Google today officially unveiled Google TV, its new updated connected TV platform, and a new Chromecast streaming device.
Google TV is “building on everything we learned from Android TV,” said Shalini Govil-Pai, general manager of Google TV, during an event Wednesday. The platform provides an aggregated watchlist so users can bookmark and access content their viewing from different services in one place. Google TV also places Google Assistant-powered search up front and provides cross-platform results along with content recommendations that pull from all available streaming services.
Google TV also incorporates an “On Now” section and channel guide for live and linear content. The new platform is similar to Apple TV, Comcast Flex and other products that have focused on unifying search, discovery and access to lots of different streaming services. Google TV appears to support third-party streaming services including Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, Starz and more.
The new platform also includes integrations with smart home devices like the Google Nest. In a demo, Google Assistant was used to bring up video from the Google Nest Hello doorbell on the TV.
Govil-Pai said that the company will be launching the Google TV experience on many more devices in the Android TV ecosystem but for now the platform is debuting on the new Chromecast.
The biggest update for Chromecast is the addition of a remote, which comes with Google Assistant voice controls and dedicated buttons for YouTube and Netflix. The device is available beginning today in the U.S. for $49.99. The device will be available in more countries by the end of the year.
The new Chromecast confirms earlier reports that a new Google streaming device with a voice remote was on the way. At $49.99, the new Chromecast undercuts its predecessor, Chromecast Ultra. That lower price point could help Google better compete against Amazon Fire TV and Roku for a larger share of the connected TV device market.