Chromecast with Google TV is an interesting product. To start with this is not the first device of its time MI Box has been selling Android TV with Chromecast capabilities for some time now with a similar interface.
This is a great device, and the changes Google has made is the only way this device will ever take off with mainstream consumers. For a long time, I have said the only way the Chromecast would ever take off is with a remote. I have pushed Android users to the MI Box because of the remote. Many non-tech-savvy people do not understand how to Chromecast and the remote takes away the complexity.
The shear setup of a Chromecast without a remote was a nightmare for most users. You had to download the Google Home app or before that the Chromecast app then connect to the Chromecast Wireless then open the app set up the setting for your Wi-Fi then wait for it to connect it’s just too complicated for a non-technical user.
The remote simplifies it by typing in your Wi-Fi info and Gmail username and password. If you already have a Google device setup you can just scan a QR code with the Google Home App and it automatically sets the device up for you with the pre-saved settings. The entire process is much easier.
I like the remote setup the round area allows for up, down, left, and right navigation with the center as your select button like the old Apple remote used to be for the change. The <- back arrow button makes it easy to go back and for those who want to you have a dedicated Google Assistant button.
I like the dedicated Home button as it saves hitting the back button a few times to get to the home screen and I do like a dedicated mute button as sometimes you need to mute the volume for a few seconds. Speaking of volume, the volume up and down is on the side and works the volume on the TV itself.
I like having the input controls as well for the TV on the remote and I like having a power button as the Chromecast never used to power off in the past and would just sit in ambient mode displaying great photos or could be customized to display uploaded Google Photos.
I am not surprised that Google put their own YouTube button on the device considering they are trying to sell YouTube TV with the device. I was kind of surprised to see a Netflix button on the remote but there is a reason that YouTube and Netflix are the two biggest streaming platforms to start with on the internet. The other reason is unlike a lot other services Netflix works with Google to make it is content searchable through the Google TV app. Netflix has its own button on a lot of other remotes but the fact that Google and Netflix are partnered I am sure helps.
I really like the fact the remote has come to the Chromecast with Google TV I want this device to take off and it’s a must for that to happen.