to why you can’t play Stadia on the Chromecast with Google TV as both products come from Google.
    If you really wish to play Stadia on your new Chromecast, you can attempt to sideload it to the device. Until an official update is announced by Google that offers Stadia support, the two aren’t officially compatible.                   
  7. Can Google TV mirror iPhone?
    Not officially. Although the Google TV app, or at least the Google Play Movies App is available on the Apple App Store, this method only streams movies but won’t mirror your iPhone screen. The Android and iOS operate on different casting software. AirPlay for iOS and Cast for Android.
    There are third-party apps like ApowerMirror or AirServer that give you the ability to mirror your iPhone to a Chromecast device within the same Wi-Fi network. As for official iPhone mirror support, there isn’t any.                                                
  8. Will Google TV come to Nvidia Shield?
    Yes. As the Nvidia Shield is an Android-based video streaming device, it will be highly likely that Google TV will eventually be compatible with it. Google has also announced that it will eventually roll out Google TV support for all Android TV boxes, Nvidia Shield among them.                                
  9. Does Google TV work on PC/Windows?
    Yes. Both Google TV and the Google Play Movies & TV app works well with a PC or using the Windows OS. All you need to do is install the Chrome browser and run Google TV from there. Running Google TV via the Chrome browser will open a window that will display the movies and shows you want to watch. The app itself will be under the Chrome apps tab of your Chrome browser.         
  10. Does Google TV work on iPhone?          
    Yes. The Google Play Movies & TV app and the Google TV app are basically the same thing. The app itself is available on the Apple App Store and can be downloaded to your iOS device.                                
  11. Does Google TV work on Android phone?
    Yes. In fact, the Google TV app was designed for Android devices. If you don’t want to buy the Chromecast with Google TV, you can use your Android device instead. Just download the app via the Google Play Store and cast it to your current video streaming device.
    Getting the new Chromecast is recommended as the remote is a more convenient way of navigating the menus and you don’t need an extra mobile device.                    
  12. Do you need a smart tv for Google TV?
    No. The Google TV app or the Chromecast with Google TV will run whether or not you connect it to a smart TV. The Google TV app will stream to any compatible video streaming device, and the Chromecast is compatible with any TV with an HDMI port.                         
  1. Can you jailbreak Google TV?
    Yes. As with Android phones, jailbreaking the Chromecast with Google TV involves accessing developer options in order to install software form places other than the Google Play Store. This is typically not recommended as unknown software can damage the device, and jailbreaking itself can void your warranty. If you still wish to jailbreak your device, you can do so by following these steps:
    • Click on your profile icon on the top right of the screen.
    • Click on Settings.
    • Navigate the menu and choose System.
    • Click on About.
    • Find Android TV OS Build from the list and click on it seven times.
    • A notice will pop up saying that you are now a developer.
    • Go back to the Settings menu.
    • Click on Apps
    • Scroll down to Security & Restrictions.
    • Choose unknown sources.
      You have now jailbroken the Chromecast and can now install apps that aren’t from the Google Play Store. You can install downloader apps that will allow you to search third-party content.   
  2. Is Google TV voice activated?
    Yes. Google Assistant itself is integrated with the Chromecast with Google TV. In fact, there’s a Google Assistant button and a built-in microphone on the remote. Just push the Google Assistant button and give your voice commands in order to use this smart feature.
  3. Does Google TV work with Alexa?          
    Not officially. As the Google Assistant is built-in with the Chromecast with Google TV, there really isn’t a reason to use Alexa to operate it. There are third-party apps that will allow you to control the Google TV or any other Android TV device with Alexa voice commands.

Other Quick Guides

Here are a few quick comparisons with other streaming devices on the market.

Google TV vs. Amazon Firestick

The Amazon Firestick has been around since 2014, and has seen many subsequent iterations. Although the older models of the Firestick are cheaper than the Chromecast with Google TV, the newest 4K model has the same price point.

In terms of resolution, both the Chromecast with Google TV and the newest Amazon Firestick is capable of displaying shows in 4K. In terms of available programming, Google TV does have an advantage as many new services like Peacock aren’t available on the Firestick.

With so many features almost equal, it really comes down to viewing convenience in choosing which device to get. In this regard, the Chromecast with Google TV has the edge. With its ability to aggregate shows from multiple platforms and the built-in Google Search and Google Assistant, it’s much easier to browse content on the Chromecast with Google TV.

Google TV vs. Roku

This is another close call. The Roku’s newest model, the Roku Streaming Stick Plus, hovers around the same price range, with it being offered anywhere from $45 to $50. The interface itself is quite simple and easy to navigate which makes viewing shows a breeze.

What sets Chromecast with Google TV apart is the number of features it offers, especially if you’re subscribed to many streaming services. Google’s search engine and Google Assistant integration makes fining new shows easier on the Chromecast with Google TV. Roku may have the advantage with native support for both iOS and Android mirroring, though the Chromecast can do the same with third-party apps.

Ultimately, the choice will depend on how many services you’re subscribed to. If you have a lot of streaming subscriptions, Chromecast with Google TV is the definite pick as it will make it easier to navigate all your other apps. If you want an easy-to-use and straightforward streaming device, the Roku may be a better option.

Google TV vs. Apple TV

When it comes to aesthetics, Apple TV certainly has an advantage, with its faster menus, HomeKit integration, and a larger local storage for downloading shows. A definite disadvantage of the Apple TV is its pricing. At almost four times the price of the Chromecast with Google TV, the speedy menus and larger storage may not be worth it.

In regards to features, the Chromecast with Google TV is the clear winner. Along with thousands of free Android apps via the Google Play Store, the built-in Google Search and Google Assistant offer better show recommendations and content searching.

If you’re a big fan of Apple products, you may get more use with the Apple TV as your devices integrate well with the device. For those who use Android products, both mobile and smart devices, the Chromecast with Google TV is an obvious choice, especially at the lower price point.

Google TV vs. YouTube TV

YouTube TV isn’t a streaming device, rather it’s a paid service on YouTube that offers various content for rent or purchase. Both services come from the same company, and the Chromecast with Google TV remote itself comes with a YouTube button. If you subscribe to YouTube TV, there’s no reason not to use the Google TV app as it’s free and both are compatible.

Google TV vs. Android TV

Google TV is the newest operating software for Android TVs. Google has said that it will enable the Google TV app to operate on all Android TV variants.

Google TV vs. Nvidia Shield

The Nvidia Shield is an Android TV box so the Google TV app itself will be compatible with the device once Google releases the proper updates.

Your Favorites in One Convenient Location

With Google TV, you no longer need to switch between various apps just to find the content that you want to watch. Google TV aggregates your various subscriptions so you always have all your favorite content in one convenient location. With the Chromecast with Google TV offering a much needed remote, you no longer need a mobile device to control your Chromecast. All these new features, Google has finally come up with a product to compete with the likes of Roku, Firestick and Apple TV.

Do you have experiences regarding Google TV or the Chromecast with Google TV? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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