Chromecast with Google TV gains a game-changing new trick

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Google is leveraging its next-generation streaming box, the Chromecast with Google TV, to tempt viewers to subscribe to its video game streaming platform, Google Stadia. Owners of the latest Chromecast have started to see the Netflix-for-games service appear in the For You tab. 

The latter is one of the biggest differences between the Chromecast with Google TV and previous set-top boxes under the Chromecast brand. While earlier iterations were controlled entirely by a smartphone, with users picking an episode or movie on their handset and then beaming the video to the Chromecast, the recently-redesigned model boasts its own menu and streaming apps.

As you watch, Chromecast with Google TV will begin to make suggestions based on your tastes. These recommended films and boxsets appear in the For You tab. It’s unclear whether Google is tailoring its recommendation of Google Stadia to certain viewers based on their interests, or whether it thinks everyone will enjoy its latest subscription service.

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If you are subscribed to Google Stadia, any games that you play will be treated like boxsets and films within the Google TV interface. As such, on the homepage, you’ll be able to jump straight back into your latest title under the heading “Recently Played Game”. Stadia can also be added to the “Your Services” page in the Settings menu.

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Google Stadia launched in November 2019, with the free tier following in April 2020. Stadia lets you play blockbuster video games on a range of devices, from smartphones to tablets and Chromecasts. While none of these gadgets enjoy the amount of processing power found inside a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X, Google makes it possible to play top-tier games by handling all of the processing in its server farms.

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So, while Google handles all of the complex rendering needed, all your device has to do is stream the resulting footage.

As such, devices only designed to handle a boxset binge on Netflix are capable of playing some of the biggest video game franchises. That’s because all they’re doing is streaming footage – exactly like watching Netflix. Google Stadia supports resolutions up to 4K Ultra HD with 60 frames per second and support for high-dynamic-range (HDR) pictures.

That’s comparable with what we see from the latest generation of games consoles from Sony and Microsoft.

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With a deeper integration to Chromecast with Google TV, it’ll be interesting to see whether more people swap their consoles in favour of streaming dongles to play the latest titles. If Stadia is not your cup of tea at all, fingers crossed Google will stop filling the homepage of your Chromecast with recommendations for it soon enough. 

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