Powered by Google’s impressive recommendation system, the Google TV platform, found on devices like the Chromecast with Google TV and baked in to a wide range of televisions, is great at providing a personalized TV and movie entertainment experience. This is ideal if you’re looking to chill out after a hard day without having to worry about what to watch next. But that’s not all. Google TV has a lot to offer. Whether you’re a seasoned user or someone who just came to know about it now, it’s possible you’re missing out on some of its awesome features. To help you make the most out of Google TV, here are some tips and tricks you can try.




5 minutes


  • Google TV device (TV or Chromecast)
  • Internet connection
  • Google TV remote

Customize your home screen

You want your TV to offer the best entertainment options when you turn it on, so Google TV lets you customize the home screen to best match your preferences. Here’s how to set it up.

Step 1: Go to your profile and then open Settings.

Profile icon on Google TV.

Step 2: Open the Your services tab. It says Manage services if you’re using the mobile app.

Your services setting on Google TV.

Step 3: Select the services you’re subscribed to or those that you want to see more often. Just turn on the toggle or check the boxes if you’re on the app.

Service selection on Google TV.

Step 4: Now your home screen will be full of recommendations from these services.

A 55-inch Sony Bravia OLED TV hangs over a media center.

Enable app-only mode

If you find Google TV’s recommendations are hit-and-miss, you can choose to see only your apps on the home screen. Here’s how.

Step 1: Go to your Profile > Settings > Accounts and Sign-in.

Step 2: Look for the Apps-only mode option. Toggle it on if you only want to see apps on your home screen. Toggle it off if you also want to see content recommendations.

Apps-only mode on Google TV.

View your own photos as screensavers

Who wants to look at a dull, blank screen? Choose to spice up your idle TV by enabling the ambient mode on Google TV. This will let you set up your own photos or any other images of your choice as screensavers.

Step 1: Go to Settings and open the System tab.

System tab on Google TV settings.

Step 2: Select Ambient mode.

Ambient mode on Google TV.

Step 3: Select the Google Photos option to showcase pictures from your Google Photos account.

Google Photos option on Google TV.

Step 4: Select the More settings button below if you want to choose which photos to display.

Step 5: Choose the appropriate settings to select which albums to display and what the slideshow speed should be.

Step 6: Now, when your Google TV is idle. the screen will display the photos according to the options you selected.

Save your favorites in the watchlist

If you have a never-ending list of movies and TV shows you want to watch, consider saving them in the Google TV watchlist to keep track of everything. It’s easy to use and works just like any other watchlist, except you can see content from all apps in one place. Here’s how to start using it.

Step 1: Select any movie to a TV show that you want to add to your watchlist.

Step 2: On your remote, press and hold the Select button (the white round one).

The Google TV remote in front of Apple TV Fitness.
Phil Nickinson/Digital Trends

Step 3: Now select Add to watchlist.

You can also add titles directly from your browser. Type the name of a movie or TV show in the Google search bar. Now select the Want to watch option.

Want to watch option on Google.

Step 4: Now the title will be saved in your watchlist. You can access this list through your TV and the Google TV app.

Step 5: To view this watchlist, go to the Library tab at the top of your home screen.

Library tab on Google TV.

Step 6: You can view all your saved titles and choose to watch any of them whenever you want.

Turn off auto-play

How annoying it is when you’re just trying to browse through different movies and tv shows but then the trailers start playing loudly? Fortunately, you can stop this menace. Here’s how.

Step 1: Go to Settings > Accounts and sign-in.

Step 2: Look for the Auto-play trailers option. Toggle it off so trailers won’t start playing on your home screen while you’re browsing the titles.

Step 3: You can turn it back on by toggling it on anytime you change your mind.

Turn on game mode

Games are best played on the big screen. Google knows this and lets you make the most out of your gaming session with a special game mode. Here’s how to enable it.

Step 1: Go to Settings > Display and sound.

Display and sound option on Google TV.

Step 2: Select Advanced display settings.

Advanced display settings on Google TV.

Step 3: Look for the Allow game mode toggle and turn it on. You can also adjust the resolution using the Resolution option below.

Game mode toggle on Google TV.

Step 4: Enjoy your game(s) and turn the toggle back off when you’re done.

Lock the settings

If you have kids, there’s no predicting what they’ll do once they get their hands on the TV. If you want to prevent awkward and frustrating accidents, you can lock the Google TV settings to ensure your child (or maybe a roommate?) doesn’t mess up your preferences. Here’s how.

Step 1: Go to Settings.

Step 2: Look for the Settings lock toggle. Turn it on to keep the settings locked.

Settings lock on Google TV.

Step 3: Now no one will be able to change any settings or download third-party apps unless you toggle the option off.

Play podcasts on your TV

Who says you can only watch movies and TV shows on your TV? With Google TV, you can also listen to podcasts. This one’s quite simple.

Step 1: Use your Google Assistant to say, “Play [Name of the podcast].”

Step 2: Google Assistant will pull up the latest episodes of the show and you can start listening instantly. You don’t even have to download the Google Podcasts app.

About the author

Kwame Anane

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