While Android 12 builds have been available for Android TV for months now, there have been no visible changes to the platform to date. Today, though, Google has finally detailed what’s new in Android TV 12, most notably delivering long-overdue support for 4K UI rendering.
In a blog post this afternoon, Google talks about the biggest changes coming to the Android TV OS platform with the Android 12 update, which, currently, is only available to the ADT-3 developer dongle.
The biggest change coming to the platform in this update is support for 4K UI elements. Since its launch in 2014, Android TV and, in turn, Google TV have always rendered the homescreen and apps at 1080p, only switching the signal to 4K when content starts playing. In Android TV 12, UI elements will be able to render at 4K on “compatible devices.” Google says this higher resolution can be tested within the Android TV emulator, too.
Another app-centric feature coming in Android TV 12 is support for background blur both in-app and across windows. You can see what that looks like in action here.
On the content side of things, Google detailed three main changes that will be present in Android TV 12. This includes improvements to Refresh Rate Switching with support for both seamless and non-seamless switching. TVs will also be able to better report display modes which will make HDMI hotplug events easier for developers. Android’s “Tunnel Mode” will also make it “even easier for app developers to support consistent and efficient playback across devices by reducing media processing overhead in the Android Framework.”
Rounding out the announcements, Google will bring some of the privacy changes present in Android 12 on phones to TVs. This includes the use of camera/microphone indicators when apps access these sensors. A microphone icon is already used in Google TV, but in Android TV 12, it will include a bright green icon in the top corner. Toggles will also be available in the Settings menu to disable camera and microphone access for all apps. Finally, Google will bring Device Attestation to Android TV to “assure that your application is running on certified and authentic hardware, the Android KeyStore API has been extended to support attestation of basic device properties.”
These changes are present in Android TV 12 Beta 3, which is available now for the ADT-3 developer dongle.
More on Android TV:
- Hands on: Google’s reference designs set a delightful standard for Android TV remotes
- Stadia for Android TV: Are all devices the same, and how do Bluetooth controllers work?
- Google TV app update offers latest look at upcoming on-phone remote
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