This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.
At an online event on September 30, Google announced the new Chromecast with Google TV, a new Chromecast product.
The main difference between it and the previous Chromecast is that it comes with a small remote control. And with the new smart TV interface, Google TV, you can find and enjoy online videos, TV, and other content without the need for a smartphone.
In other words, it's a straightforward Google version of Amazon Fire TV or Apple TV.
Google's Chromecast has been in the same category as Fire TV and Apple TV in terms of "Internet video on TV" products, but without a unique interface for finding and playing video services and content, and with a concept of "casting" from your phone.
The argument for the previous Chromecast is that you don't need a dedicated remote control that you can easily lose sight of, you don't have to learn new controls for your TV or add them to find an app or login, you can just press "cast" from a compatible app you're already familiar with on your phone and watch it, and your phone becomes a sophisticated remote control that would allow you to browse through playlists, lyrics, and the next show to watch, all at your fingertips.
Nevertheless, the physical remote control can be used with just the feel of your fingertips, whereas a smartphone requires you to unlock it and look at the screen to operate it, which is not as intuitive as it could be, and there was certainly the absurdity of switching and searching for content on a small smartphone screen when you have a large screen TV right in front of you.
The new Chromecast with Google TV is now a regular set-top box that allows you to browse and find a variety of online services and content on the big screen, while still supporting casting from your phone.
Google TV software features include the ability to work across content from Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and others in a single playlist or favorite, the ability to receive recommendations from all content, and, in the U.S. and other territories, live TV streaming via YouTube TV can be handled in a unified manner, and there is also support for Spotify and other music services, as well as smart home integration that allows users to view footage from the Nest security camera.
Gallery: Chromecast 2020 with Google TV press images | of 19 Photos
The remote control has Netflix and YouTube buttons for easy shortcuts, and you can also press the Google Assistant button to find and play programs by voice.
Gallery: Google Chromecast 2020 hands-on | of 9 Photos
The hardware specifications for Chromecast with Google TV include support for 4K HDR 60fps. HDR is also compatible with Dolby Vision. The connected TV must also be HDR compatible.
Google's operating system for smart TVs also includes Android TV, which is used by various companies' TVs.
To complicate matters, the Google TV interface that the new Chromecast is carrying is software based on this Android TV. Since it's an Android TV inside, it will also run apps that have been running on smart TVs that use the previous Android TV.
Just a decade ago, Google had also announced Google TV, a smart TV platform that touted the convergence of TV and internet content, with Intel, Sony, and Logitech as partners.
At that time, Android 2.2 was the latest, and movies were running in Flash on the Internet. It was an ambitious plan to capture the big screen as well as PCs and smartphones, but the results were not good and the partners posted significant losses, and the smart TV effort was taken over by Android TV, which was renamed and retired from the background.
I don't know if this trauma led to the "remote control is old, TV is good enough to extend your phone" philosophy of Chromecast, but ten years after the old Google TV announcement and seven years after the disconnection, we are once again seeing that Google TV will return as "a comprehensive smart TV service from Google based on Android TV".
The new Chromecast will cost $50 in the U.S. According to Google, "We plan to offer Chromecast with Google TV in Japan as well". There's no timeline or price yet.
This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.