Android TV Overview Updated June 16, 2021

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778 'Android TV' stories

May 2011 - November 2022

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The living room has always been a goal for Google and, following the success of its ultra-cheap Chromecast streaming dongle, the company launched a special version of Android designed for the TV which is still in use today.

What is Android TV?

Android TV is the core platform for Google’s efforts on the big screen. Based on Android, the optimized interface was first released at Google I/O 2014 for devices such as the Nexus Player. As the platform grew and more apps arrived, it was adopted by some TV manufacturers, most notably including Sony which adopted the platform on its Bravia TVs in 2015 and has used it ever since.

In 2017, Google issued a complete redesign to the platform that made it easier to access apps, added a useful “Play Next” row for quickly jumping into content, and customizable rows powered by apps on the device. Google stuck with that design, pictured below, until 2021 when a tweaked homescreen experience was rolled out to implement a few features from the Google TV experience. It was the year prior, in 2020, that Google sparked some controversy by adding “Cinematic Highlights” to the top of the Android TV homescreen with “Staff Picks” and also sponsored content advertisements that couldn’t be disabled. That update was rolled out to nearly every device using the consumer version of the platform.

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Android TV also allows for Pay TV operators to customize the interface to fit their needs using the “Operator Tier.” This special offering gives cable companies and others the ability to craft their own homescreen experience while integrating features such as Google Assistant and the Play Store. 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.

At Google I/O 2021, the company announced that Android TV OS has over 80 million active devices in use today with exceptional growth in the United States especially. Further announcements at the event included an Android 12 Beta, a long-overdue replacement to the phone-based remote, and support for “Stream Transfer” and “Stream Expansion” too.

What apps are available on Android TV?

Apps on Android TV are available through the Google Play Store, and as of 2021, most major services offer an experience on the platform. Notable names include; Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Spotify, Paramount+, and many others.

As of 2019, Google said that there were over 5,000 apps on the Play Store designed for Android TV, a number that has only grown in the two years since. The boom of streaming services also saw Google’s platform as a destination of choice. When HBO Max and Peacock struggled to launch on Roku and Fire TV, they were available on day one on the Play Store. In May 2021, Apple TV expanded availability to all Android TV devices and, in late June, Google’s own Stadia game streaming service is set to be released on the platform.

Helping to plug the gap, too, is support for Google Chromecast integration. Every device running Google’s platform effectively has a Chromecast built-in, allowing users to cast content from their phones on supported apps, or even mirror their screens entirely. 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.

What devices use Android TV?

On the consumer level, this platform can often be found in set-top boxes and built into full-size TVs. Some of names that use Android TV natively in their panels include:

  • TCL
  • Sony
  • Hisense
  • Xiaomi
  • OnePlus
  • Skyworth
  • Philips

Beyond full-size TVs, though, there are plenty of set-top boxes and dongles that also use the platform. Google, for instance, sells the Chromecast with Google TV for $50. There’s also the flagship Nvidia Shield TV that features 4K AI upscaling and powerful specs starting at $149. The Xiaomi Mi Box S, Mi TV Stick, and many others also use the platform. The most affordable Android TV device to date comes from Walmart, with the retailer now selling a $25 streaming stick and a $30 streaming box.

You can learn about the latest from Google’s platform in our continued coverage below.

Android TV Stories Yesterday

Getting a high-quality 4K video projector is easier than it has been in recent years thanks to options like the Xgimi Horizon 4K Pro, which offers a full suite of features in a fairly compact package.

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Android TV Stories November 21

Over the past few years, Google has been transitioning to Android App Bundles as part of modernizing development practices. In May of 2023, App Bundles that support archiving will be required for Android/Google TV devices.

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Android TV Stories November 18

Raspberry Pi can already run Android TV 13 – Chromecast only got Android 12 a few weeks ago

The Raspberry Pi is a super-affordable machine that can handle a ton of different use cases, and now it’s also one of the first devices that you can install Android TV 13 on, though it’s not particularly easy to do.

Android TV Stories November 17

YouTube for Android TV is now receiving a fresh new startup or splash loading screen when launching the app from cold.

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Android TV Stories November 15

Sky’s Now TV streaming service arrives on Android TV and Google TV

Sky has just brought its Now TV streaming service to Android TV and Google TV with an official app.

Android TV Stories November 7

Walmart’s super-cheap Android TV streamers suddenly can’t be purchased online

Walmart joined the Android TV game back in mid-2021 with the release of two incredibly cheap streamers that actually held up pretty well. Suddenly, though, it’s become much harder to buy Walmart’s Android TV streamers, as online sales have disappeared.

Android TV Stories October 27

As it continues to face intense scrutiny for its practices with Android partners, Google has just struck a new deal with Amazon that will allow Android partners to produce Amazon Fire TVs.

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Android TV Stories October 25

Google is beginning to reveal the improvements coming to Android phones, TVs, watches, and more as part of the October 2022 Google Play system updates, including a fix for using Google Wallet with Face Unlock on the Pixel 7

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Android TV Stories October 24

At the Android Dev Summit, Google announced the latest improvements to Jetpack Compose including stable Material You (Material Design 3) components, Android TV apps, and a lot more.

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Android TV Stories October 20

Android 12 is finally available for Chromecast with Google TV (4K) and available out of the box on the HD model too. But it’s an update that doesn’t bring a ton of user-facing features. One addition in Android 12 for Chromecast with Google TV is frame rate matching, but in its current state, it’s not all that useful.

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Android TV Stories October 12

YouTube for Android TV is rolling out new tweaks to the player UI that have more than a hint of Material You.

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Android TV Stories September 16

Android TV and Google TV have doubled new TV shipments in Europe

Google’s efforts to take over the living room have grown considerably over the past several years, and it seems the platform is continuing to pick up steam. According to a new report, Android TV and Google TV have doubled shipments in Europe over the past three years.

Android TV Stories September 1

Android TV gets a new competitor as ‘TiVo OS’ aims for smart TVs [U]

TiVo is a name best known for its DVR back in the early 2000s, but in recent years, the company has moved on to streaming with the TiVo Stream 4K based on Google’s Android TV platform, which hit the market in 2020. Now, though, TiVo has revealed plans to move into proper smart TVs, competing with Google’s Android TV.

Android TV Stories August 9

Walmart’s ultra-cheap Android TV streamers get another security update

By far the most cost-effective way to jump into the world of Android TV is with Walmart’s shockingly good pair of Onn streamers, and this week there’s yet another update headed out to those devices to improve security.

Android TV Stories August 8

Google TV has been on the market for almost two years at this point but has seen only a few major features added in that time. Now, just days after we reported on free live TV channels coming to Google TV, a new report reveals Google’s plans to bring Nest Audio support and integration with Fitbit and Wear OS to the platform.

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Android TV Stories August 5

After first being reported nearly a year ago, Google TV is now making tangible progress toward launching 50 channels worth of free, ad-supported streaming content, and we have your first look at the channel list.

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Android TV Stories August 3

According to a support page, Google seems to be planning another update for its Chromecast with Google TV dongle to arrive sometime in August.

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Android TV Stories July 21

Disney+ update breaks Dolby Atmos support on Android TV and Google TV for some

Disney+ has quickly become a staple for many with compelling original content and a huge back catalog of Marvel, Star Wars, and of course, Disney content. With the latest updates to Disney+ on Android TV, though, the app has apparently broken Dolby Atmos support.

Android TV Stories July 18

Amazon Prime Video may be one of the biggest streaming services out there, but its interface has also long lagged behind the competition when it comes to usability. Now, the Amazon Prime Video app is getting a massive redesign on Google TV and other platforms.

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Android TV Stories July 8

How to control your Android TV using the Google Home app

Android TV and Google TV are great options for streaming media, playing cloud-based games, or even turning your TV into a virtual fireplace. Ok, well, mostly the first two. But did you know that you can use your phone as a remote control for your Android TV/Google TV? Here’s how.

Android TV Stories June 30

Nvidia Shield TV owners are in for another update, with the Shield Experience 9.1 upgrade bringing support for an automatic low-latency mode, nighttime audio, and more.

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Android TV Stories June 16

YouTube TV gets 5.1 surround sound with latest app update on Android TV and Google TV

Earlier this month, Google announced that its YouTube TV service would finally be rolling out support for 5.1 surround sound on more platforms. Now, the surround sound update is actually rolling out to Android TV and Google TV with the latest YouTube TV app.

Last year’s Hisense U8G is a stellar TV, but its latest update on top of Android TV has been causing issues with audio cutouts. Thankfully, there’s a fix on its way.

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Android TV Stories June 13

Xiaomi has expanded its growing Android TV set-top box lineup with the addition of the Mi Box 4S Max, which offers sizeable storage and RAM upgrades over its rivals.

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Android TV Stories May 30

Today Xiaomi announced its very first set of Amazon Fire TV smart TVs, with a trio of options hitting the market. It’s now the second Google partner for Android TV OS to adopt the Fire TV platform in under a month.

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Android TV Stories May 17

Google’s Android TV has long been competing for its place in the market, and in the United States it primarily goes against Roku and Amazon’s Fire TV. Most Android TV and Google TV partners also sell Roku models, but they’ve never mixed in with Fire TV. That changes now, as Hisense has launched its first Amazon Fire TV model.

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Android TV Stories May 12

As Google has put more of its weight behind streaming in the living room, Android TV OS has seen considerable growth. This week as part of Google I/O 2022, Google has revealed that Android TV now has over 10,000 apps.

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After quietly launching the first beta update earlier this month, Google is taking to I/O to announce a few more details on the Android TV 13 update.

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Android TV Stories May 6

Earlier this week, Google started beta testing Android 13 for Android TV. Similar to previous years, a system image is available for the ADT-3 Developer Kit.

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Android TV Stories April 21

[Update: It’s dead] CNN+ launches today, won’t be available on Android TV and Google TV

CNN+ is launching today as a premium streaming service on top of the major news network, with additional original programming and more. Unfortunately, CNN+ is launching without an app for Google TV and Android TV.

Android TV Stories April 18

At the beginning of April, Netflix released a new interactive show to live among the mostly forgotten interactive series category. The new addition called Trivia Quest is based on Trivia Crack and sets out to do the same thing: test your ability to remember random facts and information. Here’s how you can play it on Netflix with Android TV.

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Android TV Stories April 14

HBO Max launched amid the pandemic with a great library and the perk of same-day theatrical releases for a while, but it was notorious for slow performance and bugs. Now, as its revamped app has been made available on Android TV, Apple TV, and elsewhere, HBO Max is owning up to that rough start.

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Android TV Stories April 12

Shield TV gets 9.0.2 update on top of Android 11 w/ fixes for controller pairing, storage notifications

After a rocky start, Nvidia is improving its Android 11 update for Shield TV, and today another update is rolling out in the form of Shield Experience 9.0.2.

Android TV Stories April 8

Walmart’s cheap Android TV streamer picks up new update w/ February security patch

The most affordable Android devices are usually the most neglected when it comes to updates, but Walmart’s Android TV streamers seem to be the exception. Another update is now rolling out to Walmart’s Onn Android TV device with the February 2022 security patch and more.

Android TV Stories April 4

TCL has been one of the fastest-growing brands in the TV industry, largely thanks to the success of its Roku TVs and, to a lesser extent, its Android TV OS lineup. According to a new report, TCL is now set to surpass LG in TV production.

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Android TV Stories March 26

[U: Fixed] YouTube Music casting is currently broken on Chromecast, Google TV, Android TV devices

It seems that Google’s music service, YouTube Music, is currently experiencing issues with casting music to Chromecast, Google TV, and Android TV devices.

Android TV Stories March 24

Android 12 is one of the platform’s most meaningful updates for the big screen in a while, but despite its early start, it hasn’t shown up on any devices. In a new blog post published this week, Google has confirmed that Android TV 12 will be available on devices this year.

Update: Google has updated the blog post to say that Android TV 12 won’t debut until “later” this year, retracting the earlier mention of “early.”

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Android TV Stories March 21

It’s been over a year since Apple TV arrived on Google TV and later on the wider Android TV platform, but something has changed in recent weeks. Suddenly, the Apple TV app for Android/Google TV is no longer able to buy content.

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Android TV Stories March 14

Android TV 11 comes to third-gen Amazon Fire TV w/ unofficial LineageOS 18.1 builds

Thanks to an unofficial build of LineageOS 18.1, the latest Android TV 11 builds can be sideloaded onto third-generation Amazon Fire TV hardware.

Android TV Stories February 24

Following Android, Google Home for iOS is now starting to roll out the ability to remote control your Chromecast with Google TV from your phone. Version 2.48 also makes tweaks to Google Wifi stats and graphs.

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Android TV Stories February 15

The Nvidia Shield TV series has easily become the collection of Android devices with the best update history, but the recent upgrade to Android TV 11 brought with it some major bugs. Now, Nvidia is rolling out the 9.0.1 update for Shield TV that fixes the most common issues.

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Walmart’s Onn Android TV streamer gets another update w/ January 2022 security patch

Super-affordable Android devices are not hard to find, but all too often they’re essentially abandoned immediately with very few updates. Last year, Walmart debuted the most affordable Android TV streamers ever under its Onn brand, and yet another update that delivers the latest January 2022 security patch.

Android TV Stories February 13

Today, the Bengals and NFC North champs go head to horn against the Rams in the NFC West. Super Bowl LVI is going to be a big game, and possibly one of the most exciting Super Bowls in a while. So how do you watch it? This guide will get you exactly where you need to be to watch Super Bowl LVI on Google TV, Android TV, and Android devices.

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Android TV Stories February 8

Google’s Android TV OS is a new area of focus for the company, with the Google TV experience taking over on more TVs and heading to more brands. Thanks to new analyst data, we can see that Google’s efforts are paying off, as Android TV appears to be the fastest-growing TV platform as of Q4 2021, but its share in North America is still weak.

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Android TV Stories February 4

Android TV is an incredible entertainment OS at the very heart of many TV, projector, and home theater setups for millions across the globe. Android TV and by extension the new Google TV overhaul for selected devices is great as-is, but with just a few apps, it can be even better.

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Android TV Stories February 3

Vevo launches dedicated app for watching music videos on Android TV and Google TV

Officially available as of today, Vevo is launching its huge network of music videos to Google TV and Android TV in a new app.

Android TV Stories February 2

Google TV launched in 2020 with the goal of replacing the Android TV experience entirely within a couple of years. As the clock ticks away, more brands are getting on board with the Google TV experience, including long-time partner Philips.

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Android TV Stories January 31

Google and Deutsche Telekom bring Messages RCS, new Android TV box to Germany 

Google and Deutsche Telekom today announced an “expanded partnership” that covers RCS, Android TV, and cloud. On the consumer-facing front, Telekom Germany users will be getting access to RCS, while there’s a new MagentaTV One streaming device.

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