There’s no denying one of the most significant upgrades with the new Chromecast with Google TV is the addition of a remote. Sure, the fact that there is a UI to move around between shows and streaming services is a big deal, too, but the real game-changer this time around is that handy remote. We’ve talked before about how to use the Android TV remote app on your phone to control your new Chromecast, but what we have to show you today is even more integrated, simpler to get started with, and just plain cool to see.
The concept is simple even if it isn’t straightforward to find. Integrated right in to the YouTube app on Android, there is now a dedicated remote and voice command UI and you need to do literally nothing extra in order to get it running. The easiest way to get rolling is to start casting a video from your phone to the new Chromecast, and then proceed to click the cast icon again. At this point, you’ll see the usual casting bits, but you’ll also see two additional options under that. Take a look.
As you can see, the normal volume and disconnect options are now joined by voice search and remote options. Clicking into the remote gets you access to a 4-way directional pad, a select button and the voice search button. Just like you can do on the standard Chromecast with Google TV remote, you can use these buttons to move through the interface on your TV when connected to the new Chromecast in the YouTube app.
If you choose to begin your cast session while not in a particular video, the YouTube interface will show on the television and you can navigate through all the menus just as if you had the standard remote in hand. Additionally, the voice search option passes you requests right to the Chromecast and you see your queries happen in real time on the screen as you search for the content you are looking for. Once you are finished, you can click the cast icon and disconnect from the session.
It is simple, sleek, and requires nothing other than the latest version of YouTube on your Android device. The whole thing is so nice to use that I’m genuinely hopeful that we’ll see this type of integration built into other streaming services. I know many users would find usefulness in something like this for YouTube TV, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+ and others. It is unclear at this point if Google will make the API open to other services or if this will maintain a YouTube-only feature. I’m hopeful that the latter doesn’t end up being the case.