At long last we get the scoop on Google’s all new Chromecast with Google TV built-in. They began their ‘Launch Night In’ event today by stating how TV is at the heart of the home for our families and they’re not wrong. It’s sporting a revamped and re-branded Google TV instead, which seeks to help you discover new content you love, only faster. True to their mission of organizing the world’s information and making it universally accessible and useful, it looks like they are applying AI and machine learning super powers to present you with content in new ways. Essentially, you’ll be browsing individual apps less and watching more.
Solving the Chromecast problem
Chromecast is pretty much a household name now and they’ve had no problem selling out of stock consistently over the past few years thanks to their $35 price tag and forward-thinking offerings. Even still, they’ve failed to capture two specific audiences with their dongle – those who prefer to use a physical remote instead of casting content from their phone and those who want to browse using a TV interface instead of their phone screen. When I was working more closely with customers, I found that a lot of people who bought Roku devices instead of a Chromecast did so for these reasons. That shouldn’t be a problem anymore as the new Chromecast has both. This should definitely make Roku a bit nervous.
The new device has the ability to display up to 4k resolution with high dynamic range at 60 frames per second. It still plugs directly into the HDMI port on the back of your TV and includes Dolby Vision for extraordinary color, contrast, brightness and detail. HDMI pass-through for Dolby Audio content is also available. Powering it, we have a USB type-c instead of a micro USB. There is also Bluetooth built-in so that you’ll be able to connect your Stadia controller next year.
Chromecast with Google TV built-in will ship in three colors – Snow, Sky and Sunrise thanks to Google’s affinity with naming their hardware uniquely. The remote strongly resembles that of the Nvidia Shield TV and features both a Netflix and a Youtube button for quick access into those applications. There’s also an Assistant button so that you can search for content by voice.
The new Google TV interface is custom-built around providing tailored content recommendations using all of your compatible apps and subscriptions. It’s heavily integrated with Youtube TV for those who have an active subscription to the service. They’ve even included a “Live” tab at the top of the UI, making it feel like a natural inclusion. Earlier this year Google killed off their Fiber cable service in favor of Youtube TV.
Google revealed that there will be a “Watch List” feature built into the new Google TV as well. You can already add TV and movies to this watch list through Google search. Now, you’ll be able to see your watch list right on your TV after adding content to it from anywhere.
Ambient mode lets you use your Google Photos as a sort of TV screensaver. This feature recently came to Nest Hub and Chromebooks. It was also available on the previous Chromecast, but it looks as though they’re going to continue focusing on improvements here. It will presumably include more useful information in the future.
You’ll also be able to control your smart home using the Assistant button on the remote by saying things like “turn down the lights” or “show me who’s at the front door”. The new Chromecast integrates with Nest cameras, smart lights and more.
Pricing and Availability
You can buy the new Chromecast with Google TV right now for just $49.99 standalone on the Google Store. It can also be purchased as a bundle which includes a new Chromecasts and 6 months of Netflix for $89.99. You can still claim the Netflix promo if you’re already a Netflix subscriber. All three color variants are already available on Best Buy as well.