Google TV versus Chromecast

A Chromecast may be exactly what you need in your living room, but it's not a Google TV replacement

While many of us have our Chromecast dongle, and are happily playing with them and sending content to our televisions, there are plenty of folks who have some very valid questions about what the device is, what it can do, and especially what makes it different than a Google TV box. We can help, and we'll start with the last question. A Chromecast and a Google TV unit are very different devices.

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The Chromecast is basically a gateway to content. You can't install anything to it, can't control anything on it without another device, and can't even set it up without a web browser or an Android app. There are a few hiccups with it, as should be expected with any new device (turning off hardware acceleration in Chrome is a good quick fix for some of them), but for the most part it works as advertised. It's easy to set up and use, and unlike plenty of other Google products doesn't require a 100 page instruction booklet to get things up and running.

ASUS cube

Google TV, on the other hand, is a full-blown Android device. It has access to the official Google Play stores so you can install applications and games, rent or buy movies to play directly on your TV through the device, listen to your Google Play Music library, browse the web, and even use your network connection to use adb to communicate with it. It's pretty much just like your Android phone or tablet in these respects. You don't need another device to set it up or to use it, and with the included remote your Google TV is a complete stand-alone product.

Now there are some similarities on the surface, so we understand why there's a lot of confusion. Some people have an idea that Chromecast features will be merged into Google TV, or a few Google TV features will be merged into the Chromecast. We're not going to speculate on either, other than to say we wouldn't be surprised. Google wants in your living room, and they are willing to think outside the box to do it. 


Reader comments

The basics: How Google TV differs from Chromecast


Had a Sony Google TV and I think its junk. $200 for crippled android. Returned it got a $45 MK80iiis b and never looked back. Its how Google TV would be.

Obviously you don't understand this article for starters....the MK808 and other Android sticks are complete stand alone devices. It's like your phone or tablet with a huge screen. You can run custom software if you want, and do "anything" else you can do on your phone/tablet. The Chromecast is very cool, extremely cool @ $35, but it is not as capable as many good Android sticks or boxes. If you have one, a GOOD one (key), a Chromecast is a waste of $35.

You should return your Chromecast and get an Android stick. Then you'll actually understand the meaning of the word "awesome".

The first generation Google TV devices were pretty frustrating. The current models are pretty good though. Price is the only thing keeping me from purchasing one.

Haven't most of the chromecast features already been implemented in the Google TV apps? When I'm picking a client from youtube/Google Music, I can choose either of my GTVs OR my chromecast.

For my own personal needs, Google tv is pretty great. Netflix, amazon video, youtube, googling stuff while I watch tv, primetime, integration with my dish network dvr, and a host of other apps get used daily. I am, however looking forward to the upgrade to jelly bean on my 2nd gen sony, cause honeycomb definitely has it's quirks. Considering a chromecast, but waiting to see if they add casting to GTV first.

Posted via Android Central App

I think the chromecast was made to be and easy small device to have on several tv's in the house that you wouldn't want to move a roku, or Google tv box around to it. Also for those tv's that aren't smart. On top of that it has the potential for a lot more after updates. I myself love it. I am selling my $80 roku and getting an Apple tv with the money.

Via Android Central App from a Galaxy Note 2

Really? Dang... then what do I have hooked to both of my TVs? And since my stereo is hooked to my TV, that too...

No access to playstore,no gaming, no channels that google tv offers and other things. But hopefully it will keep getting updated.

I enjoy the Google TV leanback experience where it plays multiple YouTube videos back to back without user intervention. It seems the Chromecast only plays one video before the user must select another. Is there an easy way to get Chromecast to play multiple videos unattended?

I practically "live" on my screen porch during the summer months. But therre's no way I'm dragging my HTPC out here for my small TV. Chromecast fills the bill in spades for $35!

So what about 1 Google TV box and a bunch of chromecasts?

It would be great to connect all your tvs. Even some older ones. They should add a coax dongle to it.