Here’s what the new Chromecast’s Google TV software looks like

Here’s what the new Chromecast’s Google TV software looks like

All indications level to Google asserting its newest Chromecast throughout tomorrow’s {hardware} occasion. And I managed to purchase one yesterday even earlier than the “official” unveiling. So I can now verify that, as the rumors and leaks have made clear over the previous couple of weeks, this isn’t the Chromecast that the majority customers are aware of.

Instead of a no-frills TV dongle that performs content material despatched over from the apps in your telephone or laptop, the new Chromecast lastly has a correct menu system and acquainted consumer interface — and now it comes with an precise distant management.

Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

It’s a Chromecast in identify, however Google’s newest streaming gadget is definitely powered by Android TV, which extra intently resembles a Roku or Amazon Fire TV in how you utilize it. Apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, HBO Max, and plenty of others may be downloaded onto the Chromecast itself. You can browse them with the distant and begin taking part in one thing with out having to forged it from one other gadget. It’s all very intuitive and straightforward to make use of.

But whereas Android TV is the basis of the new Chromecast, the entire expertise feels very new. Because not like TVs from Sony and set-top containers from Nvidia and different manufacturers that run the conventional model of Android TV, Google has created a new “Google TV” layer atop the working system that utterly replaces the outdated residence display expertise.

Each row on the Google TV residence display combines content material from a number of streaming apps.

Instead of letting you customise the residence display (Android TV provides some apps like Netflix and YouTube their very own devoted rows that you may transfer round or do away with), Google TV is all about aggregation. It brings collectively content material from all the streaming providers you’re subscribed to and lists all of them aspect by aspect in Netflix-like rows of suggestions.

There are devoted tabs for films and TV exhibits (together with a customized “For You” part that mixes them collectively), however Google is clearly making an attempt to interrupt down the partitions between streaming platforms. It’s the similar factor Apple has tried with the Apple TV app. In the screenshot above, discover how in the lively row, Google TV exhibits paintings for every present — however nearly places extra significance on making it clear what service they’re all coming from.

You can toggle which apps you pay for, and which you don’t, to affect what content material Google pushes on you. But even then, generally you’ll see objects from HBO Max no matter whether or not the service is unchecked. If a advice is from an app you’re not presently subscribed to (or if a rental or buy is required to look at it), you’ll see a small lock icon subsequent to that title as a visible cue that it’ll take greater than a pair clicks to start out streaming; you’re gonna must pay one thing.

If you don’t presently subscribe to a service, you’ll see a lock icon.

So sure, the residence display has seen a dramatic overhaul, however there’s nonetheless loads of Android TV right here. You can do voice searches by holding down the Google Assistant button on the distant and talking. The common search brings again outcomes from all the huge streaming providers, and right here you’ll helpfully nonetheless see these devoted rows for apps like Netflix. As earlier than, Google Assistant can management your good residence devices or test the climate.

Android TV’s highly effective search remains to be current.

If you may obtain an app on Android TV, you may obtain it onto the new Chromecast. It stays attainable to sideload software (I simply efficiently did that with Stadia), and energy customers nonetheless have the freedom to futz with developer choices and see how far they’ll push Google’s new $50 dongle. But there’s no approach to utterly disable Google TV and get again the common Android TV expertise, at the least not one I may discover. And sure, you’re nonetheless very a lot in a position to forged films, exhibits, and audio from different gadgets to the Chromecast. So it retains that core a part of the attraction from its predecessors.

I’ll have far more to say about the new Chromecast with Google TV very quickly. But there’s been loads of confusion over simply what precisely this factor is and what it does. It’s a Chromecast that truly runs Android TV, with an all-new “Google TV” software interface that’s unique to this gadget, at the least for now.

…Make sense?

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