The launch of Chromecast with Google TV two years ago made it clear that older Chromecast devices are on the way out. But now – as a final nail in the coffin – older Chromecasts no longer support watching YouTube videos while logged in.
YouTube can no longer be signed into Chromecasts.
At the end of last year, Google overhauled how YouTube could be used on a Chromecast – the older Chromecasts without a remote and Android-based operating system.
The experience behaved more like a native app than a traditional Chromecast session, with a “remote control” on your phone to control what was displayed on the TV. Originally, users could log into their account and browse subscriptions and recommendations, all from the TV rather than solely on their phone. Google even proudly touted the experience Twitter.
But six months later, the whole thing is broken.
In a June 16 tweet, YouTube casually confirmed that signing in on older Chromecast devices is no longer supported. Users can still watch videos and control the session with their phone, but the “app” experience on Chromecast doesn’t allow signing in.
We contacted Google about this issue over three weeks ago, but the company has never acknowledged our request for an explanation explaining why this change was made. It’s certainly a stunning decision.
Like the people over at Android Police have since pointed out, a Google community specialist reiterated, that this change was entirely intentional.
This works as intended. Signing in to YouTube with older Chromecast generations has been unsupported since its release and hasn’t changed since then. You can still stream from your YouTube app on your phone without having to log into your Chromecast. If you control playback from your phone, use the account on your mobile device.
The same specialist also explained that YouTube Premium subscribers got to Use the older experience, not the newer app, if you want to watch videos without ads, as you pay monthly for the privilege.
It’s obvious that the original Chromecast is being phased out.
This isn’t the only major sign that Google is phasing out the original Chromecast.
In 2020, Google essentially discontinued the only 4K-capable Chromecast, the Chromecast Ultra, right next to the Chromecast’s debut with Google TV. The company continues to sell the third-generation Chromecast, but a replacement with Google TV is on the way for this device.
Additionally, in early June 2022, Google confirmed that Chromecast owners with Pixel phones would no longer be able to set up their devices due to the fallout from losing Google in a lawsuit with Sonos.
This “Device needs to be activated before setup” message only appears when using a Chromecast or Chromecast Ultra – again, not the newer Google TV-based device with a remote – if the user is in the US or Canada and with a Pixel smartphone. Our original story coverage explains more about what’s going on, but the fact that Google is leaving the experience as is is a pretty obvious sign that it’s deprioritized the original Chromecast.
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