Review: Chromecast with Google TV is more than a simple streaming stick | NOW

The Chromecast with Google TV interface and a separate remote control is finally officially available in the Netherlands. It is the first dongle with a complete TV platform from Google and the device distinguishes itself from the competition by bundling films and series from various services in one overview.

In the Netherlands we had to wait almost two years for Google to release its new Chromecast. Although the device has been for sale through various channels for some time, it is only now fully supported on the Dutch market and is officially available.

Previous Chromecasts released since 2013 were ideal for older televisions without apps or other smart features. The dongles made it easy to stream movies on Netflix to the TV, for example. The device simply went into the HDMI connection and then you could send videos from a phone or laptop via WiFi to the big screen.

All that is still possible, but the new Chromecast is a world of difference compared to its predecessors. This has everything to do with Google’s television interface Google TV and the supplied remote control.

Yes, you get an extra remote control, but the advantage is that it controls your entire television and you no longer need a telephone. Other remote controls are therefore no longer necessary. It also has fixed buttons to open Netflix and YouTube and a separate button for the voice assistant. The volume buttons are somewhat awkwardly placed on the side.

Google TV shows movies and series from different apps in one place.


Google TV shows movies and series from different apps in one place.

Google TV shows movies and series from different apps in one place.

Photo: NU.nl/Rutger Otto

No longer a conduit

Where Chromecast previously only transmitted images, it now claims a central place where everything comes together on television. All apps from popular video services can be installed on it, such as Netflix, Videoland, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max and NLZIET. You can open the apps separately and browse the content library, but Google TV prefers to lump everything together.

For example, the home screen shows an overview of the series and films that you can watch on different services. Google TV categorizes itself, but you can also use Google Assistant to look up movies, series or genres. The voice control often works properly, but sometimes it doesn’t understand you well or you get something different than what you were looking for.

However, it is nice to get an overview on the homepage. Then you no longer have to navigate through masses of titles in different apps. The disadvantage is that you cannot determine yourself how the films and series are categorized. But Google hopes that you can let go of that and will sail on what the Chromecast offers you.

It is the first Chromecast with a remote control.


It is the first Chromecast with a remote control.

It is the first Chromecast with a remote control.

Photo: NU.nl/Rutger Otto

Also practical for other tasks

Google is late with its TV interface, because Amazon, Apple and Xiaomi have been offering these kinds of solutions for years. Google tries to distinguish itself with its own overview. Google Assistant is also a valuable addition, because the voice assistant works as you are used to. You can show the weather forecast on TV, ask if there is a traffic jam or request other information.

Users with smart equipment can also link it to the Chromecast. Just asking the Assistant if the lights can be turned off, works without any problems. Users with a Nest smart doorbell can even view images of the person in front of the front door on the TV when the doorbell rings. Because of this integration with other equipment, the Chromecast is not only usable for the TV, but for many more tasks.

Logical sequel to older Chromecasts

Research by Telecompaper showed in 2021 that 68 percent of Dutch households can be online via a smart television. It is not known how many people also have a Chromecast, Apple TV or, for example, a Horizon box from Ziggo. In any case, it is clear that many people stream films and series.

But the new Chromecast is mainly there for people who want a better overview of the growing range, do not want to get lost in thousands of films and series of individual apps, who want to easily operate their smart (Android) equipment at home and want more choice. in the kind of apps they can use on TV.

The Chromecast offers 4K with HDR support for an extra clear image and is well priced at 69 euros. Every now and then the software falters for a while, but never so much that it becomes annoying. All in all, the device is a logical sequel to the older Chromecasts that is not inferior to the existing competition.