The Chromecast with Google TV combines the concepts of Chromecast dongles and Android TV devices. That means they have both “Ambient Mode” and screensavers. We’ll show you how to use both, which requires some digging.
To merge Chromecast and Android TV, Google has shifted a lot of things. However, Google TV is built on Android TV, so all Android TV settings are still there. An example of this is the screen saver.
The Chromecast with the Google TV screen saver is called ‘Ambient Mode’ and it ties in with the setup process that takes place in the Google Home app. Ambient mode can be a Google Photos slideshow or an art gallery.
Google TV is still the core of Android TV, so you can install third-party screensavers from the Google Play Store. However, Google has hidden the ability to change the screen saver on the Chromecast using Google TV. We can still do it, but the method is indirect.
Before we get into third-party screensavers, let’s tweak the simpler settings for Ambient Mode. Select your profile icon in the top right corner of the home screen.
Then select “Settings” from the pop-up menu.
Scroll down and select ‘System’.
Finally, choose ‘Ambient Mode’.
You will see three options here: Google Photos, Art Gallery and Experimental. Choose one to use it.
- Google Photos: This must be set through the Google Home app. Read our guide on how to do that.
- Art gallery: Different categories with different types of photography.
- Experimental: Enable “Low Bandwidth Mode” to save data.
That’s all it takes to change Ambient mode, but here’s where it gets a bit complicated. “Ambient Mode” is really just one of the possible screensavers you can use.
The ability to download a third-party screensaver is still available on Google TV. You just can’t do this from the Settings menu. You must access the screen saver settings from the screen saver app you want to use.
RELATED: Install apps and games on Google TV
First, we need to install a screen saver app. Installing an app on a Google TV device isn’t as easy as opening the Play Store. Read our guide on installing apps and using “screen saver” as your search term.
Then open the app. This is where the process will differ depending on the screen saver app you want to use. What we are looking for is an option to set the app as a screen saver. Here are a few examples of some screen saver apps.
And you will find some apps use the term ‘Daydream’ which was the old term for the screen saver. Keep an eye on that too.
Whatever the setting is labeled, selecting it will take you to the Ambient Mode screen.
We can now see that “Ambient Mode” is just a screen saver turned on by default. Select “Screen Saver” to continue.
Now you can select the screen saver app of your choice. Making the selection can open the screen saver settings for that app.
Finally, you can decide how many minutes of inactivity you want to allow before the screen saver turns on. Select ‘When to start’.
Choose one of the time intervals.
It’s strange that Google has hidden the screen saver options, but at least it is still possible to use them.
RELATED: Using Google Photos as a screen saver on Google TV