Since its debut, the new Chromecast with Google TV has been a fan favorite and the new go-to streaming dongle for many users; including all of us here at Chrome Unboxed. The addition of the remote and a proper on-screen UI to the already-great Chromecast formula has made this new streamer an easy recommend for all sorts of people, but that doesn’t mean it is completely without a learning curve. Hidden inside the Chromecast remote are a handful of quick shortcuts that, if you know them, can save you a bit of time and really make you a Chromecast remote ninja. Let’s take a look.
Quick access to settings
Let’s start with a quick, simple shortcut that will save you and your remote quite a few clicks. Anywhere in the Google TV UI – home, in an app, watching a show – you can simply hold down the home button for just a second or two and your settings/account menu will pop up. From there you can access your account and settings page. It sounds like a small thing, but it is a real time saver.
Live TV guide and channel jump
For those of you that use YouTube TV, these two shortcuts will make your navigation far more productive. First up, you’ve likely already noticed a disparity between the channel guide you see on the home page and the one you can eventually view in the YouTube TV app. The Google TV guide is far better looking, but the one you get inside the app is likely the one you need to leverage more often. But how do you get there? It took me a bit of poking around to find it, but all you have to do to get back to your live guide quickly when watching content is hit the back button. From there, you can look around at other live programming to watch or simply look at your library as well.
In a similar fashion, over the weekend I was really missing the ability to jump between a couple channels. I was trying to watch two games at once and going back to the live guide each time to move back and forth between the two is just as clunky as it sounds. Thankfully, I found that you can easily jump to the last thing you were watching by pressing down on the directional pad on the remote twice from the live view of whatever you are currently watching. From there, you can actually see the last few items you’ve tuned into and quickly jump to what you were looking for.
YouTube button remapping
The Chromecast remote has a few hardwired buttons on it that, while questionable, I understand and use pretty often. We can talk at another time about the fact that the Netflix button should indicate a deep integration between that service and Google TV (it does not), but the real point is having the biggest, most-used services there just a button press away and both the YouTube and Netflix buttons give users this option.
With YouTube, Google allows users to actually choose which YouTube service they’d like attached to that hard button. For users like me who tends to use YouTube TV far more often than YouTube on my television, I like having that special button set aside for YouTube TV. To change it, simply hold down the YouTube button for a second and you’ll be met with a quick, pop-UI that will allow you to choose the action you want to attach to the button. Simple.
YouTube thumbs-up, end screens and subscriptions
Though I just got done saying I tend to watch YouTube TV more on my television than the standard YouTube, that doesn’t mean I don’t catch up on my subscriptions from time to time from the couch. For those times when I finish a great video and need to smash that thumbs-up button, I can do that as well right from my remote. At the end of any video, all you need to do to take advantage of all the standard end of video interactions is press up a couple times on the direction pad on the remote and you’ll access some additional functions. Click the three-dot menu for the ability to like the video, subscribe to the channel, or continue pressing up to select any of the end cards for more content.
Application removal shortcut
Finally, the last shortcut we want to mention is the one that allows you to quickly remove applications without digging into menus. Simply highlight the app you want to delete, long-press the center button on the remote, and a menu will appear. Select ‘view details’ and you’ll be taken to a screen where you can select the uninstall option. Sure, you can get here via the settings menu, but this shortcut saves a ton of time.
That’s it! We hope the above shortcuts only make your experience with the new Chromecast with Google TV that much better, simpler, and more enjoyable. We love this little streaming dongle and knowing how to move through the OS with a bit more speed an fluency has helped me love it that much more. I’m hopeful it does the same for you.