Earlier this month, Google announced new parental tools would finally be coming to all Google TV devices, beginning with its latest Chromecast, and the company has kept to its word. New child profiles are starting to appear for users in the US, improving how kid-friendly content is managed on its streaming software.
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.
The Chromecast with Google TV has a lot more capability than previous Chromecasts, thanks to its new Android TV-based interface. Google is looking to expand its powers further with new software updates, which should also apply to other Google TV hardware (whenever it arrives). The company announced new tools for managing what kids watch, and how long they can watch it.
HBO Max first launched nearly a year ago, bringing the majority of Time Warner Media's catalog under one roof with select high-profile shows and movies from other companies. The service is likely seeing a boost in subscribers, thanks to all the movies Warner Bros. is releasing on HBO Max (alongside limited theatrical runs), and now there are some improvements in store for TV watching.
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.
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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's media streaming offerings got a rather important bump in the form of the Chromecast with Google TV last year. Unlike its predecessors, the dongle is based on Android TV and has plenty of things going for it, including its remote and $50 price tag. Unfortunately, it's not all been smooth sailing. A lot of users have recently reported a bug that's randomly asking them to reset the device as "data may be corrupted."
The internet is generally a great place to waste time, but TikTok is the current king in this respect. I've resisted installing it on my phone since I get enough secondhand short video smoke from my girlfriend, but this new development is a worrying one. TikTok for Android TV is now available on the Play Store, which could put an end to any semblance of productivity we were pretending to still be capable of.
With movie theaters still closed in most places, the home theater experience is more important than ever. A spiffy Atmos surround sound system can take your viewing experience to the next level, but maybe you don't want to run wires or have speakers permanently installed around your room. Well, that happens to be the niche JBL is targeting with the JBL Bar 9.1. It's an Atmos-enabled soundbar with a whopping 820W of power and detachable satellite speakers that you can place around the room when you need them. It also has full integration with Google's Chromecast platform, so you can manage it from the Home app.
The Chromecast with Google TV is a brilliant product, as noted in Ryan's review, but it's not without its flaws. Since getting one a week ago, I've found Google's new Android TV skin to be a delight, so much so that my far more powerful Nvidia Shield has been relegated to the bench. The experience isn't perfect, however, and I've had to close misbehaving apps on several occasions. The most notable issue I've faced relates to Bluetooth audio, but thankfully there's an easy fix.