Chromecast with Google TV is finally set to get an Android 12 update, and the new Chromecast (HD) gives us an early look at what the platform will bring to Google’s big-screen experience. Here’s everything new in Android 12 for Google TV on Chromecast.
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What’s new in Android 12 for Chromecast with Google TV?
As we’ve said before, system updates aren’t a major source of new features or changes for Google TV and Android TV. Rather, the most meaningful changes come from updates to the launcher or through apps. Still, there are a good number of new features that come with Android 12 for Chromecast with Google TV, and they were live first on the Chromecast with Google TV (HD), which shipped with the update installed.
Update 10/17: Google has now released the Android 12 update for Chromecast with Google TV (4K). We’ve rounded up a few of the changes this seems to bring to the 4K model in particular, versus just what’s new at a platform level.
System sounds are now on
One thing we noticed after updating to Google TV 12 on the Chromecast (4K) was that Google has changed up the system sounds, and apparently enabled them by default too, at least on my device and Abner Li’s. You can still turn them off through Settings > Display & Sound > System sounds.
System sounds were available in Android 10, but they were very quiet. Android 12 seems to put them at a higher volume, more in line with other Android TV devices.
Volume UI is now on the right side
If you rely on the Chromecast’s system volume UI, you’ll notice that Android 12 on Chromecast moves the UI over to the right side of the display rather than showing it across the bottom. This new placement should be better for avoiding covering up important parts of TV shows or movies, as well as subtitles. The new UI is also dark theme, which is a nice touch.
USB hubs apparently work better now
Some users on Reddit claim that the Android 12 update for Chromecast with Google TV has improved support for USB hubs. Google’s streamer has always supported the ability to use a USB-C hub to add additional ports (though it’s a bit finicky). In Android 12, the need to reboot the Chromecast to get it to recognize the hub properly appears to be fixed. We haven’t had a chance to test this, though, so your results may vary.
Have you noticed anything else new? Let us know!
Our original breakdown of everything new in Google TV on Android 12 follows.
Block microphone and camera access
One of the core changes in Android 12 comes in the form of better privacy with the microphone and camera. Android 12 now always shows an indicator when the microphone or camera permissions are being used by displaying an easily noticeable green dot in the corner. While this Android 12 feature probably won’t be noticed for its camera half on Chromecast with Google TV, it’s definitely a welcome change for showing microphone access. Google TV already had an indicator UI, but this version is much more noticeable and works more consistently across the OS.
Beyond just an indicator, there’s also now a way to block access to the microphone and/or camera in Android 12. On Google TV, you’ll find this in Settings > Privacy under the “Microphone” or “Camera” sections. On either page, you’ll also see a list of apps that have tried to access these permissions.
“Match content frame rate”
Another new feature you’ll find across all Android TV OS 12 devices is support for the system to match the frame rate of the content being displayed. This is available with three options on Google TV – seamless, non-seamless, and off entirely. On Chromecast (HD), the first option is enabled by default.
What do these options do? Google explains as follows.
If the app requests it, your device will match its output to the original frame rate of the content you’re watching, ONLY if your TV can perform a seamless transition.
If the app requests it, your device will match its output to the original frame rate of the content you’re watching. This may cause your screen to go blank for a second when exiting or entering a video playback.
Even if the app requests it, your device will never try to match its output to the original frame rate of the content you’re watching.
Another option you’ll find in Google TV 12 on Chromecast is text scaling. While it’s long been available in Android on phones and tablets, the option is now also available on TVs. You’ll find text scaling under Settings > Display > Text scaling, with four options from 85% to 115%. You can see a comparison of the smallest text to the largest text options below.
You can now block surround sound
Google TV 12 also brings more control over sound formats. In the previous update, you could select between “Automatic,” which would use any sound formats that your device reported as approved, or “Manual,” which would force sound formats as a user-accessible option. Now, there’s also a “none” option that can turn off surround sound entirely.
“Quick Connect” for Wi-Fi
You’ll also find a new network setting in Google TV 12 on Chromecast called “Quick Connect.” As Google confirmed to us last year, this is designed to make it easier to connect your Android TV device (in this case, a Chromecast) to Wi-Fi from your smartphone.
From what we can tell, this requires that your smartphone is also running Android 13 – at the very least, it doesn’t work on Samsung devices running Android 12/L, but we were able to locate the option on Pixel devices running Android 13.
TikTok is installed during setup
This change is very likely exclusive to the Chromecast with Google TV (HD), but we found that TikTok was one of Google’s included apps on the device. It’s installed as a part of the setup, though you can stop it from being installed during setup.
When will Chromecast (4K) get Google TV 12?
So that’s everything new in Android 12 for the Chromecast with Google TV, but when will the update be coming to the 4K model?
The update is rolling out now! As of October 17, the update is available widely for all Chromecast with Google TV (4K) owners as a 722mb update.
What about Android 13?
That’s Android 12, though, and smartphones are now getting Android 13. When will that update come to Google TV? What’s new? A lot of that remains to be seen. Early hands-on time with Android TV 13 revealed there’s not much new, and Google has yet to release the final version of the update as of late-September 2022.
More on Google TV:
- Chromecast with Google TV (4K) is getting updated to Android 12 soon
- Android TV and Google TV have doubled new TV shipments in Europe
- Chromecast with Google TV (HD) unlocks a bit more storage for users versus 4K model
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