Forget new Apple TV 4K — cheaper Chromecast with Google TV just got even better

chromecast with google tv update
(Image credit: Future)

While we wait for the $179 new Apple TV 4K, the humble and much cheaper $49 Chromecast with Google TV is getting updated with a handful of useful features and security improvements.

Reddit user u/firefighter2021 discovered the update on their own Chromecast with Google TV, and Google is now rolling it out to other users in stages. In addition to the first Chromecast security update since December 2020, the patch also gives owners much more finer control over video playback.

Specifically, the patch notes include “Advanced Video Controls setting for granular HDR formats, resolution/refresh rate and color formats,” so depending on what your TV supports, you could get to make various tweaks to how movies and TV shows look. This update also makes HDMI hotplug improvements, so the Chromecast with Google TV is better at detecting the optimal settings for your particular screen.

There are also unspecified Wi-Fi improvements for 5Ghz and mesh networks, and wireless performance gets an additional boost with a reduction in stuttering when using Bluetooth devices — like headphones — with certain Chromecast apps.

The Chromecast with Google TV's HDMI-CEC capability, which allows the streaming device to communicate back and forth with the connected TV, also gets a small upgrade. It can now be configured, through the Chromecast’s settings, to let you turn the TV and off by itself while leaving the device itself still running.

To download and install the 166MB update, Chromecast with Google TV owners should hit up the main settings menu, then navigate to “System,” then “About,”, then “System update.” There’s also a new Chromecast voice remote update to download while you’re at it, though there are no patch notes for this and u/firefighter2021 isn’t sure what it does.

We quickly fell for the Google Chromecast with Google TV when it launched last year, and it’s encouraging to see Google continuously adding new features. The new Apple TV 4K is rumored to release on May 21, so hopefully we won’t have to wait long to see if Google’s support will help the Chromecast with Google TV to Apple’s much more premium streamer.

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James Archer

James is currently Hardware Editor at Rock Paper Shotgun, but before that was Audio Editor at Tom’s Guide, where he covered headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. A PC enthusiast, he also wrote computing and gaming news for TG, usually relating to how hard it is to find graphics card stock.

  • mc_gregor
    This is a good update, but what is with Google's puzzling decision not to develop multi-user support for Google TV? It is a great device for single people. But unless you want your spouse and children's viewing habits to affect what Google recommends to you and vice versa, what is the point in owning this device? Frankly, Apple's multi-user support is half-baked, but at least they acknowledge that many people who own these devices live in family households. From what I've read, most of these services have UX APIs that would allow the Rokus and Apples of this world to fully link user profiles within apps to user profiles on streaming devices. But sadly, it seems, Apple and Google are too cash poor to hire the 1 or 2 developers needed to make their devices useful for anyone but single folks.