Fair review. My first choice is the firetv because it integrates live linear tv better. I have 500 stations from about 8 sources on the grid guide. I was not impressed with android tv which is the TV's OS, so I side loaded goggle tv. I can live with it when I must but the firetv is my main input source. Both run ads for shows and movies which usually do not float my boat. But, goggle knows me better than Amazon and has given me things which I have ended up watching.
So I have the nest hub max bundle w/chrmcst-gtv I have had no issues with it. No adds, go straight to apps like Hulu,HBO and/or AMC+. I can just choose a movie, n stream, see I'm an actual seasoned streamer n gamer. You can set the dongle 4 ur needs n leave the bs out. You should research more, also use developer mode to change interface of home page, u knew that ur a pro-streamer. I also have a new fire cube its great but Alexa is limited vs. googles a.i. 1 last thing u can play stadia on g-tv now so I have more screens to play in 4k ultra.
As a few others have pointed out, before writing a strongly opinionated piece against what amounts to a major player in the streaming space, especially as the Tom's Guide senior editor for streaming media, I might have taken a moment to determine what other power users are doing to circumvent trivial annoyances. You would have found that, unsurprisingly, being an Android device after all, it can be customized and "hacked" to more closely fall in line with your preferences and particular use case. You can unlock the bootloader and go crazy with custom OSs, hide ads, run custom launchers... The world is your oyster with just a bit of effort on your part and a visit to the XDA forums. Most of the mods you can make don't even require the slightly more intensive need to root the device, however that is an option and will give the end-user ultimate control/root access.
As is, it comes off as someone that perhaps didn't want to like it or was predisposed to dislike it regardless of what the desired outcome was.
I would've expected more from a senior editor, especially one generally overseeing all media streaming!
PS - I understand you may have been unwilling to do any of the above for the sake of this article but you still could have presented optionsfor circumventing the many downsides you cite. That would've presented a balanced argument to readers perhaps on the fence about making a purchase of the device, especially if they're the type that aren't afraid to roll their sleeves up and get into the muck with rooting and whatnot.
Some good points, especially wrt the blatant attempts to get you to watch what you aren't interested in, and for admitting that's becoming a problem on all smart tv platforms, not just Google's.
OTOH, Apple Music not being supported is because Apple doesn't like sharing. Blame them. Then again, who cares? Aside from just testing to see if it works, I've never had any desire to use my tv as a music player. I have better ways to listen to music that don't include the wasted energy and wear-and-tear of keeping a tv screen lit that nobody is looking at.
I think it's a half decent review I mean personally you can connect other remotes to the Chromecast and use it for stuff other than media however if you want a great device just for media get yourself a Nvidia Shield pro 2019 model and you will thank me as hands down it's the best all round for media, android and gaming as well as AI Upscaling 720p movies upscaled to 4k etc... And the results are amazing I had IP TV and upscaled the TV channels without issues also works in many apps Plex, Netflix, YouTube and more
Sometime you geeks think too much. I have all my apps on my IPad, including my cable app, and simply cast using Chromecast. Simple. All the streaming aggregator apps are too clumsy to navigate and duplicate what I already have on my Ipad.
I made it through 2 paragraphs of this before saying to myself "This is an apple person, who did this entire exercise just to say he wasn't going to use it.
Yeah, the remote is too small and ridiculous. Clearly the engineers were forced to accept the idea that not everyone carries a phone with them 24x7. But there are others that are cheap. In fact, you can get a remote with the Onn TV version from walmart, and the streaming device and remote cost less than an Apple TV remote alone.
And nobody invested in the apple world was ever going to be happy with a non apple product.
I find it interesting that as someone who writes for a technical publication you approached using the streaming device as an older first time user. First, there are remapping apps that can reprogram the remote buttons. Possibly more than you wanted to do, but this is commonly known, even for us less technical savvy people. Also, the interface is customizable and learns your viewing habits with time and also will ask you what type of programming you like to watch. Actually I have found the complete opposite from your experience. When I turn my TV on, my programming I tend to watch is immediately displayed and I just scroll to the program and immediately starts playing. This is completely the opposite of any other streaming device I have ever used. Usually it requires me to scroll to the app, open the app, then scroll through the channels to find the program I want to watch. While the article represents your opinion and experience, for someone who uses the device it's apparent that you had a preconceived opinion of the device or you flat out did not spend much time using the device.
I may sound pro CCWGTV. I'm actually not. There are better streaming devices and there are far more devices that are worse. I find for the money, it's definitely one of the better devices. I find it surprising that a tech publication would write an article that clearly demonstrates a lack of interest in writing a thorough review. I have found this true in a few other reviews with this site. What you write has an influence on what people purchase. Please spend some time using items you review outside of a couple of days or week. If you can't do that simple task, then don't write reviews.