If your Chromecast with Google TV has been feeling sluggish on startup lately (mine has), there’s good news on the horizon. Google has made a flurry of “under the hood” changes to Google TV to help it feel faster and more responsive. The changes are relatively minor, like dialing down the memory requirement for certain interface elements and improving overall cache management. But you’ll have to check your Google TV dongle or device to see if anything has rolled out to it yet.
In a community blog post, Google formally detailed changes to its TV platform. The updates are pretty straightforward: Google TV’s software includes “CPU optimization” and cache management tweaks so that you aren’t feeling lag on the home screen. The company says it improved navigation so that Google TV feels more responsive as you move the remote cursor through tabs, though that’s the extent of the description. Google’s post also heartily adds that Google TV now requires less RAM, so “you should have a better viewing experience where everything is more stable and moves a little faster!” Given how much of a RAM hog Chrome is, that’s good to hear.
If you use kids’ profiles, they should be feeling faster, too. Google says it made image cache optimizations to reduce the time it takes to switch between the main profile and a kid’s profile. Admittedly, I didn’t set up a profile for my kid because I feared this slowdown in switching. But I suppose I should give it another go. This update should already be available on your Google TV, though the CPU optimizations are still making their way to some devices.
The Google TV with Chromecast dongle is notorious for its onboard storage limitations. You don’t think about it until you encounter it, however, at which point you’re grumpily scrubbing apps from the device to free up some space. I may or may not be speaking from experience.
Google will help simplify this process with a “Free up storage” menu option in the Settings. This offers options to clear your cache and help you uninstall the apps you’re not using, though it won’t walk you through it like Android’s Files by Google. You can grab this feature through the Settings panel, under System > Storage > Free up storage. Note that this is still rolling out to some Google TV devices.
Lastly, Google says there are changes to how Google TV handles app installations, so you’re not encountering as many storage-related errors. I haven’t dealt with this since I set up my Chromecasts with Google TV, but it’s enough of a thing that you’ll find posts on the matter. Google’s also introducing an “automated process” that runs in the background to help free up space on your Google TV device.
One could say that Google could have avoided these storage problems entirely if it had just bundled in more space on the Chromecast with Google TV, which it made small and cheap enough to bring into any home that wanted to log in to their streaming services with a simple plug and play device. Maybe we’ll see more storage in a future release?
It’s good to see Google is trying its hand at improving the experience on Google TV, since it’s still facing a ton of competition from the likes of Apple, Roku, and Amazon. Like I said earlier, I’ve been feeling the slow down on the TV platform for a while now. I have mostly reverted to casting directly from my Android smartphone or using Amazon’s Fire TV or Roku to stream instead. The interface still feels a bit behind on my Chromecast with Google TV, so here’s hoping these improvements roll out fast.