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Nowadays, just about everyone has some sort of streaming device on their home television. If you want to watch Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu, or just regular old television, you need a streaming device to get the job done.
But there are so many different options out there. Walking into the electronics aisle of a local store will show you a plethora of appealing items that seem like they’ll get the job done.
Two of the most popular are Apple TV and Chromecast. Both sell millions of units and have many fans and provide a lot to customers. However, if you’re looking to only purchase one, which should it be? Which packs the biggest punch and comes with the best features? Which should you plug into your TV? It’s a decision that really matters.
Apple TV Vs. Chromecast at a Glance
Apple TV Advantages
- Brings clear 4K picture to your television
- Home Kit lets you communicate with smart-home appliances throughout your house
- Various apps make Apple TV versatile and fun to use
Apple TV Disadvantages
- More expensive than many competitors
- Works best if you have other Apple products
- Lacks access to universal port types
- 4K with wide HDR support
- Comes with smart home features
- Very good at aggregating content
- Lacks an Apple TV app
- Doesn’t come with an ethernet port
- Inability to switch users
Winner: At the end of the day, Apple TV will cost you a bit more cash but its features and its ease of use are superior to Chromecast and should be the streaming device you choose to bring into your home.
What’s The Difference Between Them?
If you’ve used an iOS device before (iPhone or iPad), the process will be comfortable for you. It’s like using a huge iPhone and you will intuitively take to it instantly with ease.
Siri has made the leap to Apple TV and she’s very useful. Siri’s global search on Apple TV works well. Simply say the title of the TV program or movie, and a selection will appear with other alternatives given below the fold.
Apple generates money on its hardware, unlike other streaming rivals who often don’t benefit from the device. As a result, Apple TV won’t display advertisements and won’t make unauthorized use of your data. Google’s whole revenue model is based on advertisements, despite Chromecast not having any.
Given the cost of Chromecast, it’s likely that they’re gathering as much information as they can regarding you in order to more effectively target you with advertisements when you visit one of their websites.
The integration of Apple TV with iPhone is one of its finest features. The iPhone’s control center has a remote that functions just like the actual remote. Additionally, the media automatically loads onto your playback controller as you are watching things.
The drawback of utilizing the smartphone as your remote is that the playback controller might occasionally malfunction when you go from viewing TV to listening to music.
The way the keyboard is used, though, is the nicest aspect of the iPhone integration.
You will receive a notification on your iPhone every time a dialog box displays on the Apple TV, allowing you to type using the keyboard on your phone.
This solves the problem of having to input passwords using a physical remote by allowing you to enter them manually or, if your credentials are saved in iCloud, using Face ID. Typically, it performs wonderfully.
A comprehensive list of all the programs and films you are presently watching on all of your streaming providers is provided. The right app should open immediately when you tap on a show or movie, but occasionally a bug causes it to open the wrong episode.
The absence of Netflix material from this list is another drawback. Overall, it’s a fantastic feature, but it requires improvement.
Apple makes an attempt to organize material from all of your streaming services within the Apple TV app, but it’s somewhat of a jumble. The majority of the media is paid-for iTunes content, and the services are not identified under the content.
Then there is Google’s Chromecast TV, which has a somewhat different appearance while attempting to keep some of Apple TV’s functionality.
The top row of the home page features a curated list called “Top picks for you” that suggests material based on your Google results and recently seen programs. You may rate a program or movie on the main screen in order to assist Google to understand your preferences. I found some useful information thanks to Google.
Google’s magic ingredient is the third row. It took “Up Next,” a project that Apple has already been pushing for years, and helped it function as it was meant to.
This list includes every show you’re now viewing from any provider, including Netflix. The best part about this is that it makes smart selections and works seamlessly, but the worst part is that, unlike with Apple TV, there is no way to delete anything from the “Watch Now” list.
Considering this is Google we’re talking about, the YouTube TV compatibility is fantastic, as expected. Without even launching the app, a tutorial may be found under a tab labeled “live.” Additionally, if you watch a lot of athletics, televised matches will automatically display in your “top picks for you” area, saving you a step.
Towards the side of the home screen are additional tabs that categorize material based on your choices to make it easier for you to discover something to watch. The “top picks for you” area has been expanded and further classified.
The best aspect is that each program has a label indicating which streaming service it is on. All the content featured is solely from streaming applications that you have downloaded.
The drawback of the Chromecast UI is that each app has a unique playback interface and set of restrictions, so occasionally what you want doesn’t happen.
For instance, the playback controls on the Netflix app are different from those on other applications, and the options when you pause the video are odd. Additionally, the volume levels across various applications occasionally tend to be off.
Verdict: Apple TV certainly has a user interface that is easier to handle and feels intuitive and tailor-made for you.
When you are using a streaming device, you need to be sure that it’s going to move quickly. There is nothing worse than having your video buffer and buffer and buffer again and again. We are living in 2023, after all!
The difference in speed between Apple TV and Chromecast depends on your internet connection, of course, But there are also some differences that go beyond that.
The original Apple TV 4K was the fastest device being sold. And the latest Apple TV generation of products is even faster than that, using an A12 chip – the same found in the iPhone X.
Why is such speed necessary? Because Apple has really been pushing Apple Arcade lately, a collection of games that subscribers can use via their Apple TV. Whatever the reason, this beefy chip helps you a lot and makes sure that your streaming speed will never dip.
Meanwhile, Chromecast has grown much faster than many other Google products. It’s light years ahead of Amazon’s Fire Stick but it’s still a good deal behind Apple TV.
When you first fire up the Chromecast, it sometimes freezes and takes about 30 seconds to be fully loaded. Many apps are also slow to load, taking about 15 seconds upon first use.
It’s not terribly slow when playing content, but some hiccups occur from time to time. Overall, Apple has just created a much faster product in every possible way. But of course it’ll cost you more too.
However, with how much you’ll be using your streaming device, don’t you want it to be fast?
Verdict: There is no question that Apple TV is a much faster device than even the best Google Chromecast. Chromecast will save you money but will take much more time to perform just about any task.
When you are using a streaming device, the remote control means a lot. If you aren’t able to easily use the remote, the entire device is pretty much useless. What features does the remote have?
How responsive is it? How fast does it correspond with the device plugged into your TV? All of these things matter a lot.
Apple TV’s remote is a big improvement on what came before. Previous Apple TV remotes were slippier and slick and hard to hold and keep still on most surfaces. That’s not the case anymore.
The new design is thicker and has a rounded back that feels very comfortable in your grip. It is also made with the same aluminum material that the actual Apple TV body is crafted with. Plus it’s hefty but not too heavy. It just feels right.
There are directional buttons on the remote: top, bottom, left, and right. The directional pad is touch-sensitive, which means that users can simply swipe in the direction they want to travel with total ease.
Perhaps the best news about the remote is that it now comes with a mute button, which was lacking in previous models. It also has a back button as well as a power button too. Additionally, Apple has moved the Siri button to the side of the remote.
With a fully charged battery, you’ll receive a whole month’s use of the remote before needing a charge. The charging is done via a Lightning cable, just like your iPhone.
As for the Chromecast, the remote is handy and easy to use but doesn’t feel as comfortable or well-built as Apple’s. It definitely accomplishes everything it needs to but there are issues too.
Specifically, the Google Assistant button is in a spot that means it gets tapped often, bringing up the Assistant to the screen far too often. It’s annoying and should have been prevented with some better design.
Another annoying feature is that the Chromecast remote comes with preset buttons for Netflix, YouTube, and other apps. That’s handy and helpful but not if you accidentally tap them like you do the button for the Google Assistant.
With what feels like a simple graze of these buttons, each app will instantly start to load. Was it a mistake? Too bad, here comes YouTube! You will find yourself groaning and pressing the home button a lot because of these tricky preset buttons.
Verdict: It’s easy to see that the Apple TV remote is far superior to the Chromecast one. From functionality to design and feel, it’s just a better-made model.
It’s clear that Apple TV works better than Chromecast in most ways, but which device is better?
It’s no surprise that Apple’s device looks great. Apple is a company that has mastered creating products that just look lovely. But Google has created something special here too. Apple’s design is sleek but it’s a bit boring too and can get lost easily in a cabinet near your TV.
As for the Chromecast, it’s actually quite fun with its design. It comes in three colors and hides behind the TV without being seen. It’s a sleek little device and looks good. Apple TV has Chromecast beat in many ways, but Google has actually made a well-designed device to rival Apple in terms of attractiveness and appeal.
Verdict: Google actually pulls out the win here with a sleek, fun, colorful little device that fits perfectly into your TV.
At the end of the day, the best way to spend your money when buying a streaming device is to get an Apple TV. However, they do cost a bit more so you will save money with a Google Chromecast. Yet, you should spend the extra cash and get yourself an Apple TV. Apple has once again created a device that is easy to use and works like a dream.