Chromecast with Google TV has an annoying Bluetooth audio issue, but there’s a simple fix

The Chromecast with Google TV is a brilliant product, as noted in Ryan’s review, but it’s not without its flaws. Since getting one a week ago, I’ve found Google’s new Android TV skin to be a delight, so much so that my far more powerful Nvidia Shield has been relegated to the bench. The experience isn’t perfect, however, and I’ve had to close misbehaving apps on several occasions. The most notable issue I’ve faced relates to Bluetooth audio, but thankfully there’s an easy fix.

When I connected Bluetooth headphones to the new Chromecast for the first time and fired up YouTube, I was dismayed to find that the audio stuttered and crackled. Worse still, the video was also affected. I tested with several different pairs of headphones and earbuds, but the issue persisted. I then tried Netflix and BT Sport to find that those apps operated as expected. A quick search showed that I wasn’t the only person experiencing this problem (see here and here), with the YouTube and YouTube Music apps seemingly the culprit on each occasion.

My first instinct was to force stop the YouTube app in the Settings, but this didn’t make a difference. Nor did restarting the Chromecast altogether. A number of people seem to have had success uninstalling and reinstalling the offending app, and I can confirm that did work for me. The spluttering performance went away and both audio and video went back to normal. Unfortunately, the issue returned a few days later, which gave me the opportunity to try clearing the YouTube app’s data rather than reinstalling it, and that also solved the problem.

To do this, you’ll need to head to Settings (via your profile image in the top right of the homescreen) > Apps > YouTube > Clear data. In the unlikely event that this doesn’t solve the problem, try uninstalling the app and reinstating it. As the issue has reappeared for me, this may only be a temporary solution. Let’s hope Google addresses this, along with the other occasional stability and performance problems, in an upcoming firmware update.

On a similar note, users have also complained that some apps won’t output any audio over Bluetooth whatsoever — looking at you, HBO Max and Starz. If you’re affected by this, disabling Surround sound in the Display and sound settings should resolve the issue.

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