How To: Get the New Google TV Interface on Almost Any Android TV — Nvidia Shield, Mi Box, Sony & More
Google TV gives the new Chromecast a home screen full of curated content from your various streaming subscriptions, but it's just that — a home screen app. Underneath, Google's new dongle is running Android TV, meaning its home screen is just a launcher that can be installed on countless other TVs and set-top boxes.
With more digital content than ever, the search feature on smart TVs is essential. But typing is such a terrible experience when you're forced to use voice dictation or peck around with the remote control. Thankfully, there's a better way.
Without an available browser, it is challenging to enjoy media on your Nvidia Shield outside of the apps on the Play Store. It is because of this limitation that file transferring is vital, as only then can you enjoy your movies and music.
At its core, Android TV's software is the same as the OS running on 87% of all smartphones. But it doesn't always feel that way, with its version of the Play Store only having 5,000 apps (or 0.2% of all Android apps). To access the remaining 99.8% of apps, you will need to sideload them.
While the new Google TV interface and its ability to run apps are the scene-stealers of the new Chromecast, Google's new hardware has many of the same hallmarks of its predecessors.
The 2020 Chromecast is full of new features, but one glaring omission is Stadia, Google's cloud gaming platform. The search giant confirmed Stadia wouldn't officially arrive on the new streaming dongle until the first half of 2021 — but there's an unofficial way to get it now.
While Google Stadia currently needs to be sideloaded on Chromecast with Google TV, there are a handful of games that are compatible with the streaming device and require a gamepad. But you don't need to buy a specific controller just for your Chromecast, you can use one you already have lying around.
So, you've just plugged in your new Chromecast with Google TV. You lean back to watch a TV show or movie and you notice that people look kind of ... odd.
How To: Sideload Apps on Chromecast with Google TV — Get Virtually Any Android App on the Big Screen
At launch, Chromecast with Google TV is fairly limited in the number of compatible apps. Many of the usual suspects are there, but there are some interesting omissions, like Google Stadia (though support is coming). However, at its core, the device runs on Android 10, which means you can sideload apps, including those that don't officially support Chromecast with Google TV.