Google’s new Chromecast dongle has had its fair shareof issues, but none has been as vexing as Netflix refusing to play nicely with the device — which, ironically, has a dedicated Netflix button on the remote. More recently, things have started to change as Netflix is back to integrating well with Google TV’s core functions, just as it did earlier — but there are some parts that aren’t back on track just yet.
Google's latest Chromecast was announced last year and heralded the eventual transition of Android TV to Google TV. But unlike custom skins, this new interface — with features like the Live tab and better Assistant integration — is also being made available to third-party TV manufacturers like Sony and TCL. We're now learning that these sets will also ship with a Basic TV mode that strips them of their smartness.
It's been more than two years since Amazon Music made its first appearance on Android TV, but at the time, the service was restricted to the Nvidia Shield TV. That is no longer the case, as the app is now available for all Google TV and Android TV sets, set-top boxes, consoles, and soundbars.
Google and Apple may be fierce competitors, but the companies do work together when it makes sense. All relevant Google apps are available on iOS, and Apple offers its music streaming service on Android. The walls were further torn down when Apple brought its streaming service to Sony Android TVs last year, and now, Google has finally announced that Apple TV is also coming to the Chromecast with Google TV and TCL models starting today.
This story was originally published and last updated .
Google TV is the name of the all-new interface Google introduced with the latest Chromecast last year. The homescreen layout has been focused on discovering content that's relevant to you, with access to your apps and settings squirreled away in a secondary pane of the UI — but there's no proper way to access the full Play Store on the Chromecast with Google TV. At least, not an obvious one. But the Play Store is there — you just need to use one of a few simple tricks to access it.
Google released the Chromecast with Google TV last year, which uses a modified build of Android TV. The altered software is still compatible with all Android TV apps, but it deviated in a few important ways, including how it handles multiple users. After many people were annoyed by its absence, parental controls are coming to the Google TV platform.
Unlike previous Chromecasts, the (relatively) new Chromecast with Google TV ships with a tiny adorable remote control that lets you launch apps, control playback, and navigate the interface without needing your phone. One caveat of that remote, though, is that it offers some preset buttons that launch YouTube and Netflix. What if you don't watch Netflix at all and prefer Plex and Disney+? Or what about launching your favorite music service? There's a simple way to remap some of those buttons to do what you want, and as a bonus, the same method can be used to take screenshots on your Chromecast.
Prolific television maker TCL has announced that it will be selling its first Google TV within the year. The set would be the first with the new UI and join a fleet of Roku TVs and low-end Android TVs in the portfolio.
Google TV is the latest iteration of Google's smart TV software, having made its debut on the latest Chromecast a few months back. Sony's new Bravia XR TVs are among the first to arrive with Google TV built-in, and they have some other noteworthy features as well.
Google TV, the Android user's hub for searching out and tracking streaming content, recently dumped support for Netflix content. That means if the show you're looking for is on Netflix, you'd have to tap around more to find it. But if your show is on Comcast's Peacock service instead, that's not the case anymore.