Android TV Overview Updated June 16, 2021

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754 'Android TV' stories

May 2011 - May 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 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.

Android TV Stories January 27

The Shield TV just got its Android TV 11 update last week, but in the time since many Shield TV owners have come out in frustration regarding various bugs surrounding the update. Now, Nvidia has confirmed it’s working with Google and Plex to patch these problems.

Update 1/27: Nvidia has made a hotfix for this update available. See below for more details.

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Android TV Stories January 18

The smart TV market continues to grow in size, and on a global scale, it’s a market that’s saturated with different operating systems for these various TVs and brands. In a new report, one market analyst says 2022 will be a “decisive” year for smart TVs, as Android TV OS and Roku compete.

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Android TV Stories January 17

Android TV 11 for Shield TV seems to cause issues with some apps and break Plex servers

The Nvidia Shield TV is perhaps the single best-supported Android device of all time, with models from 2015 and on getting updated to Android 11 earlier this month. However, it seems that Android 11 update is breaking Plex servers and causing other issues for some Shield TV owners.

Android TV Stories January 12

The Nvidia Shield TV has been the best Android TV box on the market for years, and this week Nvidia is continuing support for every single model it has ever released with the Android TV 11 update, rolling out now.

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Android TV Stories January 7

YouTube creator-backed service Nebula debuts an official Android TV app

Android TV is adding another popular service this week with the arrival of an official app for the service Nebula, which has been growing on content made by various YouTube creators.

Android TV Stories January 6

While Roku and Amazon’s Fire TV are often the first thing people think of when it comes to home entertainment platforms, Google’s Android TV OS is growing quickly. This week, Google has confirmed that Android TV and Google TV have over 110 million devices, among other details.

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Android TV Stories January 5

Google’s Fast Pair system allows Android users to easily connect their headphones to smartphones and tablets, and going into 2022 it’s expanding. Fast Pair is coming to Google TV and Android TV OS devices.

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Android TV Stories January 4

As Google TV takes over the company’s strategy for the living room, Hisense is joining the club as it transitions from Android TV to Google TV on its 2022 lineup. Here’s what’s coming.

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TCL sells over 10 million TVs with Android TV and Google TV in a year

Google’s ambitions in the living room felt stagnant for a while, but the past couple of years have shown a lot of attention paid to the TV, and it seems to be paying off. Alongside its CES announcements this week, TCL revealed that the company sells over 10 million TVs using Android TV and Google TV each year.

Android TV Stories December 23, 2021

[Update: December 2021] The best Android TV and Google TV devices you can buy today

Android TV OS provides the backbone for streamers of all kinds, with a growing app store and access to major streaming services including Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, and more alongside games both local and streaming from the cloud. Android TV is built into dozens of different TV models, but if you’ve already got a panel you’re happy with, there’s no reason to upgrade just for software. With a simple HDMI port, you can refresh your TV with Android TV powering the experience. Here are the best Android TV set-top boxes in 2021 you can do that with.

Android TV Stories December 16, 2021

‘Xiaomi TV Stick 4K’ goes official w/ Android TV 11 and the same storage limits as Chromecast

Xiaomi has been a relatively big partner for Google’s Android TV platform for the past few years, and today the company is launching another new streaming stick. The “Xiaomi TV Stick 4K” has Android TV 11 and a mid-range price, and it should go on sale pretty soon.

Shield TV’s Android TV 11 update shows up in recovery images as launch nears

Android TV 11 hasn’t rolled out to many devices, but it really looks like Nvidia is about to push the update to its Shield TV lineup. After two other leaks in recent memory, Nvidia briefly posted the recovery images for the Shield’s Android TV 11 update this week.

Android TV Stories December 8, 2021

Many Android TV devices don’t often get major upgrades, and the ones that do usually only get that level of support for a couple of years or so. Nvidia, however, is the exception to the rule with its Shield TV still being supported to this day, and it seems even the original model could be getting Android TV 11 very soon.

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Android TV Stories December 7, 2021

Security patches have proved a valuable tool for keeping Android devices secure, but Android TV OS devices are often an afterthought in this process. With a renewed interest in the platform with Google TV and the release of Android 12, Google will begin releasing security bulletins for Android TV OS.

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Android TV Stories December 6, 2021

The almost-absurdly cheap Android TV streaming devices from Walmart deliver a pretty solid experience on the whole and, to the retail giant’s credit, update support has been relatively good. This week, Walmart is rolling out a new update to its Android TV devices with a new security patch and better HDR handling.

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Android TV Stories December 1, 2021

Google’s Android TV platform is picking up steam with bigger commitments from the company itself as well as exciting new hardware releases. Now, Google is making it easier for those with an Android phone to install apps on their Android TV remotely.

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Following two generations of Android TV streaming boxes, Verizon is today launching a pair of soundbars based on the same OS. The Verizon Stream TV Soundbar and Soundbar Pro are now available for order – here’s what they bring to the table.

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Android TV Stories November 30, 2021

A bit behind its launch on smartphones, Android 12 has just officially launched on Android TV. Unfortunately, it’s unclear when it will actually arrive on consumer devices.

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Android TV Stories November 29, 2021

Google has said before that the TV is one of the biggest areas where YouTube is growing, and as such the company has been improving its YouTube app on smart TV platforms. This week, the YouTube app for TVs is changing how it handles playlists.

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Android TV Stories November 24, 2021

New Android TV, Chromecast with Google TV devices get six free months of Peacock Premium

NBC is giving away six free months of Peacock Premium to new owners of Android and Google TV devices in a long-running offer that will be available all of next year.

Android TV Stories November 22, 2021

TikTok is now available on Google TV, Android TV devices in the US and Canada

The short-form video app and global phenomenon TikTok is expanding further on Google TV and Android TV, bringing the app to users in the US and Canada.

Android TV Stories November 19, 2021

YouTube on Android TV and Google TV devices are now seeing a limited rollout of autoplay video previews for all content on site.

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Android TV Stories November 15, 2021

With retail’s biggest day of the year around the corner, Roku has just announced its new “Roku LE,” a super-affordable streaming device that’s designed just for Black Friday.

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Android TV Stories November 9, 2021

As promised last month, the Google Home app now features a built-in remote to control your Android/Google TV. Starting on Android, you no longer have to use the Google TV app or the included physical remote to control your television.

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Android TV Stories November 8, 2021

You can now buy the Google TV reference remote separately for any Android TV device

The Google G10 reference remote is due to arrive on more Android TV devices, but sadly it’s not sold officially as a universal replacement. Luckily, there’s a way to buy it without wasting money on an entire additional streamer, as Mecool is selling its Google TV G10 remote on its own, and it works as an excellent replacement remote for virtually any Android TV device.

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