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Chromecast with Google TV HD review: Super simple 1080p streaming

by Ozva Admin

Google’s latest streaming dongle is very similar to the previous that when I first opened it, I experienced a little deja vu. The new Chromecast with Google TV still sports a wicked oval design, comes packaged with an identical remote, and even the operating system that powers everything is (largely) unchanged. The only major difference (at least on the outside) is the updated packaging that features a label that says “HD.” So instead of supporting 4K displays, this new, more affordable Chromecast is aimed squarely at people looking to stream shows and movies on 1080p displays. And from my point of view, that’s fine, because while it’s limited to HD content, it offers essentially the same great viewing experience that we loved in the original.

The basics

I’m not going to bore you with the typical design section, because the Chromecast with Google TV (HD) is incredibly simple and almost a carbon copy of its predecessor. There’s the Chromecast itself that connects directly to your TV via HDMI, a separate remote with a built-in microphone and Google Assistant button for voice controls, and a power adapter with a USB cable that you can use on case your TV can’t supply enough juice using only HDMI.

The Chromecast with Google TV UI is largely unchanged, and features a simple layout with a number of important tabs for various content across the top.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Setup is also incredibly easy. Thanks to an update to Android 12 for TV (which comes pre-installed), there’s a new sign-in process that works by using your phone to scan a QR code in the Google Home app. This eliminates the tedium of having to enter your credentials, connect to WiFi, etc. However, if you want to do things manually, that’s also an option.

Once the Chromecast is up and running, you can log into your favorite streaming apps normally and then dive into some of the more advanced settings like HDMI CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) which allows the Chromecast to do things like turn on automatically when he shoots turn up your tv. You can also use Google’s controller pairing settings to program your Chromecast remote to mirror important functions like adjusting volume or changing inputs. That means if you’re like me and have a relatively simple setup, you could even stash your TV remote in a drawer and rely entirely on Chromecast, which is a great way to cut down on clutter.

The streaming experience

The Chromecast with Google TV remote control is very compact and has a side volume control similar to that of a smartphone.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

When it comes to finding something to watch, things couldn’t be easier. There’s a dedicated row across that top that makes it easy to find shows, movies, apps, and purchased content, along with a Live tab that works with a handful of streaming TV services (YouTube TV, Pluto TV, Sling TV, Philo). ), so you can jump to the currently broadcasting program directly from the main home screen.

Naturally, as this model focuses on 1080p content, you won’t get support for 4K video. But even with the HD model’s relatively light specs (just 1.5GB of RAM with an Amlogic S805X2 chip), performance felt very similar to the original Chromecast with Google TV. At startup, there is often a bit of a delay as the dongle loads the operating system and opens the art for content recommendations. And if you pay attention, you may also notice some minor hiccups when you switch between apps or settings very quickly. But overall things are smooth, especially during playback, which is when it really matters.

Gallery: Chromecast with HD Photos from Google TV | 7 photos

The other notable feature you won’t get on this new cheaper Chromecast is Dolby Vision support. That said, this omission doesn’t seem like much of an issue since many 1080p TVs (particularly older ones) can’t handle that anyway. At least there is still support for HDR10.

Other news in Android 12 for TV

As the first device to come with Android 12 for TV pre-installed, the new Chromecast includes a number of handy quality of life improvements that will eventually come to other Google TV devices. These include the ability to adjust text scaling (from 85 percent to 130 percent), options to match the frame rate of your content (which is set to auto by default), and some surround sound controls. additional. And just like Android 12 on phones, a small popup will also appear when Chromecast activates its microphone, so there’s no confusion about when it’s listening to you.

To wrap

The Chromecast with Google TV HD comes with a remote control included, the dongle itself, and a USB cable and power adapter.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

With the Chromecast with Google TV (HD), it’s clear that the company didn’t try to do too much. And that’s totally fine, because the original blueprint works fine. Here it is only designed for 1080p screens. You get the same great user interface, a nifty compact remote that covers all the basics, and more than enough performance, all for just $30. So if you have an older TV or secondary screen that could benefit from a modern TV streaming OS (and haven’t invested in other streaming platforms yet), the Chromecast with Google TV (HD) is the watch companion you need. needs to.

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