The new Chromecast with Google TV is the perfect streaming device for YouTube TV subscribers. Mainly because of the new "Live" tab in the new Google TV user interface.
I've had the new Chromecast with Google TV for only a couple of days now, and it's miles better than Roku and Amazon's Fire TV devices. And there are two big reasons why I believe that. One being the new "Live" tab for YouTube TV (it'll add support for other live TV services in the future, supposedly), and the other is the fact that it brings movies and TV shows from across all of your apps. And makes it easy to see where you can watch this – or buy it, if it's not available on any of your streaming TV apps.
Basically, Chromecast with Google TV has made cord cutting perfect for those with YouTube TV and a number of other services like Netflix, STARZ, Showtime and others.
YouTube TV's live listings are built seamlessly into Google TV's interface
This is by far my favorite feature of the new Chromecast. The fact that YouTube TV's live listings are built into the home screen. And that you can quickly jump into a channel, without having to wait for the app to load and then open the guide in the app and find the channel again. Once the app has been opened on your Chromecast, it is instant. As soon as you click on the program, it opens the app and loads the channel.
Depending on your internet speed, it may be a bit slower than a couple of seconds though. Like Sunday night during the NBA Finals, it took almost a minute for it to open the game on ABC. That's not too bad though.
The Live tab also shows some of your top picks that are live now. This gets information from YouTube TV for what you normally are watching at that time, or stuff you have DVR'd for that time. So it's more or less, shows that you normally watch.
For someone that mostly uses YouTube TV, Netflix, Hulu and HBO MAX to consume their content, this is a big deal. Gone are the days of opening the YouTube TV app (and waiting for it to painfully fully open on Android TV), going through the live listings to see nothing is on I want to watch, and then closing the app and moving to Netflix or HBO MAX. And repeating the process. I can now do it all from the home screen on Google TV.
This is how cord cutting should be. One central place for all of your content, making it easier to find stuff to watch.
For a limited time, Google is also giving out a free Chromecast with Google TV to those new YouTube TV subscribers that pay for a month of the service. So for $65, you are getting a month of YouTube TV and a free Chromecast with Google TV. That's not bad at all.
Content discovery is impressive
Behind the live TV listings for YouTube TV, the other big feature that I absolutely love, is the content discovery in the Movies and Shows tabs.
These tabs will show you different movies and Shows that you can watch, again based on what you've watched in the past. And also by genre. It's not by app.
So if you go through the Comedy genre, you might find The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and below it, you'll see that you can watch it on YouTube TV. Just click on it, and you'll jump right into wherever you left off. So if you are binge-watching an older TV Show like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, you will be taken to where you left off, instead of the most recent episode.
If you find a movie that you can't watch on any of the apps that you have, Google TV will tell you how much it'll cost on Google TV, or wherever else you can watch it. The listing page for the movie or show does show you all the places you can watch it. And that is insanely helpful. It's also something that Google, the search engine, already did.
This means that I am spending less time looking for something to watch, and more time watching something I wanted to watch. It may not sound like a lot, but just in the first few days of owning the Chromecast with Google TV, it has made a huge difference.
With apps like HBO, Showtime and STARZ changing up their catalogs every month, this makes it easy to see what movies are available where, and whether they are included with the services you already pay for.
Not every single app works with this feature though, however the majority of the big name apps do work. You can check out the full list here.
It now has an actual freaking remote
Arguably the most annoying aspect of the older Chromecast streaming dongles was the fact that there was no remote. Now it sounded cool, use your phone as the remote, and you'll never lose it. But Chromecast, especially the second-generation model, was really bad with disconnects. Meaning you could no longer control what was on your TV, because it disconnected from your phone. That wouldn't happen with a remote control. A real one.
Google heard our cries, and has given us a remote control with the Chromecast. It's a pretty simple remote control. It has a D-pad at the top, with back, home, Google Assistant, mute, power, and input buttons. There's also a volume rocker on the site. Google also included two hot buttons for YouTube and Netflix. Which, while I'm not a fan of these pre-determined buttons for streaming services, if you're going to pick two, these are the two to pick. Everyone uses YouTube and Netflix. Though, I would prefer the option to change these buttons to something else that the user would prefer to have.
The biggest complaint about the remote, is that it is still pretty slippery. So it is still easy to drop it and lose it in the couch cushions. But, at least you can control your TV more easily now.
This remote does also work for controlling your TV. It's also super simple to set up, and this means that now I can use one remote for Chromecast, my Hisense Android TV and my Sonos Beam.
The biggest downside to the Chromecast is, no Stadia support…yet
This is the most Google move ever. But Stadia does not work, officially, on the Chromecast with Google TV, yet. It won't until 2021.
However, if you sideload the Stadia app, you can use it on the Chromecast with Google TV now. Huh?
Yeah, Google isn't making it available for everyone, but you can sideload it no problem. We have no idea why this is the case, and honestly, it's stupid.
It's not a big deal to me, since I'm not a Stadia subscriber. But having this available at launch makes a whole lot of sense. And would make the Chromecast with Google TV the perfect streaming device, hands down.
I've fan boy'd out enough about the new Chromecast with Google TV, so let's wrap this up. I am really enjoying this new dongle from Google. It has taken the most annoying parts of Chromecast and fixed them, raised the price a little bit (to $49.99, but still very competitive with Fire TV and Roku), and given us a physical remote.
The Fire TV Stick 4K and Roku Streaming Stick+ are both great alternatives to the Chromecast with Google TV, but without YouTube TV support built into the home screen, they are not perfect. Of course, this really only applies to YouTube TV subscribers right now. Once Google adds support for other streaming Live TV services, that will change.
But as for now, it can't get any more perfect than the Chromecast with Google TV and YouTube TV paired together.