Alongside the two Pixel phones today Google announced the new ‘Chromecast with Google TV’, a streaming dongle similar to previous Chromecast devices but now with its own interface and remote.
The Chromecast with Google TV hardware has a design similar to the previous Chromecast but just a bit more elongated. The HDMI cable plugs directly into your TV or AV receiver and can be powered through the supplied USB adapter using the new USB-C connector.
The internals have been updated to 2020 standards and the device is now capable of outputting 4K at 60Hz along with Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and HDR10 support. On the audio side, it can process Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus with Dolby Atmos pass-through. The device also features dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and an unspecified version of Bluetooth.
The device will be available in three colors: Snow, Sunrise, and Sky.
The new Chromecast with Google TV also includes a remote. This slick new design as the navigation pad at the top, volume buttons on the side and also shortcut buttons for Google Assistant, YouTube, and Netflix. The remote has built-in accelerometer that could potentially be used in games. The remote connects to the Chromecast over Bluetooth and also has IR for TV, soundbars, and receivers.
On the software side, the new Chromecast with Google TV runs on, well, the new Google TV. Google TV is the new software layer that runs on top of the existing Android TV. Think of it as launcher that integrates with the existing Android TV OS and applications.
The new Google TV UI looks a lot like the Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV UI, with category tabs at the top and a tile-based UI for recently watched content and navigating the installed apps. It will categorize content from apps based on genre and suggest them based on your watch history. There’s also a new Watchlist feature, which integrates with your Google account, and lets you add content to your watch list from any app or any device.
Google TV is debuting with the new Chromecast but will be available on television models from Sony and other Android TV OS partners in 2021. Google will also be releasing the Google TV app on Android smartphones and tablets. The app will be available as an update to the existing Google Play Movies.
So that’s the Chromecast with Google TV. It’s available in the US starting today at $50. It can also be pre-ordered today in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain and the U.K. and will be available for purchase on October 15.