Chromecast with Google TV
After more recent problems with my Mi Box S, such as having to power cycle it twice for everything to start correctly, I decided to try the new Chromecast with Google TV. The Mi Box was no big loss, I got it for $29 when it was on sale. It was something to mess around with and see what I could get to work. It wasn’t a total loss though, as it gave me experience with the Android TV platform.
I should mention what the Mi Box S & Chromecast with Google TV devices are and what they do.
They are not televisions, as one might think when seeing TV as part of the name. Each of these connect to a HDMI port on a television and add streaming services to your TV. They have their own remotes, you can install apps to the device, and both of these are running a version of the Android TV operating system.
The Chromecast with Google TV that I just got is running Android TV version 10. It has accessibility services built in, which are very similar to what you would find on an Android Smart Phone. Usually you don’t get quite everything though on a device which is limited in physical size and the amount of memory & storage when compared to that of a phone.
One of the first things I encountered is I was going to need help in order to setup the Chromecast with Google TV. That is okay though, as I also had to get some help with the Mi Box S. My Wife assisted me in selecting the language on screen and the first couple of settings.
From there, setup was ready for me to connect the device to the Google Home app. I did that part, easily got the home app to find the QR code on the screen & get the device connected to WiFi.
Next, I needed assistance again as it did its first set of downloading updates, restarting, then a few more accepting of terms and conditions. Finally, my Wife turned on TalkBack for me, then I was on my own.
I’ll be providing some feedback to Google on this as I had a totally different experience when setting up my TCL Roku TV. That was totally accessible as after powering the TV on I was able to activate the audio guide with pressing a button on the remote 4 times. I did similar things such as connecting the TV to WiFi, installing updates, doing those first selection things such as language settings & more, all on my own. I don’t think it would take much effort for the setup to be like this on the Chromecast with Google TV.
I’m just going to call it, Google TV, to save typing the full name from here on.
Its much like the layout of a Fire TV Stick where you have rows of categories that you move up or down to navigate, & many items to select or interact with that you move left or right to navigate.
One of the benefits of the Google TV is it brings together the content from all of your streaming services and puts it all in one place. So if you are looking through the Drama category, there will be content in there from AmazonPrime, Netflicks, Disney, Tubi & more. You press the button in the center of the navigation pad on the remote to interact with that movie or show. You do need to have a subscription to the paid services, but you aren’t required to have them all. The Google TV will work with whatever services you setup. I’m not sure how, maybe a little of magic between Google & Netflix, it had my Netflicks account already signed in for me.
I’ve learned from my experience with Android TV that not every app is accessible. For some of those apps though, there is a benefit of having it installed on your Google TV. The Tubi app for example will add its free shows & movies to the options available. You don’t need to be signed into an account with Tubi to play these items.
I’ve found the Netflix app and the Prime Video app to be totally accessible and a great experience. No problem selecting or playing content with audio description or other options.
I found one feature that the Prime Video app on Google TV offers that isn’t even available on a Fire TV Stick. When you are browsing through tv shows & movies, in each description of the show, if the show has Audio Description, it will be listed. You don’t have to go looking anywhere else, or even just play it to find out. As you move to each item you’ll hear it along with info on Captions, & video quality.
One of the other things I did with my previous device & the Google TV is watch content from my collection I have stored on Google Drive. I use an app, File Commander which can access the device’s files, & it can also access files on cloud drives. The only accessibility issue I have is when going into the file structure on my Google Drive. Its a very easy work around though.
When on the name of a folder for the first time, its read as “unlabeled”. All you need to do is arrow down a couple of times, arrow to the right, & then when you move back over to the left, the files or folder names are read correctly. This will happen again when you go into a folder. I’ll be providing feedback to the developer of this app.
One other thing the Google TV has is a built in ChromeCast. Its because of the use of being able to send audio or video to the Google TV from the Chrome desktop browser or from many apps on my phone, that the non-accessible apps don’t bother me.
I can start something streaming in the Chrome browser on my computer, then send it to be playing on the Google TV, where our great sounding sound bar is connected. I can also do this with the Spotify, TuneIn Radio, and many other apps on my phone.
The Chrome cast on Google TV has a built in Google Assistant and a button on the remote. You can do those same things such as getting weather, jokes, upcoming appointments as well as asking things like “listen to CNN on TuneIn” or “listen to twit live on TuneIn”
I think that even with the non-accessible part of the setup, the Google TV is well worth your money. I like how it brings content from many sources together and its so easy to browse around in one place & find something to watch. I feel the same about the apps such as Spotify & Peacock which are not accessible. I can cast Spotify from my phone to the Google TV when I want to play it through the sound bar connected to our TV. There are many ways to play the content you want.
The Chrome cast with Google TV is available from places like Walmart, Best Buy, & the Google Store, online. I paid $49 and found it at the same price in the other places I checked.
One other note, the Google TV can include content from Youtube TV, which is an online subscription television service. I don’t use that & don’t have any information on how accessible that is.
I found an excellent description of the buttons on the remote from Google.
Here is a link to File Commander on the Play Store.
If you are going to play files from your Google or other online Drive, you’ll need a program to play the files. I use VLC. Its one of those apps you just need to install and when you select to play a file VLC will just start playing it. VLC for Android
Information on turning on Talkback, & other accessibility options. https://support.google.com/googletv/answer/10070337?hl=en
Here is an audio walk through that I did of navigating the Chromecast with Google TV. It is a Drop Box link set to download.
Here is the Chrome cast with Google TV at Walmart
Here it is at BestBuy
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