Comparative Apple TV 4K and Chromecast 2020, what are the differences? — 2022
If you are an Apple user because you have an iPhone, iPad and/or Mac, you are probably interested in completing your ecosystem with a smart device to enjoy multimedia content. Without leaving the Californian brand, we can find the Apple TV 4K, but there are other interesting options such as the Google Chromecast 2020 with Google TV. What differences do both devices have? We break it all down below.
In design they differ a lot
The Apple TV 4K, as happened with previous generations of this device (this is the fifth), we find a black box with dimensions of 3.5 x 9.8 x 9.8 centimeters in height, width and depth. Its weight is 425 grams and in a way it can even remind us of a CPU like the one in the Mac mini. Its way of connecting to the television is through its corresponding HDMI cable, while another outlet must go to the current because this device requires its own power. It should be noted that it is only available in black.
The Google Chromecast 2020 for its part is totally different, since it starts from a much more portable design thanks to dimensions of 1.62 x 0.61 x 1.25 centimeters and a weight of only 55 grams. Visually they are undoubtedly two totally different worlds, with a design in this case rounded and small with a USB-C connection and a cable that comes out of the body of the Chromecast and works as an HDMI output.
Interface and operating system differences
We start talking in this case about the Google Chromecast, which is equipped by Google TV, which acts as the brain of this device. If it is true that you have a dependency on an iPhone to perform the initial configuration such as internet network data. Once this process is done, you can choose the different applications that you want to install to enjoy all the content. For example, you can add Prime Video, HBO or Filmin. All of these appear on the home screen of the Chromecast and can be executed through the included remote.
In the interface itself, a series of movies and series that can be viewed on the Chromecast will also be displayed. These can be extracted from the services that we have installed through applications or rent them in the Google store itself. To all this is added the integration with Google Assistant as a counterpart to Siri in tvOS. The goal in the end is the same and that is to be able to control the device through voice commands. The only negative point that it has is that it is not possible to carry out an adequate management of the profiles. And of course, the essential philosophy of the Chromecast of sending the content directly from the mobile itself is maintained.
The Apple TV, for its part, comes with tvOS, its own operating system that Apple designs and that is nothing like iOS or macOS, although it shares certain things. Its interface is designed to be handled comfortably with the command, with the applications installed in the main view and even having multitasking in which it does resemble the iPhone.
Taking into account that in the end the appearance of the software is something very subjective, we cannot classify any of the systems as better or worse. Both are ultimately useful for what they are focused on, which is nothing more than enjoying multimedia content such as videos or even music.
The remote controls look alike
Here we find a tremendous similarity between both teams and that is that the Siri Remote, which is what Apple calls its command, is very similar to the Google Chromecast command. Or perhaps we should say it the other way around because the Apple TV was the first to arrive. In any case, both are functional and fully adapted to their interface.
In the case of the Siri Remote, it has always been blamed for being unintuitive, although in the end it goes to taste and once its learning curve is overcome, it is tremendously easy to use. Even on some televisions, it can serve as the main control to vary its volume or zap between television channels when you are not in the tvOS interface. One thing to keep in mind if you lose your remote is that an Apple TV control function that looks similar to the remote itself is installed as standard on iPhone and iPad.
As we have mentioned, the Chromecast also integrates its own control and although it has its similarities, it ends up being more complete than the Apple TV because it has different direct access buttons. This means that in addition to being able to move through the different applications and launch them, you can also quickly access applications such as YouTube or Netflix. It also has a direct access to mute the sound or return to the main menu to change the content you are viewing.
Similar apps available
Both the Apple TV App Store and Chromecast's Google Play are sparser than those on iPhone or Android phones. However, they seem to have a catalog extensive enough for that device, from interesting games to pass the time to the most popular video platforms such as Netflix, HBO, YouTube and more. Therefore, for these purposes we do not find notable differences, although those that exist will be explained in the following section.
Exclusive Apple Platforms
In 2019, Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade were officially launched, the company's new streaming platforms for television and video games. Although it is true that they are extended to other devices that are not those of the brand, they are not yet available in the Google Chromecast 2020 (at least at the time of publishing this article). If you are a subscriber to one or both services and opt for the Google device, you will be deprived of your enjoyment.
The iPhone is possibly one of the greatest allies of the Apple TV. The ability to mirror your screen to the monitor you're connected to is a highlight, as is sending content via AirPlay. However, the most interesting possibility comes with something already mentioned above and is the possibility of having an app on the iPhone that controls the device. This is especially useful when carrying out text searches, as writing on the mobile is more comfortable.
If we talk about Chromecast, despite being a device that is not within the Apple ecosystem, the iPhone can be used to perform the initial configuration through the Google Home application. Once this is done you can forget about the device since you will not need it as you have control with the remote control itself that is included as we have commented previously. But what does remain is the essence of the Chromecast that has been dragging through all the generations that exist today.
Just as within the Apple ecosystem you can send content through AirPlay to Apple TV, there is a similar system in Chromecast. You will be able to share content through a characteristic button that is available in numerous content broadcasting applications such as Netflix or YouTube. In this way you will be able to have a much more exhaustive control over everything that you visualize with this device on your television.
Connection with game controllers
Whether they come from Apple Arcade or video games from the App Store, the Apple TV supports different controls with which to enjoy a game. All those that already have the MFi certificate included will be compatible, but it also allows you to connect a wireless controller for various video consoles such as Xbox One, Xbox Series X PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. Of course, for those new generations of Microsoft consoles and from Sony you will need to have tvOS 14.5 or later installed.
In the case of Chromecast 2020, the possibility of connecting to console controls such as PlayStation or Xbox is also included. These will be designed to be able to take advantage of Google Stadia, the brand's video game service. To this is also added the possibility of making the connection with the command that owns Google itself and that also has the purpose of using Stadia.
Connection with accessories such as headphones and speakers
The Apple player has Bluetooth 5.0 technology, which makes it possible to connect all kinds of wireless sound accessories that have this connectivity, whether they are speakers or headphones. Something outstanding is the possibility of connecting up to two pairs of headphones at the same time, although it must be said that when it comes to speakers there are some inconveniences with the HomePod. They are compatible but this speaker cannot be assigned by default as the default of the Apple TV, something incomprehensible being two products of the same brand.
The Chromecast 2020 has a Bluetooth 4.1 connection, which despite being inferior to that of the Apple device, does allow you to connect different accessories. Here the use of console controls stands out above all to be able to enjoy the games that are integrated with Google Stadia or with different wireless headphones. But unlike Apple TV, there is no easy connection to different speakers as there is no technology similar to AirPlay 2. You only have the possibility to connect Chromecast to Nest speakers, which is ideal when using Spotify. to have the music throughout your house if you need it.
Resolutions supported by Apple TV and Chromecast
The Chromecast can be connected to your TV or projector via high-speed HDMI. This means that 4K resolution is supported so you can enjoy content at the highest possible quality. This is obviously possible as long as you have a device that is compatible with this resolution, otherwise it will be downscaled. 4K is not simple, but HDR technology is also integrated to give colors a much more realistic intensity.
The Apple TV already carries in its own name the resolution it supports: 4K. In this case, it is possible to connect it to monitors, televisions and even projectors as well, although obviously these external elements must be compatible with 4K resolutions to be seen in that definition. The way to connect it is also through an HDMI cable that, by the way, is not included. Therefore, in the end we find similar specifications in this regard.
The price difference can weigh a lot
If, despite the fact that the Apple ecosystem is an important point for you, you prioritize saving money, the balance will probably end up being unbalanced if we talk about the price of the devices. The Apple TV 4K costs 199 euros in its 32 GB storage version, while the 64 GB version amounts to 219 euros .
The price of the apple player may be more or less fair, but if you compare it with the 69.99 euros worth the Google Chromecast 2020 we see a really big difference. If we understand that in the end they are devices focused on similar functionalities, the latter will probably end up being more worthwhile. In any case, it will be your decision to put the strengths and weaknesses of each one on a scale.