Unpopular opinion: I have been using a device with Android TV for a month and (personally) I do not see it as better or more comfortable than a Chromecast. Maybe it’s my fault but I’m slower and less comfortable playing content on Android TV.
In the analysis of Google Chromecast with Google TV Some Xatakers shared this opinion, so I want to put on the table the reasons why, in order to make our lives easier by reproducing content on television, Chromecast is a faster and easier device.
Two very different devices
The first thing we have to understand is that both the Chromecast and any device with Android TV are radically different, although it seems that they perform similar functions. The Chromecast is a mobile dependent device, “an extension of it” on our TV so that we can send the content from our phone. The main drawback is obvious: If we do not have the mobile at hand, the Chromecast is practically useless. If we are one of those who have a cell phone over 24 hours (server, present), it is wonderful.
Android TV is an operating system that comes both to make those TVs that are not smart ‘smart’ and to enhance the qualities of any TV that has its own OS. Here is an app store, local file management, games, and even an integrated Chromecast that I will talk about later. The remote becomes the protagonist on Android TV, a great advantage for lovers of analog, the arch enemy of those who want everything in mobile format.
That said, make it clear that Android TV is more capable and complete than the Chromecast but, in my personal case, it is precisely this complexity that makes me prefer the Chromecast.
Sorry, I don’t like controls
It may seem trivial, but Being a slave to the command is one of the points that makes me run away from Android TV. No matter how well adapted the Android TV interface is and good hardware that the device of your choice has, I will never be faster looking for content on a remote control than on a mobile. For example, if I want to search for YouTube content, I have to speak to the Google Assistant or write key by key, with the remote, a highly recommended experience.
With my mobile I simply open YouTube, write what I want in less than a second and hit the send button to television. When searching for content a mobile will always be faster. With the television turned off, it may be faster to turn on the TV directly with the remote (they usually have dedicated buttons) and press play, but in most cases what I want is to search for content, and here the mobile is the clear winner.
Another point that worries me about Android TV has to do with Chromecast Built-In. the name seems to indicate that Android TV already has Chromecast integrated, but this is not quite so. There are multiple differences between Chromecast and Chromecast Built-In. Chromecast Built-In is more limited, although at the level of operation they are very similar: they are kept on standby connected to the WiFi so that we can send content.
Chromecast Built-In does not allow the use of Google Stadia, it gives many problems when it comes to sending the screen, does not play 4K content, even though the device supports it, it has no way to access Google Photos albums and, most importantly to me, it doesn’t behave as stable as the Chromecast itself.
Finally, although I appreciate that Android TV has apps, games and more, personally it is difficult for me to take advantage of them. If we want to play we have to do it with very limited games on very limited hardware. The internal memory of most Android TV devices on the market is very low, so we can not get too high by installing apps.
For me the Chromecast is still the best device to play what we want on television. Quietly and from the sofa you unlock your mobile that, whatever the range it is, will have better hardware than Android TV. You search for content from an app optimized to search for content within it And, when you are clear about what you want to see, you send the content in one click.
You also don’t have to worry about updates, settings, internal memory or anything. It is a simple device that is waiting for what you do with your mobile. Streaming goes beyond apps like Netflix, YouTube, and more. Local content on your phone such as gallery apps, video, and so on, usually have the ability to cast to Chromecast.
Similarly, Chromecast features, for obvious reasons, are more optimized for Chromecast than Chromecast Built-In, as Chromecast is still an app. To send content to television, the Chromecast is almost perfect.
Advantages of Android TV
Although, personally, I prefer to send content from my mobile than to search for them from television, to César what is from César: Android TV is a great operating system, optimized and complete. For those looking for a couch and remote experience, it’s a well-executed solution.
The Android TV interface is very spoiled, the operation (although it will depend on the hardware of the device) is usually quite good and we have more possibilities than with the Chromecast. Everything takes a little longer on Android TV, but everything is optimized for the operating system.
As a platform, Android TV is the most complete and useful on the market, although for speed, simplicity and comfort I will continue in the Chromecast team. It will be because I always have my mobile in my hand and I have a certain allergy to television controls (even more so in Android TV devices, which usually have tiny controls). My device with Android TV will still be connected to the HDMI port, but in the vast majority of cases I end up sending content from the phone.
And you, what team are you on?
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