Chromecast's Android 12 update delivers a huge upgrade — with a big catch

The Chromecast with Google TV HD
(Image credit: Henry T. Casey for Tom's Guide)

The Chromecast with Google TV 4K is getting a great new feature from ... Android 12? Yes, that might sound odd — Android 13 dropped in August, mind you — but one of the added features of this update is great for film-lovers and anyone who wants their streaming to look correct.

As FlatPanelsHD notes, the fine print for this update includes "New! Match content frame rate allows you to switch between refresh rates." This is huge for anyone who thinks movies just don't look right on the Chromecast. 

If you've ever noticed that the motion in movies just doesn't look right, that might be because of something called judder. This is due to streaming devices rendering films at the wrong framerate, though your streaming service of choice has to be able to provide the movie at the right framerate.

Where's the catch? Well, you need a TV that supports 120Hz, because you can evenly divide 120 by 24. Only with one of those TVs should you go hunting for the Match content frame rate setting in the Chromecast with Google TV, and choose the first or second of these three options: Seamless, Non-seamless and Never.

Roku's long had this feature (Settings > System > Advanced system settings > Advanced display settings > Auto-adjust display refresh rate), as has Apple TV (Settings > Video and Audio > Match Content) and Fire TV (Settings > Display & Sound > Display > Match Original Frame Rate).

Analysis: Why this matters

Without this setting, 24fps films are often delivered incorrectly, partially because you can't divide 60 by 24 evenly. As HowToGeek explains, this causes one frame of a film to display for two refreshes and a subsequent frame to display for three seconds. 

This incorrect and uneven pattern makes movies look wrong, and it's called "juddering." This shouldn't be confused with stuttering video, but it's the kind of flaw that's slowly being removed.

So, when you're watching a movie or show with a slow camera pan, say No Country For Old Men, you'll probably notice uneven motion as the camera moves across a plane. 

Other Android 12 updates for Chromecast with Google TV 4K

Android 12 is also providing giving the Chromecast with Google TV new privacy switches for connected cameras and microphones, and upgrading its security patching to July 2022's levels. 

HDR and surround sound settings have also been added, so you can pick your favorite options.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.