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Initial experiences with Google TV

A bit of a ramble, originally posted on my Mastodon account, reproduced here because why not.

I impulse pre-ordered the Chromecast with Google TV when it was announced a few weeks ago, and by the time I figured I didn’t want it anymore it was too late to cancel, so I have it now.

My initial experience is… not great.

Set up was fine. Much the same as any previous Chromecast. A notable thing is when setting up it asks what streaming services you use so it can install those apps without you going through the Google TV app store. I didn’t select Disney+ because I don’t have it or intend to have it.

After setup, I’m on the homescreen. Manage to spend about four seconds there before it crashes and reboots. Alright, teething problems, to be expected. I let it reboot.

For some reason I have the Disney+ app. My recommendations are full of shows on Disney+. I do not have Disney+. I uninstall the app, still get recommendations for Disney+. I go into settings, untoggle the Disney+ recommendations setting which is still there. Still getting recommendations from Disney+. Reboot. Still there. Not great.

I peruse the apps available. No All4, no NowTV, no Apple TV+ or Apple Music. Granted, none of those are Google’s fault, but it doesn’t reflect well on the ecosystem—more than half of the services I use are just unavailable. The Emby app just seemed to quietly error out too, so that was useless too.

I can’t use all of the features of the remote for whatever reason too. Volume buttons don’t work, during set up the system couldn’t work out how to do them (though I haven’t experimented since). Source switcher doesn’t work either, but that’s to be expected given I have an external HDMI switcher. Collectively makes one-third of the buttons on the remote useless, though.

So yeah, not the best of first impressions. Seems to be fine streaming stuff, I guess, though nothing notably better than existing Chromecasts.