(Pocket-lint) - When Google unopen down Google TV successful 2014, it replaced the level with thing wholly different: Android TV.
It has been comparatively well-received by some developers and manufacturers alike. Google TV had a deficiency of apps, but Android TV has entree to the Google Play, truthful developers with a mobile app tin easy use immoderate modifications to marque an Android TV app. Plus, Android TV has Google Cast support. In a nutshell, Android TV is fundamentally Android optimised for the large screen.
It is casual to operate, tin beryllium controlled via dependable utilizing Google Assistant, and has immoderate decent apps. Here's everything you request to cognize astir it, including however it works, erstwhile you tin usage it, and which devices connection it.
A small spot of history
Google hasn't made it casual to support way of its TV offerings. Google TV was primitively designed to tally connected televisions, but was unopen down successful 2014 and replaced by Android TV.
The determination makes consciousness arsenic Android is simply a level - and we're acquainted with it from phones and different devices - though that's not the extremity of the complication.
Google past reintroduced the Google TV sanction successful 2020 with the motorboat of the Chromecast with Google TV. Google TV is an interface sitting connected Android TV and immoderate manufacturers person moved their interface to Google TV - which you tin work much astir here. More recently, Google changed the sanction of Google Play Movies & TV (the Android app) to Google TV too, truthful here's alignment crossed offerings connected antithetic platforms.
So, your disorder is forgiven - critically, Google TV is astir supplying contented and recommendations, really, which Android TV is the level it really sits on.
What is Android TV?
Simply put, Android TV is designed to bring the sorts of things you bask connected your telephone to your TV. That doesn't mean you'll beryllium taking calls done your TV oregon trawling done emails, but it's astir easiness of navigation, entree to amusement and elemental interactivity. It's astir making your TV astute and doing it with an interface that's recognisable and casual to use.
It offers dependable power acknowledgment to the integration of Google Assistant and gives you power crossed different devices, similar your Android telephone and WearOS watch. The card-based interface behaves successful a acquainted way, making it easier to bash the things you privation to bash without a convoluted paper system.
Essential amusement apps are available, and there's the accidental for Android's app developers to accommodate apps for the large surface experience. That tin beryllium thing from accusation services similar weather, done to gaming. Android TV lets you rapidly customise your TV's contented to suit you.
For a TV shaper it presents a chiseled advantage: wherefore plan your ain astute TV platform, erstwhile Google has already done it? Why make your ain apps, erstwhile the assemblage volition beryllium processing for Android TV? Why person your ain app store erstwhile Android TV offers Google Play? For Google, it offers a chiseled vantage too: it puts Android connected the large surface successful your house, and it provides different avenue to service you its content.
How does Android TV work?
Android TV is elemental to larn and use. When you occurrence up your tv oregon set-top box, you'll spot the main screen/home screen. It is filled with a vertical watercourse of rows, and you navigate done each enactment from near to right. The apical enactment is the Content Discovery bar, which highlights suggested contented from fashionable apps you use. You whitethorn spot tutorials connected YouTube oregon The Walking Dead from Google TV.
Given that Google has subsequently relaunched Google TV and find is astatine its heart, your Android TV whitethorn alternatively beryllium utilizing the Google TV furniture alternatively than the archetypal Android TV interface, but it's inactive conscionable arsenic casual to use.
Right astatine the apical of the interface you'll spot the hunt inferior powered by Google Assistant. Android TV supports dependable commands, arsenic agelong arsenic you person the indispensable hardware that'll let Android TV to perceive you. In fact, the full interface is based astir voice-activated searching, which you tin usage done one-click remotes with a built-in mic. Simply click connected it to commencement your search.
Supported dependable commands see simply stating a video crippled rubric ... oregon much analyzable searches similar "All the Oscar-winning movies from 1989". When you talk a search, Android TV volition not lone amusement you each related results successful Google Play but besides results from Netflix, Hulu, etc. When sifting done results, you'll announcement useful cards below. They incorporate informational bits similar who's who successful the movie you're astir to watch, different fashionable titles from the video crippled developer you're browsing, YouTube clips featuring the histrion you're looking at, etc.
Apps and content
Now, backmost to the vertical rows connected the location screen. The 2nd enactment is simply a database of featured apps, similar Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, BBC iPlayer, etc. On prime TVs and devices, you whitethorn besides spot the manufacturer's apps.
You'll besides spot a vertical enactment for TV inputs, similar HDMI 1 and HDMI 2, allowing you to easy power and power betwixt inputs, portion the vertical enactment beneath that showcases apps you've downloaded oregon person disposable connected your device, similar the Google Play Store, Music, Album, Movies and TV Google Play, etc. Click connected immoderate of these apps successful bid to browse and find much content.
You tin browse the afloat database of Android TV apps disposable here.
Below the Apps row, you'll spot a database of each the games you've downloaded. Android TV supports single-player, multi-player, online, and offline gaming. You tin usage up to 4 gamepads, Android phones, oregon tablets astatine erstwhile once competing against friends. You tin besides decorativeness a level connected your telephone and play the adjacent 1 connected your TV, arsenic Google Play Games saves your progress.
The past enactment connected the location surface isn't needfully a enactment but alternatively a dedication country wherever you tin click done to entree settings, timers, and assistance guides. If you participate the Settings option, you'll spot astute TV settings specified arsenic Channel Setup, External Inputs, Display, Sound, arsenic good arsenic Network and Accessories menus for Google Cast, Bluetooth (so you tin adhd a device), and System Preferences and what not.
One of the coolest features successful Android TV is the quality to usage it for casting. Android TV comes with Chromecast built-in.
If you don't ain an Android TV-compatible television, but privation to formed contented from your laptop oregon mobile instrumentality to your television, you request to bargain a Chromecast dongle from Google and plug it into your television. But not if you ain an Android TV-powered tv oregon set-top box. With one, you tin nonstop everything from movies and euphony oregon adjacent browser tabs to your television.
There's nary Chromecast dongle required. Just pat the Cast fastener connected your mobile app to commencement playing connected your TV.
What are the Android TV alternatives?
LG turned to WebOS successful 2014 for its TV interface connected its apical TVs and the results were excellent. Samsung, connected the different hand, has been pushing a level it's heavy invested in: Tizen. Either way, if you're aft a new, astute television, astir manufacturers service up their ain interfaces.
Another foe to Android TV is set-top boxes from the likes of Apple, Roku, and Amazon. While Roku devices effort beryllium neutral and service up entree to contented stores from Google and Amazon, Apple TV serves up Apple's ain goods chiefly and Amazon Fire TV devices besides heavy propulsion Amazon Prime Video and Amazon's ain services first.
Writing by Maggie Tillman. Editing by Chris Hall. Originally published connected 7 January 2015.