One of Google TV’s streaming services is Google’s own YouTube TV. This is a replacement for basic cable TV service. The current cost is $64.99 per month. YouTube TV streams local TV stations. It also includes a cloud DVR with unlimited storage for recording content. Premium networks like Showtime can be added at a cost.
Similarly, Apple TV lets you connect to many different streaming services. Two services offered only by Apple are iTunes Movies and iTunes TV Shows.
On both devices, streaming services such as Amazon Prime, Netflix and HBOMax ask “who’s watching?” when they are launched. Each household member’s watch history and preferences are kept separate.
Switching Among YouTube Users
With Apple TV, it’s takes fewer taps of the remote to switch among YouTube accounts than it does with Google TV.
In the Apple TV YouTube app, you simply need to highlight and select the current user on the main YouTube screen. Then, select a different user.
In Google TV YouTube app, you need to navigate to a sign out slide-in screen within the app. You then need to sign out the currently signed in user and sign back in as a different user. Note that a password is not required for signing back in as a different user into YouTube if that user is already signed into Google TV.
Mirroring Your Devices on Your TV
If you want to mirror content from your computer, tablet or mobile device to your TV screen, both Apple TV and Google TV allow for this.
Google Cast lets you send and control content from a variety of devices to your TV. Devices include: any computer with a Chrome browser; an Android device; a Google Home Hub; and certain iPhone apps. Casting is effectively cross-platform.
Apple’s equivalent is called AirPlay. AirPlay allows for mirroring content on macOS or iOS devices to Apple TV.
GeForce NOW from NVIDIA and Steam Link are currently available as native gaming apps on Google TV.
There have been reports that Stadia will be available on Google TV sometime in the first half of 2021.
To play games on Apple TV, you’ll need to subscribe to Apple Arcade, which costs $4.99 per month. There is a one month free trial.
Game controllers such as the SteelSeries Nimbus+ Wireless Gaming Controller and the Sony PlayStation DUALSHOCK4 Wireless Controller will work with Apple TV.
Ambient/Idle Mode Display
What about the times you’re not watching anything in particular, but your TV is on?
Google TV provides several options for ambient mode:
A slideshow from your Google photos
Art gallery – images and artwork that Google curates
Apple TV’s default ambient mode is called Arial screensaver. It’s a slideshow of pictures from around the world.
Mac users can use Sharing under System Preferences to share photos with Apple TV’s screensaver mode.