At its core, the new Chromecast with Google TV is an attempt to simplify streaming. Instead of just presenting an app for streaming services, the $ 50 streaming dongle tries to compile each service’s movies and TV shows into one easy-to-use menu.
In addition to the stylish veneer, you will also find lots of powerful features to get the most out of your TV viewing. Here are 15 ways to make your Chromecast with Google TV even more useful:
Choose your streaming services
During the installation, you should have been asked which streaming services you use. The choices you then make dictate which services recommend content to watch on the Google TV home screen. If you need to add or remove services later, go to Settings> Accounts & sign-in> [Your Account] > Your services.
Add to your watchlist
One of the best features of Google TV is its universal watch list, which lets you keep track of movies and programs in many different streaming services. After selecting a show on Chromecast with the Google TV home screen, click the “Watchlist” button. Your selections are displayed in the line “From your watchlist” on the home screen and under the “Library” tab.
Manage your watch list remotely
You can add items to your watchlist even when you are not in front of the TV. Just do a Google search for any movie or show, then click the Watchlist button below the program list. (This will appear in a right-hand sidebar of the desktop version of Google or below the mobile search bar.) You can also search for “my watchlist” to see what you’ve already added.
Alternatively, you can use the Google TV app for Android (and in the future iOS). From there, you can search for any movie or show and add it to your watchlist.
Rearrange the apprades
To change the order of apps in the “Your apps” line on the home screen of Google TV, long press on any app, then select “Move”. Use the arrow keys to move the app and then press the selection key to release it in place.
To change which apps appear on the Home screen, scroll to the end of the line and select “View All”. From here, you can long press on any app and select “Move” to rearrange it. The 12 best apps are displayed on the home screen without having to press “See all”.
Install apps easily
To install a new app on Chromecast with Google TV, you can easily search for it by going to the “Apps” tab and scrolling down to “Search for apps.” When you see the keyboard appear, press and hold the black Google Assistant button on the remote control to search by voice.
If you use a computer, you can also install apps remotely through the Google Play Store website. Just press the green “Install” button for any app, and as long as it’s supported on TVs, you should be able to select your Chromecast from the device list.
Get more from Google Assistant
Google has finally included its full search capability on the new Chromecast. Hold the black Google Assistant button on the remote control so you can search for titles, actors, directors or genres. With some streaming services – including Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney + and CBS All Access – you can even launch specific movies and programs instantly, and you can tune in to specific live channels with voice using Sling TV or YouTube TV.
If you are unsure of what to ask Google, just press the Assistant button on the remote control instead of holding it or scroll over to the Search tab, where you will see suggested voice commands and genres to browse.
Use hands-free voice controls
For those who have a Google Home or Nest smartphone in headphones, you can ask it to play videos from certain apps. Try saying “Hi Google, look The last dance on Netflix ”or“ Hi Google, watch Mandalorianen on Disney plus ”, and Chromecast automatically opens the app and starts playing the video. This also works for tuning live channels to YouTube TV or Sling TV.
If you have problems with voice commands, you can try to include the name of Chromecast in your request. You can also open the Google Home app on your phone, select your speaker, tap the Gear icon, and select “Standard TV.” From here, you can select your Chromecast to play in response to voice commands.
Adjust your TV controls
As with many other streaming devices, Chromecast has Google TV’s remote control volume, power and power buttons, along with an IR blaster to control these features on your TV. As an added bonus, it also includes a button to change the input.
Even better, Google lets you configure the remote so that each button controls different parts of your A / V system. For example, you can let the power switch control all your devices via HDMI-CEC and your volume button control a receiver over IR. To set these controls, go to Settings> Remote controls and accessories> Set remote buttons.
Consider turning off HDR upconversion
If you have an HDR-compatible TV, Chromecast with Google TV will run its entire interface with a high dynamic range, even if the content you are watching does not support the format. Purists may want to disable this feature so that HDR mode only starts for supported content. Go to Settings> Display & Sound> Match Content, then turn off “Match Dynamic Content Range.”
Use Google Photos for a screensaver
When you’re not actively using your Chromecast, it can still act as a big picture frame by integrating with Google Photos. Start by creating a Live Album in Google Photos, which uses face recognition to automatically drag photos of people you choose. (More information on how to set this up.)
After creating an album, open the Google Home app on your phone, click your Chromecast in the device list, tap the gear icon, and then choose Ambient Mode> Google Photos. Select the Live Album you just created and you should start viewing photos on the TV when it enters screen saver mode. To start viewing photos right away, long press the home button and click on the icon that shows the time.
You can always switch back to generic photos by going to Settings> System> Ambient mode.
Set sound in multiple rooms
Chromecast with Google TV can create an entire home audio system with other Chromecasts, Google Home speakers and Nest Audio speakers, so all your music is played synchronized across multiple speakers. To set this up, open the Google Home app on your phone, select your Chromecast, tap the Gear icon, and then select “Group.” You will be able to create a new speaker group or add Chromecast to an existing group from here.
Use your phone as a remote control
Despite its name, Chromecast can use Google TV to send media to your TV from supported apps. Just tap the cast icon in apps like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube, then select your Chromecast from the device list to start streaming.
If your remote control is out of range, you can also install the Android TV Remote Control app on Android or iOS. This provides a directional pad and navigation buttons to control Chromecast from your phone, along with an on-screen keyboard for entering text.
Use a USB-C hub for accessories
Chromecast with Google TV contains only a single USB-C port for power, but if you connect a USB-C hub (like this one) to that port, then connect the Chromecast power cable to the hub’s power port and connect all types of other accessories. I have confirmed that this works with game controllers, USB sticks and USB-to-Ethernet adapters. (Unfortunately, I had no such luck with a USB TV receiver for transmission transmissions.)
Redo some buttons
If you have no need for the Netflix and YouTube shortcut buttons at the bottom of the remote, use them for other functions with the Button Remapper app.
After installing the app, go to Settings> System> Accessibility and click on Button Remapper and then select “Enable”. You can then select a button from the list to change how it works, or press “Add Buttons” to re-map the keys that do not appear. (Some features, such as re-mapping the back button, require an in-app purchase of $ 5.)
What can you do with these buttons instead? Try re-mapping the Netflix button or the input button to an app of your choice. Or download the ATV Launcher and map it to a double-tap of the home button, giving you quick access to all your installed apps.
Get rid of recommendations
While the universal guide is without a doubt the main attraction of Google’s new guide, you can still disable it if you want something simpler. Just go to Settings> Accounts> (Your Account) and enable “Apps Only” mode. This will hide everything except the top row of teasers – they can not unfortunately removed – and your apps are listed below.
I’ll be reviewing the new Chromecast with Google TV soon. In the meantime, if you have any other questions about it, feel free to contact us via email or Twitter.
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