Should I Get a Chromecast or Chromecast with Google TV?

Alex Nguyen

a white video game controller

When choosing between Chromecast and Chromecast with Google TV, your decision depends on what you want from your streaming experience. If you want a simple solution for streaming content from your phone, tablet, or laptop to your TV, the classic Chromecast is a good option. However, it may not always deliver content in the highest quality compared to other streaming devices.

On the other hand, Chromecast with Google TV offers higher streaming quality, up to 4K where available, and a more advanced feature set. It comes with a user-friendly interface, a dedicated remote control, and the Google TV operating system, which brings a wide selection of apps and games directly to your TV screen. This turns your TV into a smart Android device, complete with an organized Home screen showcasing your favorite shows and movies. With Chromecast with Google TV, you can access various streaming services without relying on other devices for casting, making it a more integrated and interactive streaming setup.

Streaming Showdown: Chromecast vs. Chromecast with Google TV

The Chromecast lineup offers two distinct options for streaming your favorite content. While both devices share the Chromecast name, they offer different experiences. Let’s break down the key differences and help you decide which one is right for you.

Chromecast: Simple and Streamlined

The basic Chromecast is a dongle that plugs directly into your TV’s HDMI port. It doesn’t come with a remote or a user interface. Instead, it relies on your phone, tablet, or computer to “cast” content from compatible apps to your TV.

FeatureChromecastChromecast with Google TV
Form FactorDongleDongle with Remote
InterfaceNo on-screen interfaceGoogle TV interface
ControlPhone, tablet, or computerRemote or phone app
App SupportLimited to casting from compatible appsWide range of apps through Google TV

Chromecast with Google TV: Smart TV Experience

The Chromecast with Google TV is a more advanced option that combines the casting functionality of the original Chromecast with a full-fledged smart TV interface. It comes with a remote and the Google TV operating system, allowing you to browse and launch streaming apps directly on your TV.

Which One Should You Choose?

If you’re looking for a simple and affordable way to cast content from your phone or computer to your TV, the basic Chromecast is a great choice. It’s easy to set up and use, and it works with a wide range of popular streaming apps.

However, if you want a more complete smart TV experience with a dedicated interface and a wide range of apps, the Chromecast with Google TV is the better option. It offers everything the basic Chromecast can do, plus the ability to browse and launch apps directly on your TV.

Additional Factors to Consider

  • 4K Support: The Chromecast with Google TV supports 4K streaming, while the basic Chromecast is limited to 1080p.
  • Remote Control: The Chromecast with Google TV comes with a physical remote, which can be more convenient for some users.
  • Voice Control: Both devices support voice control through Google Assistant.
  • Smart Home Integration: The Chromecast with Google TV can be integrated with other smart home devices for a more seamless experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Chromecast is a suitable option for basic streaming from other devices.
  • Chromecast with Google TV offers advanced features like 4K streaming and a built-in interface.
  • Google TV provides access to apps and games, enhancing the smart TV experience.

Comparing Chromecast and Chromecast with Google TV

When deciding between Chromecast and Chromecast with Google TV, it’s important to consider their differences in design, streaming quality, and features. Each option caters to different preferences and needs.

Hardware and Design

Chromecast with Google TV has an oval shape while the 3rd generation Chromecast is a circular dongle. Both connect via an HDMI port. Chromecast with Google TV comes with a voice remote, and the standard Chromecast is controlled by your smartphone or tablet.

Software and Interface

The standard Chromecast does not have a user interface; instead, users cast content from other devices. On the other hand, Google TV offers a full interface with apps, games, and personalized recommendations on the home screen. Google TV is built on Android 10 or later, enhancing the user’s interaction with their TV.

Content and Streaming Quality

Google TV supports 4K HDR content with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos for an immersive viewing experience. The standard Chromecast streams HD content up to 1080p. Users who want the highest quality and variety should consider Chromecast with Google TV for accessing 4K HDR streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.

Smart Home and Gaming

Chromecast with Google TV integrates with Google’s ecosystem, allowing control of Nest cams and other smart home devices. It also supports game streaming through services like Stadia. The standard Chromecast lacks these advanced smart home features and gaming support.

Pricing and Value

The Chromecast with Google TV is more expensive than the standard Chromecast. Still, it offers additional features such as a remote, 4K HDR support, and a comprehensive interface, delivering more value for those who require these capabilities.

Ecosystem and Compatibility

Chromecast with Google TV is compatible with the Google ecosystem, including services like YouTube TV and Google Photos, and supports a shared watchlist across Google apps. The standard Chromecast allows users to cast from most devices, including those within Apple and Amazon ecosystems, but lacks the integrated Google features.


Chromecast with Google TV offers a more feature-packed and higher quality streaming experience. Those who prioritize budget or simply want a casting device might opt for the standard Chromecast. Your choice depends on the desired features and the quality of the streaming service you want.