google tv logo

The Chromecast with Google TV introduced the company’s vision for its smart TV devices. If you have a streaming device running Google TV, there are some things you should know. We’ll help you get the most out of your experience.

One thing to note before we get started: Google TV is not the same as Android TV. While both are based on the Android operating system, they function very differently. You can think of Google TV as the new version of Android TV.

RELATED: What's the Difference between Google TV and Android TV?

How to Install Apps and Games on Google TV

google tv install apps and games

First and foremost, your Google TV experience will really only be as good as the apps and games you have. After all, Google TV is simply a delivery system for streaming media and games.

Installing apps and games on Google TV can be a little annoying. The Google Play Store, which is where all the apps and games are from, is not easily accessible. Instead, you have to use the “Apps” tab on the home screen.

RELATED: How to Install Apps and Games on Google TV

Once you’re there, it’s a matter of browsing the categories, looking through the recommendations,  or doing a direct search for an app or game you have in mind.

How to Uninstall Apps and Games on Google TV

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Inevitably, you’ll want to remove apps and games as well. Maybe you’ve tried an app and decided you don’t like it, or perhaps you want to remove a service that came pre-installed on the device. Whatever the reason may be, it’s easy to do.

Uninstalling apps and games on Google TV can be done right from the home screen. All you have to do is select an app and long-press to bring up the menu. Don’t let little-used apps clog up your device.

RELATED: How to Uninstall Apps and Games on Google TV

How to Customize the Google TV Home Screen

google tv home screen

Speaking of apps and games, the home screen is where you’ll find them, along with a boatload of recommendations. The Google TV experience is largely focused on recommending content for you.

There are a number of ways that you can customize how the home screen looks. Since it’s based so much on recommendations, the best thing to do is help it make those recommendations better. You can do this by adding your streaming services and rating movies and TV shows.

RELATED: How to Customize the Google TV Home Screen

The apps and games can also be organized to your liking. It’s a good idea to put your favorites within easy reach. If all of that isn’t good enough or you just plain don’t like the recommendations, you can switch to “Apps Only Mode.” This will turn off all the recommendations and only show your apps and games.

RELATED: How to Disable Recommendations on Google TV

How to Use Google Photos as the Screen Saver on Google TV

Google Photos logo on Google TV

When you’re not actively using your Google TV device, it can act as a digital photo frame. When you’re setting up the device for the first time, it may ask if you want to use Google Photos in “Ambient Mode.” This is what we normally think of as a “screen saver.”

Setting up the Google Photos screen saver is not actually done on the TV device. Instead, it happens in the Google Home app for iPhone, iPad, and Android. You can specify which albums you want to see on the screen saver, along with some other options.

If you’re a Google Photos user, this is a really nice way to display your photos on a big screen.

RELATED: How to Use Google Photos as the Screen Saver on Google TV

How to Change the Screen Saver on Google TV

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If you’re not a Google Photos user, you can choose from a number of other screen saver apps. The Chromecast with Google TV makes this process a little tricky, unfortunately.

Google TV is still Android at the core, which means that it can use Android screen saver apps. Google TV settings make it hard to find the screen saver options. You’ll have to access them from the screen saver app of your choice.

The good news is it can be done, and there are several great screen saver apps that work on Google TV. You don’t have to be limited to Google Photos or Google’s stock imagery.

RELATED: How to Change the Screen Saver on the Chromecast with Google TV

How to Restart a Google TV Streaming Device

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Lastly, there may be an occasion when your Google TV device is not working properly. Maybe it feels a little laggy or an app is misbehaving. In many situations, a simple restart will solve the issues. This isn’t guaranteed to always work, but it’s a good place to start.

As long as you can still navigate the Google TV interface and open the settings, you can restart the device. If that’s not the case, you should unplug the device from the power to force it to restart.

RELATED: How to Restart a Google TV Streaming Device

One of the best things about Google TV is its simplicity. Hopefully, with these few tips and tricks, you’ll get the most out of your streaming device.

Profile Photo for Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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