Skip to main content

Google officially announces Android TV

Google already began its invasion into home theater with the launch of the Chromecast, but it’s not done with Google TV yet. Rebranded, the company officially announced “Android TV” during the Google I/O 2014 Keynote.

Android TV is the spiritual successor to Google TV, Google’s attempt to integrate smartphone-style features into a television’s user interface. Similar to Google TV, Android TV will run on hardware as opposed to the set-top box model of the Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, or Roku. Android TV’s interface is reminiscent of the look of most current set-top systems, though overlays and navigation seem more universally consistent. Android TV will also support Google Cast, allowing it to function just like Chromecast.

The new approach to the project will run on Android L. Google stated Android TV “isn’t a new platform, that’s the point. It’s the same thing as phones and tablets.” The integration between Android devices was put on display during the demonstration, with an Android TV app on an Android smartphone and the ability to control the TV through an Android Wear watch. All that is required to control the Android TV, though, is a D-pad with voice input.

android-TV_0174
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Voice activated search will be an integral part of the new interface. Google says it has built core functionality directly by voice from Android phones to allow users to easily search for their favorite content. Proven by the short demo, users will be able to easily find episodes of their favorite shows, look up actors and background information, and even find Youtube clips by voice. The platform is also designed to leverage Google’s knowledge graph to allow users to ask full questions in content search like “What is Jennifer Lawrence in?”

An additional emphasis was placed on gaming on the Android TV system, similar to Amazon’s approach to its Fire TV platform. A supported gamepad was used to play several different games. The titles appeared to be Android titles, not necessarily designed for the big screen. Android TVs will come with a game controller and will offer multiplayer gaming through the Google Play Games network.

The Android TV platform will be open in the fall of 2014, alongside the launch of Android L. The 2015 HD and 4K smart TV offerings from companies including Phillips, Sharp, TP Vision, and Sony will run on Android TV. Razer and Asus have been tapped to create set-top boxes running Android TV that will focus on the gaming experience. 

Editors' Recommendations

AJ Dellinger
AJ Dellinger is a freelance reporter from Madison, Wisconsin with an affinity for all things tech. He has been published by…
Google TV adds even more free TV to its live guide
Google TV live guide.

For all the attention the Streaming Wars get — and most of that is misguided — free TV is still huge in a world of Netflix and Disney+. And so it's of little surprise to see Google TV today announcing the addition of Tubi, Plex, and Haystack News to its Live tab, giving what it says are more than 800 channels of free TV, all in one place.

They join Pluto TV, which already was integrated, as well as news channels from NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox.

Read more
Android 13 is now available for Android TV
The Android TV interface on a TV.

Google today announced that Android 13 is now available for the Android TV operating system. It "brings further improvements in performance and accessibility to help our developers build engaging apps for the next generation of TVs." So there's that.

As is always the case with OS updates, it's all about the APIs. Those generally are for the developers to care about, but they're also what bring new features for the end user.

Read more
7 Android TV tips and tricks to maximize your TV time
Watchlist content on homepage Android TV.

Watching TV is one of the most common ways to decompress and enjoy your time off. Android TVs can take this experience to the next level by offering on-demand streaming, customization, personalized recommendations, and even video games. Plus, new features are always being added to enhance your experience, so there's always something more to discover.

To make sure you're not missing out on some of these cool features, we've rounded up the best Android TV tips and tricks you can try. Most of these are fairly easy, so you don't need a lot of technical knowledge, nor do you have to hunker down with a boring manual to get started.

Read more