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You won't need Android TV to get a YouTube app on Chromecast

The test suggests you'll get much more than basic casting.

Published onMarch 8, 2021

google chromecast remote
  • Google is testing a YouTube ‘app’ for Chromecast devices without Android TV.
  • You’d get a remote control, suggestions and other features normally reserved for full apps.
  • It’s not certain when this will be widely available, assuming it moves forward.

The YouTube experience on earlier Chromecast devices is very basic, but it could become decidedly more sophisticated in the future. 9to5Google readers have discovered that Google is testing a web-based YouTube ‘app’ for Chromecast that significantly expands the functionality without making you spring for an Android TV-based device like the newest Chromecast or a smart television.

Chromecast users who get the new YouTube experience reported seeing a much more sophisticaed player. You could add videos to the queue, change resolution, enable subtitles, and even check raw stats. When a clip finishes, you’ll get suggestions for more videos instead of returning to a splash screen.

Related: Chromecast with Google TV review

A remote control in the YouTube mobile app helped users navigate, according to reports.

The test has since disappeared from the users’ devices. It’s not clear just when this YouTube web app will come to your Chromecast, assuming it does in the first place. We’ve asked Google for comment.

Provided this does roll out, though, it hints at a change in Google’s living room strategy. Until the Android TV-based model arrived, Google treated Chromecasts as little more than audiovisual conduits for whatever was happening on your phone. While you’d clearly still need your phone for this YouTube app to work, your ‘basic’ Chromecast could behave more like a full-fledged media hub and reduce the temptation to buy new devices.

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