Chromecast with Google TV really is the perfect device for anyone considering a replacement for a Roku player. Arguably, it is one of the best streaming devices around at the moment and certainly when it comes to streaming players priced under $50. If access to YouTube TV matters to an individual or household, then switching to a Chromecast with Google TV makes even more sense.
Since the release of the first model, Google’s Chromecast has been a useful but limited device, due to its dependency on a smartphone. However, the latest model does away with that dependency by adding its own interface and a remote control. All of which is available for just $49.99.
At this price, the Chromecast with Google TV is the same price as the Roku Streaming Stick+ and $10 more than the newer Roku Express 4K+. Granted, the Roku devices are more likely to go on sale, so even the Streaming Stick+ is going to be a cheaper purchase at various times of the year. Still, the Chromecast with TV is the better product overall and apps are a major reason for this.
Apps have become a Roku problem
The Roku platform has always been a great option for consumers and partly due to the level of app support that’s available. In many ways, it has always been seen as impartial to the platform wars. While Amazon and Google, and Apple and Google had issues with cross-platform support, Roku was seen as a reliable alternative. However, as streaming services have grown in number, so have the Roku app disputes.
While Amazon, Apple, and Google appear to be putting their app disagreements behind them and making it easier to access each other’s services on their devices, Roku has gone through a period of dispute after dispute. For example, AT&T TV, Fox Sports, HBO Max, and Peacock have all had their issues with Roku in recent years. Not to mention, Google’s YouTube TV is currently facing its own Roku problem. While the dispute doesn’t affect existing subscribers yet, any Roku device without the YouTube TV app installed is currently prohibited from downloading the app. Similar to past app disputes, this one may end with users gaining access to the app again, but it is just the latest example of a concerning Roku trend.
In contrast, as Chromecast with Google TV is a Google product, it naturally works great with YouTube TV, and so long as both the Chromecast and YouTube TV accounts are linked to the same Google account, the user will gain additional integration between the two. More to the point, it runs on Google TV. This is formerly Android TV and although the platform has had some problems with app support in the past, it is generally a fairly reliable option today. Even Apple TV and Prime Video are both now available on the platform, highlighting how Android/Google TV has worked through its support problems.
For reference, the platform, and therefore also the Chromecast with Google TV, won’t be an option for AT&T TV subscribers. Considering AT&T’s own streaming player runs on the same platform, this appears to be more of a case of AT&T not making the app available to competing Android TV devices. AT&T TV subscribers aside, the Chromecast with Google TV seems like a much safer streaming player compared to Roku. While the same could be said for a Fire TV device right now, Amazon’s platform has had its own share of issues in recent times. Although most of them have also been worked out now, Peacock currently remains unavailable to download on Fire TV devices, unlike on Chromecast with Google TV.
Chromecast a perfect Roku replacement summary
The Chromecast with Google TV might be a newer device, but it is quickly making its mark on the industry and consumers. Priced at $49.99, it is comparable in cost to popular 4K Roku players and Fire TV devices. Price aside, app support and disputes have become an increasing concern in recent times and this is one area where Google TV (formerly Android TV) has actually gotten better. All of which seems to make it a more reliable option than Roku, albeit maybe not for AT&T TV subscribers that don’t want to go through the effort of having to sideload an app.
In addition to being reliable at the app level, the Chromecast with Google TV is just a solid device in general. The new Google TV design is highly intuitive and adds value to the streaming experience overall, making it super easy to find shows and movies that are likely to interest the viewer. Chromecast with Google TV is not a perfect streaming player, but it is a perfect replacement for a Roku player.