The Chromecast with Google TV introduced the company’s vision of its smart TV devices. If you have a streaming device running Google TV, there are a few things you should know. We help you get the most out of your experience.
One thing to note before we get started: Google TV is not the same as Android TV. While both are based on the Android operating system, they work very differently. You can think of Google TV as the new version of Android TV.
Install apps and games on Google TV
First and foremost, your Google TV experience will really only be as good as the apps and games you have. After all, Google TV is just a delivery system for streaming media and games.
Installing apps and games on Google TV can be a bit of a pain. The Google Play Store, where all apps and games come from, is not easily accessible. Instead, you should use the “Apps” tab on the home screen.
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Once you’re there, it’s a matter of browsing the categories, checking out the recommendations, or looking directly for an app or game you have in mind.
Remove apps and games from Google TV
Inevitably, you will want to delete apps and games as well. Maybe you’ve tried an app and decided you don’t like it, or maybe you want to uninstall a service that comes preinstalled on the device. Whatever the reason, it’s easy to do.
Uninstalling apps and games on Google TV can be done right from the home screen. All you need to do is select an app and long press to open the menu. Don’t let little-used apps hide your device.
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Customize the Google TV home screen
Speaking of apps and games, the home screen is where you find them, along with a ton of recommendations. The Google TV experience is largely focused on recommending content for you.
There are a number of ways you can customize how the home screen looks. Since it is based so much on recommendations, it is best to help improve those recommendations. You can do this by adding your streaming services and rating movies and TV shows.
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The apps and games can also be arranged as desired. It’s a good idea to have your favorites close at hand. If none of that is good enough or if you just don’t like the recommendations, you can switch to “Apps Only Mode”. This will disable all recommendations and only show your apps and games.
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Using Google Photos as a screen saver on Google TV
When not actively using your Google TV device, it can act as a digital photo frame. When you set up your device for the first time, you may be asked if you want to use Google Photos in Ambient Mode. This is what we normally think of as a ‘screen saver’.
Google Photos screen saver setup is not actually done on the TV device. Instead, it happens in the Google Home app for iPhone, iPad and Android. You can specify which albums you want to see in the screen saver, along with some other options.
If you are a Google Photos user this is a really nice way to view your photos on a big screen.
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How to Change Screen Saver on Google TV
If you are not a Google Photos user, you can choose from a number of other screen saver apps. The Chromecast with Google TV unfortunately makes this process a bit tricky.
Google TV is still Android at its core, which means it can run Android screen saver apps. Google TV settings make it difficult to find screen saver options. You need to access them through the screen saver app of your choice.
The good news is that can done, and there are several great screen saver apps that work on Google TV. You don’t have to be limited to Google Photos or Google’s stock images.
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Restart a Google TV streaming device
Finally, your Google TV device may not work properly. Maybe it feels a bit slow or an app is not behaving. In many situations, a simple restart will fix the issues. This isn’t always guaranteed to work, but it’s a good place to start.
As long as you can still navigate the Google TV interface and access the settings, you can reboot the device. If not, you will need to unplug the device to reboot it.
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One of the best things about Google TV is its simplicity. Hopefully these few tips and tricks will help you get the most out of your streaming device.