Chromecast with Google TV 4K gets Android 12 update

The new Chromecast by Google features Android TV’s operating system built-in, which the company has since renamed “Google TV.” (Photo: Matthew Keys/Graphic: The Desk)

Google is rolling out a software update for owners of the 4K-compatible version of the Chromecast with Google TV.

The update brings Android 12 to the device, the same operating system that began shipping with the HD-only version of the Chromecast with Google TV that went on sale last month.

Android 12 brings a number of improvements to the 4K version of the Chromecast with Google TV, including additional privacy settings that allow users to grant or revoke permissions for the voice-enabled remote control and any cameras that might be attached to the TV dongle. (So far, Google has not released any cameras that officially support the Chromecast with Google TV, but some apps might request that kind of access, anyway.)

The update also brings about an important security patch that first began rolling out to Android TV-powered devices in July.

Feature-wise, Android 12 will allow users to match the content frame rate of a TV show or movie that is streaming on a service. The frame rate will increase (for example, when someone is watching sports on a linear channel that offers 60 frames per second) or decrease (to watch a film in 24 frames per second), depending on if an app supports it.

There are three options in the “Match content frame rate,” including “seamless” (which adjusts the frame rate seamlessly if a TV supports it), “non-seamless” (which attempts to adjust the frame rate, though a screen might go black as the TV adjusts accordingly) and “never” (which simply ignores whatever an app requests in terms of frame rate).

The new operating system will also allow users to control various HDR and surround sound settings. The 4K variant of the Chromecast with Google TV already allowed streamers to switch between HDR and SDR, depending on a viewer’s preference. In terms of surround sound, the device will now automatically switch to a supported audio format depending on the TV or audio receiver the Chromecast with Google TV is plugged into, or users can simply hit “Never” to turn off surround sound completely.

Finally, while the release notes don’t specify this, The Desk was able to spot an additional feature that allows Chromecast with Google TV users to scale menu text up or down, depending on preference.

To download the new operating system update, press the Google Assistant button on the voice-powered remote control, then say “Settings.” From the Settings menu, navigate to “System,” then press the right button on the navigation pad. Highlight “About,” then press the right button again. Finally, locate “System Update” and press the navigation pad’s center button.

The 4K version of the Chromecast with Google TV retails for $50 at places like Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart. The device is available in white, pink and baby blue, with a color-coordinated, voice-powered remote included (though only the white version is available at physical stores; the other color options have to be ordered online). An HD-only version of the Chromecast with Google TV costs $30 and is available at Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart.

The Chromecast with Google TV offers access to all popular streaming TV and movie apps, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney Plus, HBO Max, Peacock, Paramount Plus, Starz, Philo, YouTube TV, Sling TV and others. It also supports free streaming apps like YouTube, Tubi, Pluto TV, Xumo and STIRR.