Android TV and Google Chromecast are two types of device that, despite having certain similarities, are very different. The first is an operating system; the second is a simple player of content sent from the phone. Roughly speaking, there is much more to explain.
Bringing multimedia content to television is extremely simple since most of the current TVs have a USB input; so it is enough to upload the files to a pendrive and connect it to play movies, series or music. But what if it's streaming content? Smart TVs usually save this stumbling block. And then there are other solutions, like a Android TV or a Google Chromecast. Now, which one to choose? First you have to know the possibilities of each one and its limitations.
Google Chromecast Vs. Android TV
They are two very different devices in terms of access to content for more than with both can be played most of the series, music and movies offered by streaming services. In basic terms, we could divide its operation in the following terms:
- The Google Chromecast is a slave player of the mobile. Or the tablet, also the computer: the device does not have its own interface or remote control since it only transmits what is ordered from another device.
- Android TV is an operating system for television. This implies that not only will the content be transmitted, we can also access it without the need for the phone: we turn on the TV, put the Android TV channel and use the system to our liking.
- Recently Google renewed the Chromecast including also Android TV: thus the Chromecast with Google TV was born. This is a device halfway between an Android TV and a Chromecast,
The main differences refer to their possibilities since Android TV is a complete entertainment center, also productivity. We cannot do the same with it as with the smartphone, but a large part of its uses are transferred to television. Therefore, we can install applications (Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime Video or Movistar +, among many others), games and even use it as Google Chromecast since it is integrated. In contrast, the Google Chromecast is only responsible for transmitting what is on the smartphone (also tablet and computer), so does not work autonomously. Now this does not have to be an inconvenience.
The Chromecast and your mobile, the best couple
It is clear that this HDMI player is at a disadvantage in terms of capabilities as it is a simple slave device (not to be confused with the Chromecast with Google TV, which is a different device), but that is precisely why it is so good: his simplicity is his best virtue. Because, if you already have the applications on your mobile and you're going to use it while you're on the couch, why not do it all from your phone?
Let's summarize the best qualities of the Google Chomecast:
- It is a simple device that only needs to connect to the home WiFi and have a free HDMI from the TV, also a USB (or a plug nearby).
- Almost any multimedia content can be cast to TV using the Chromecast as a bridge. A streaming app, photos and videos from the phone gallery or ...
- You can replicate the mobile screen on TV. In this way you transmit everything you do on the phone to the big screen.
- It is very economical: from just under 40 euros you can take advantage of its full potential.
- Lasts years: the original Chromecast continues to work perfectly from day one (Google updates Chromecasts frequently).
Watch a Netflix episode on the subway, get home and watch TV with the Google Chromecast while you finish watching it comfortably on the sofa: this process is as natural as it is simple using the player and the phone. With an Android TV it is somewhat more arduous, but in return you have other advantages.
Android TV has enormous potential
Since it is a complete operating system, with a device that integrates Android TV you have access to applications, games and the Google Chromecast. Because if, buying an Android TV you also get a Chromecast; even though its integrated operation is not as polished as having a real Google Chromecast: sometimes the content delivery fails and the connected device is not always detected. Minimal errors that do not cloud the fact of being integrated one within the other.
These are the biggest advantages of an Android TV:
- You can install apps and games. They are not all "normal" Android, yes a good part. With a catch: depending on which games you need a physical controller.
- Allows you to instantly convert a normal TV into a Smart TV.
- The streaming services work directly and without the need to open the applications on the mobile: just use the remote control.
- Android TV has Google Assistant, so you can ask it for whatever you need, almost the same as on mobile (Android TV control is more limited).
- As we have already said, with an Android TV you also have a Google Chromecast.
- Often it is already included in the television itself (such as Sony or Xiaomi televisions, for example).
It seems that an Android TV only has advantages, but it also has its disadvantages. Let's see what they are.
Disadvantages of an Android TV
- They are more expensive than a Google Chromecast.
- If you are only going to play streaming content, a Chromecast is more worth it.
- Updates are usually slow.
- Only apps adapted to television work.
- Not all Android TV devices are compatible with applications in this format. For example, Netflix or Amazon Prime Video may not appear on Google Play on TV. Installing the Apk doesn't always work.
- They need space in the TV area, a problem if the TV is anchored to the wall (the Chromecast hangs from the HDMI). Fortunately, Android TVs are not very large devices. And they can come already integrated into the TV.
Disadvantages of the Google Chromecast
- It is limited to what is done on the phone, tablet or computer.
- If you don't watch streaming content, it loses much of the appeal (if not all).
- It does not support applications, nor can it be controlled from a remote.
- There are games for the Chromecast, but they are anecdotal (and usually limited in terms of graphics and mechanics).
- To watch content in 4K you need the Chromecast Ultra, more expensive and at the price of some Android TVs.
- The Chromecast Ultra allows access to Google Stadia, but you need to connect the Stadia controller to it.
Are you already clear about your needs and what is the device that best suits them? Let's see where you can buy each one and the most recommended Android TV. Always speaking in terms of a player, not like a TV with integrated Android TV (Smart TV).
Xiaomi Mijia Xiaomi Mi Box S, Mi Box S, EU Version, 4K Ultra HD Media Player with Google Assistant Remote Control, Bluetooth, Hdmi 4K HDR, Dolby Audio, DTS HD, Android 8.1, Black
Extra: Chromecast with Google TV
This device, with a few months on the market, is the union of the two devices featured in this article: the Chromecast and Android TV. Offers Android applications, its own interface, access to games and a Google Chromecast is also integrated to send the content from the mobile. It is not too expensive, so it is a great option if you do not have a Smart TV and want to do smart TV.