When Google unveiled its new Chromecast late last year, one of the biggest improvements was the arrival of Google TV. While previous Chromecast gadgets didn’t have a menu to speak of – everything is done with the streaming apps on your iPhone or Android – the latest generation is changing all of that. With a remote control and a rich, beautifully designed menu, Chromecast with Google TV is closer to Amazon’s Fire TV Stick or Roku gadgets than previous Chromecasts.
Google TV, which is built on top of Android TV and also powers a range of smart TVs from brands like Philips, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba and TCL, provides access to the Google Play Store for apps and games as well as suggestions for new ones Shows and movies to watch based on your viewing history, and built-in Rotten Tomatoes reviews to help you decide what’s worth taking up a prime time slot during your Friday night.
Google TV is also deeply built into your Google Account. So if you are looking for a new program, director or film on Google.de, you can add the title to your watch list directly from the search results. Of course, if you have an Android smartphone or tablet, there are similarly deep connections. Google Assistant is also built into Google TV (unlike previous Chromecast models) so you can get the latest headlines, weather, and important questions, set the temperature on your Nest thermostat, and control all of the smart lightbulbs – just like one Google Nest Mini or Home Hub.
Sony has been using Android TV for its flagship Bravia models since 2015. Available on both LED and OLED smart TVs, Sony used Android TV to give viewers direct access to streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, and more in Box.
However, the Japanese company plans to change over time – and forego this outdated software in favor of Google’s latest option. Sony confirmed this during its CES announcement and was the first to announce plans to roll out the newer Google TV software. And now it’s the first manufacturer to launch a smart TV model with Google TV.
The Bravia X80J and Bravia XR A90J are available now in the UK at your local Sony Center, Currys PC World and other online and high street retailers. The former is a cheaper LED panel that ranges between 55 and 65 inches. The A90J series is now being shipped with more expensive OLED screen technology, albeit in the same sizes.
These 4K televisions support HDR10 and Dolby Vision picture standards and use Sony’s X1 4K HDR processor to “enhance details”. The Bravia X80J has a refresh rate of 60 Hz and four HDMI connections. Of course, you don’t have to sacrifice any of these to hook up a Chromecast.
The more expensive Bravia XR A90J has 120 Hz and two of its four HDMI connections correspond to the new HDMI 2.1 standard. This is exactly what you need when you have a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X in your TV stand.
The remote control contains special keyboard shortcuts for YouTube, Netflix, Disney + and Prime Video. There’s also a button for the Google Assistant that makes the connections to Google TV feel even closer.
If you’re not ready to update your TV just yet, the Chromecast with Google TV is still available and can be plugged into any TV model you already own. It starts at £ 59.99.