Apple TV vs Google Chromecast: Which Is the Best Streaming Option?


Apple TV v Google Chromecast

Some video content is just too cool to remain on the small screen. Fortunately, Google Chromecast offers quite a simple solution to enjoy your favourite shows and movies right on your TV screen without breaking the bank. It’s not just efficient, it’s a budget-friendly option as well. So the question is — would viewers want to exchange Chromecast’s simplicity and good value for Apple TV’s grand features despite the notable price differences? 

Apple TV vs Google Chromecast

Apple TV and Google Chromecast are both appealing in their own, unique ways. Apple TV’s got the edge in terms of design and features. Chromecast, on the other hand, efficiently serves its purpose for a modest price. But, the streaming world is one that’s fast evolving. As it does, dozens of standalone streaming choices and super valuable smart TVs that offer all kinds of options flock the market. So where do Apple TV and Google Chromecast stand in the heights of streaming revolution? Do they still offer as much value as they did before the cutthroat competition? 

Comparing Apple TV and Google Chromecast

The comparison between Apple TV and Google Chromecast is outright tricky. They’re entirely different streaming products — each one specialising in certain services not like the other. Apple operates as a traditional black box, which serves as a source device for your television, which is why it’s more comparable to a pay TV box. There’s an on-screen interface present, which runs whatever apps you choose to use. 

Google’s device, on the other hand, substantially varies from Apple TV. Everything it’s comprised of is packed into a small plastic dongle that you connect to your TV and feeds its video. Simply put, Chromecast doesn’t run apps the way users are accustomed to running them. What you do is run the apps on your smartphone or any other device. From there you can control the content on the big screen. While there’s an apparent challenge to compare two products developed from an entirely different premise, there’s also significant flexibility with Google’s offerings that users won’t find in Apple. However, you need to be open with the changes that come with Google diverting from the conventional processes of streaming video on TV. 

How much does Apple TV cost? 

The price would depend on whether you’re looking for a TV that’s capable to display 4K video or you’re fine with standard HD. Apple’s 4th generation Apple TV, which delivers video up to 1080p, is currently priced at £149. For a more impressive cinematic experience in the comfort of your home, Apple delivers the Apple TV 4K with its price starting at £179. 

How much does Google Chromecast cost? 

Google also features two Chromecast versions. The cheaper model delivers up to 1080 video resolution and can be acquired at £30, while its 4K-enabled counterpart can be purchased at £69. Price-wise, Google obviously is generally perceived as the more ideal option. So, it’s now up to Apple to make its offerings one of a kind, so as to make the steepy pricing worth it. 

What’s the difference between the Operating Systems?

Apple iOS and tvOS

Apple runs its own apps, making Apple TV’s system tvOS operating on a version of iOS. The App Store on Apple TV makes streaming entertainment a breeze, from apps like BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, Amazon Prime Video, and NOW TV. It’s also important to note that with Apple TV, you can’t just use any streaming apps you have on your device. They have to be specifically designed for tvOS for you to enjoy them on the big screen. Hence, downloading an app from the App Store on your device automatically downloads a tvOS version on your Apple TV so it’s ready when you use it. 

Google Casting 

As for Chromecast, all you’re required to do is add its casting support to any streaming app. After that’s done, you just run the app on your portable device, tap the “cast” icon, begin playback, and presto, you get your video content playing on the big screen. And because Chromecast can run thousands of apps, it’s simply more efficient. 

Apple Streaming

On the other hand, Apple’s on-screen interface would be better appreciated when it comes to using non-streaming apps. More importantly, there’s seamless screen support that significantly enhances the experience. Services like Apple Music come to mind and so is the upcoming Apple TV+. 

Apple TV vs Google Chromecast: Comparing Features

Using Google Chromecast

Using your device to control the content on your TV screen is convenient and efficient. Initially, though, having to unlock your phone just to change what’s streaming might make users miss an actual remote control. Although in its entirety, enabling you to send anything you want to your TV screen is one solid function. And the content you’re able to feed to the big screen isn’t limited to streaming apps — photos, personal videos, websites — whatever you want. 

Using Apple TV

The Apple TV remote puts you in control of what you want to watch or what app you want to run with its interactive Touch surface. And while it boasts a sleekness in design, this rechargeable little device may need some getting used to. The glass trackpad, which you primarily use to control the box, is obviously unlike the traditional remote controls with clickable buttons. You’ll need to get accustomed to using it first before you can appreciate its grand features. 

Power Saving

Apple TV delivers an aerial screen saver after it’s idle for some minutes. Users can enjoy spectacular videos shot from underwater and even space. If you’re curious about the location, you can get the information with just a tap — or simply swipe to switch to another aerial. Chromecast, meanwhile, sticks to the basics. When idle, it displays the current time and the weather and uses some images from Google. You can personalise what you see by replacing the images with your own just as long as the photos are in a Google Photos album and added via the Chromecast app. 

Chromecast Support

The interface you use in Chromecast depends on the interface your current Chromecast app has. Unlike Apple TV, there’s no interactive interface you can use to control anything. Instead, there’s a free Google Home app available should you need to make any changes on the settings. This also the app you use for a Google Home smart speaker. And it’s also worth mentioning that Chromecast can be managed by your Google Home provided you have one. 

Using Siri

Apple TV gets the upper hand in the interface department with its simple yet tasteful screen. Even better, there are some changes you can do to stick to your personal preference. For instance, users have the option to replace the screen icons by voice commands to the built-in Siri through the mic on the remote control. Both versions of Apple TV are equipped with powerful features that make them highly effective in whatever functions you need from it. 

What about Paid Content and Search?

When it comes to paid content, it’s really up to you. Both Apple’s iTunes and Google Play Movies & TV store deliver a massive range of content to satiate your need for diverse entertainment — that is if you’re fine with the standard kind of viewing. Otherwise, Apple TV is the obvious choice when basic isn’t enough since it offers movies in 4K with other features to spice things up like Dolby Vision, HDR and Dolby Atmos. 

Searching content is also a crucial function and Apple, once again, wins in this area. Its excellent integration of Siri enables voice search across numerous stores and apps. With this, you can simply request for “Tom Hardy movies” and you’ll quickly get a list of content on iTunes, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and others. Chromecast doesn’t offer the same search function so it’ll be up to you and your app to find what you’re looking for. 

Which Offers Best Value for the Money?

Deciding on whether a streaming device is valuable or not comes from the experience it provides users. Ultimately, satisfaction is achieved when certain standards and expectations are met. Hence, it’s clear that both Apple TV and Chromecast impressively deliver in their respective areas. Still, there’s an indisputable value in Chromecast and what it offers to streaming fans. You can use it with any other app out there and you can bring it anywhere with you. Value and convenience in one.  Best of all, the standard version is one of the cheapest streaming devices you can find. 

Apple TV, on the other hand, is a great choice though it also falls into the luxury side of things. If you’re only looking for simple streaming on your TV screen with no other special requirements, there’s a lot of cheaper devices in the market. However, it’s also fair to say that Apple TV, despite the hefty price tag, doesn’t disappoint. From the interface to the app design and the overall experience, it’s a grand piece of entertainment device with comprehensive focus on its technical quality. Plus you also have the option to cast it from an iOS device with the use of AirPlay to share photos and videos, if you like. 

Both are obviously great options but if you’re willing to look past the fact that Apple TV is two to four times pricier than Chromecast, then it’s still the best streaming device you can ever experience today.