Android TV is a version of the Android platform which has been modified by Google to run on televisions with native applications. The platform was first launched at Google I/O 2014 and has since been updated several times, receiving a complete redesign in 2017.
Google has also built its Chromecast platform into Android TV, helping to bring more apps to the platform. As of 2019, though, over 5,000 apps have been brought to the platform with more arriving on a regular basis. Big names such as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and many others all have native applications. Most recently, Amazon Prime Video joined the ranks with wider availability of its app.
The Android TV homescreen running on a JBL Link Bar
Google Assistant is also integrated into Android TV with visual responses, tie-ins with certain apps, and control over playback. Some devices such as the JBL Link Bar even support Assistant as a traditional speaker or with always listening options on devices such as the Nvidia Shield TV.
On the consumer level, this platform can often be found in set-top boxes and built into full-size TVs. Popular set-top boxes include the Nvidia Shield TV and Xiaomi Mi Box S, while major TV makers such as Sony and Hisense often release models using it. These devices differ wildly in price and quality, but the software experience is largely the same on all of them.
Recommended Android TV devices:
- Nvidia Shield TV ($199)
- Xiaomi Mi Box S ($59)
- Sony X900F Series ($899+)
- Hisense 50H8F ($329)
- JBL Link Bar ($399)
Google Assistant integration on Android TV
Another major source of growth for Android TV is the platform’s Operator Tier. While this won’t be found on the majority of consumer devices, Pay TV operators such as TiVo, AT&T, and others have used this option to create customized experiences for their customers, further extending the reach of the platform.
Google is expected to debut its own Android TV device in 2020 with a refreshed version of the Chromecast Ultra. 9to5Google exclusively first reported on the device which has yet to debut. Further reporting on the subject also revealed that the platform might be due for another redesign alongside the new hardware.
You can learn about the latest from Google’s platform in our continued coverage below.