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Android TV is getting a few notable updates at Google I/O this week. Alongside the beta for Android 12 and the overdue replacement for the ancient Android TV remote app, Google is expanding two useful features to Android TV, officially. “Stream Transfer” and “Stream Expansion” speaker groups are coming to Android TV devices.

“Stream Transfer” allows users to command Assistant devices to send a music stream to another device in their home. While playing music on a Nest Hub Max, for example, a user could say, “Hey Google, move the music to my bedroom speaker,” and the command would work. The feature rolled out widely in October 2019.

Now, Stream Transfer commands will work with Android TV devices. So, in the same scenario, a command such as, “Hey Google, move the music to the living room Chromecast” would transfer the stream to your TV. This applies not just to the Chromecast, but all Android TV and Google TV devices such as TVs from Sony and Hisense.

Alongside Stream Transfer, “Stream Expansion” is also coming to Android TV. While that name might not sound familiar, the functionality arrived in mid-2020. Better known as a “temporary Speaker Group,” this functionality allows users to add devices to an ongoing stream on the fly. The group is discarded as soon as the stream is done, but it’s a handy way to get music going through your entire home when you want to use specific speakers in that moment. Speaker groups were made available to Android TV in 2020 ahead of the debut of the new Chromecast, but these temporary speaker groups were not available until now.

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Ben Schoon

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