Google TV Overview Updated September 17, 2021

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146 'Google TV' stories

July 2011 - September 2021

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Building on the company’s work to get on the big screen in every living room, Google TV delivers a new experience that’s remote-centric and built around keeping all of your content in one place.

What is Google TV?

Not to be confused with the 2010 release of the same name, Google TV is a platform built for smart TVs, set-top boxes, and streaming dongles. It runs native applications and also supports the Google Cast standard.

Google TV isn’t as simple as the well-known Chromecast that’s been on the market for years. Rather, it’s an Android-based platform built on top of the foundation laid out by Android TV. That means it arrives with support for thousands of apps and some really useful features, as well as being a super flexible platform that allows you to do things that the likes of Roku, Fire TV, and Apple TV just don’t.

The platform’s core focus is streaming, and Google’s killer feature is the ability to put all of your favorite content in one central location. Google will ask what streaming services you currently use and pull the directory from each one that it supports, a list that includes over 30 total services. We’ve also reported on Google TV preparing support for multiple user profiles, but that functionality hasn’t yet debuted.

First, searching for content on Google TV shows you everywhere it’s available. That might include in Google’s own store — formerly known as Play Movies — but it can also include Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+, and many other services. Through my time using the Chromecast so far, I’ve actually found this extremely useful. There are movies on my list that I had no clue were available on HBO Max. Get On Up starring the late Chadwick Boseman is just one example.

The second way that Google TV helps you find your way through all of these content sources is by putting your watchlist in a single location. Let’s say a new movie or show catches your attention. You can add it to your watchlist directly from the Chromecast or from Google Search via the web. In both cases, that means you’ll see that piece of content added to your list 

Google TV also integrates features such as Google Assistant heavily into the platform.

What apps are available on Google TV?

You’ll download apps to Google TV devices from the Play Store. The Android apps are optimized for use with a remote control and include a range of different options from streaming to workouts to music to games. Major services are all available, too, including Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Peacock, Paramount+, and more. As of 2021, Google has over 8,000 apps available for its platform.

How is it different from Android TV?

At face value, Google TV and Android TV are fairly similar platforms, and behind the scenes, that’s a message that’s only enforced. The newer platform is built on top of “Android TV OS,” which is the same platform that powers the “standard” Android TV we see on older devices such as the Nvidia Shield TV, Mi Box, and others.

Another useful feature on the launch is the integration of live TV services. YouTube TV started this feature, showing its guide directly on the homescreen under the “Live” tab. In June 2021, Google expanded this feature to one of its main competitors, Sling TV.

Google TV isn’t just a new launcher on top of Android TV, though. There are modifications to the operating system to provide a cohesive design and enable some new features even though, overall, the platforms are very similar. Google mentioned in May 2021 that this newer experience puts a bigger emphasis on app quality.

At Google I/O 2021, Google announced that both platforms combined have over 80 million active devices around the world, a big increase from just a year prior. Most of that growth was inside of the US as well, a key market for the company’s new Chromecast streaming device. At the same even, Google announced a revamped phone-based remote that’s going to be built into Android phones and the Google TV app. As of September 2021, that update seems to be right around the corner.

Where can I use Google TV?

Google TV was first made available on the latest generation of the popular Chromecast dongle. The 2020 release cost $50 and runs the Android-based OS out of the box. In early 2021, it remains the only way to use this platform, but it won’t stay that way for long.

chromecast google tv remote

TV manufacturers and other set-top-box makers will also be able to use Google TV on their devices. That kicked off with Sony opening up sales in early 2021. On the more affordable end of the spectrum, TCL is also now selling 4K TVs with Google TV on board, and even has plans to launch a super-sized 8K model.

Another big partner for Google, Hisense, recently confirmed it has no immediate plans for Google TV and instead will stick with the older Android TV experience. Samsung also has no plans for the platform.

By 2022, Google will phase out Android TV as a consumer platform, pushing more devices to debut with the updated interface. Android TV will still exist, but only in limited places such as Pay TV devices.

You can read the latest coverage on Google’s platform below.

Google TV Stories Yesterday

Google TV’s in-app remote that arrived earlier this week begins working after an update on Android TV devices.

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Google TV Stories September 23

After leaving its original Android TV remote app to waste for years, Google is finally remedying the situation. Following a false start yesterday, the Google TV app remote is now available, and the app is coming to more countries too.

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Google TV Stories September 22

The Google TV app on Android has gained an in-app remote for some, but unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to work just yet.

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Google TV Stories September 19

Google TV integrates with over 30 streaming services, here’s the full list [U]

Perhaps the most useful thing about the new Google TV platform is the ability to aggregate and organize content from a variety of different sources. Which ones, though? Here’s a full list of streaming services that Google TV supports at launch.

Google TV Stories September 17

Arguably the best part of Google TV is its ability to find the content on various streaming services so you can easily find where to stream the TV show or movie you want to watch. Now, the library of streaming services supported by Google TV is expanding, this time with Crunchyroll.

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Google TV Stories September 16

Google TV is built as a content delivery vehicle for the various streaming apps out there now including Disney+, Netflix, HBO Max, and others, but it seems Google might have loftier ambitions. According to a new report, Google TV is set to add free channels baked directly into the platform.

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The latest update to the Google TV app, in many areas still known as Play Movies & TV, gives us our best look yet at the upcoming phone-based remote for Android TV devices.

Update: As of version 4.28, we’re now able to preview the Quick Settings tile for the Google TV app’s upcoming remote.

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Google TV Stories September 13

The next generation of Android TV, Google TV, is currently limited to just a few major countries, but the platform’s biggest growth potential is in other parts of the world. Now, it seems that Google TV could expand to India on a new piece of hardware.

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Google TV Stories September 8

TCL just unveiled its first batch of televisions with Google TV built in last month, but now the collection is expanding. Today, TCL is introducing the X9, a huge 85-inch TV with Google TV, mini-LED, and more for a whopping $9,999.

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Google TV Stories August 26

Following the feature’s introduction earlier this year, Google TV is adding another “Watch With Me” list. This time around, the Google TV section will focus on favorites from comedian Hasan Minhaj.

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Google TV Stories August 10

Report: Android TV has made ‘strong gains,’ smart TVs could be in 50% of global households in 5 years

Google has had a renewed interest in the TV market over the past year or two, and it seems those efforts are paying off. A new report projects the growth of smart TVs over the next few years and notes that Android TV has made “strong gains.”

Google TV came to life on last year’s Chromecast, then expanded to Sony’s pretty-darn-expensive Bravia TVs earlier this year. Now, though, the platform is coming to something more affordable. TCL is bringing several Google TV models to market this month, and I’ve had to chance to check them out in person.

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TCL is best known for its Roku TVs here in the US, but the company has also been selling Android TV models for the past year or so here, and for a while now internationally. Today, TCL is launching its first TVs using Google TV.

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Google TV Stories August 7

Marvel pushing Shang-Chi on Android TV w/ one of the first ads for content you can’t watch

Google has raised some controversy over the past year or two with the wide rollout of “Cinematic Highlights” for recommended content on the homescreen of Android TV and Google TV. These ads are generally for content from various streaming services, including Disney+, HBO Max, and more. However, an ad from Marvel on the Android TV homescreen is also one of the first ads for something you can’t actually watch.

Google TV Stories August 4

The arrival of Google TV has pushed the direction of Android TV, for better or for worse. Following a redesign based on Google TV earlier this year, more features are coming over to Android TV, including support for the watchlist and more.

Update 8/4: This feature is now rolling out widely.

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Google TV Stories July 30

How to make Chromecast with Google TV feel a bit faster [Gallery]

The Chromecast with Google TV is a great, affordable streamer with some awesome software, but its low-cost nature lends itself well to the device feeling super slow at times. Luckily, there are a couple of easy tweaks you can make to help keep it feeling quick.

The Google TV Setup app has quietly arrived on the Play Store, even though it comes pre-installed on devices such as the Chromecast with Google TV.

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Google TV Stories July 29

Cloud gaming is expanding in huge ways right now, and Android TV saw a big release there last month with the debut of Google’s Stadia platform on Android TV and Google TV devices. Xbox Game Pass, despite supporting Android, hasn’t supported Android TV since its launch, but it seems that may be changing.

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Google TV Stories July 27

Ahead of the launch of an in-app remote that’s due for some time soon, the Google TV app for Android is getting some updates in the coming days. Starting this week, the app will add support for searching for on-demand content from YouTube TV and other providers as well as some visual updates to the Google TV app.

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Google TV Stories July 22

Google TV is gaining a dedicated 2020 Tokyo Olympics page in the For You tab

Just in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to begin on Friday, Google TV is gaining a page dedicated to helping you watch the games.

Google TV Stories July 20

The Chromecast with Google TV launched last year with a special bundle offer that delivered six months of Netflix access and the device for a cut cost, and now a similar offer is launching with HBO Max.

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Google TV Stories July 19

Google TV rolling out the ability to hide movies, shows from ‘Continue watching’ row

Android TV is set to receive even more features from Google TV in the near future, but the reverse is now also set to happen. The Google TV “Continue watching” carousel will soon let you “Hide” content.

Apple TV app gets an Android TV update, hopefully to squash widespread HDR, crashing issues

As its subscription-based streaming service pushes forward, Apple brought its Apple TV app to Android TV earlier this year, with support for originals and your iTunes library. As great as that was, though, the Apple TV app on Android has been plagued by a list of issues that could even crash the app.

Google TV Stories July 16

Android 12 has brought a ton of new changes to smartphones, as we’ve detailed over the past few months. However, Android TV and Google TV are known for providing most updates independent of system versions. In Android TV 12 Beta 3, though, there are a few minor tweaks to Google TV and Android. Here’s what we’ve found.

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Google TV Stories July 14

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.

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Google TV Stories July 10

Owners of the Chromecast with Google TV have begun to see recommendations for Stadia games on the “For you” tab, suggesting deeper integration between the gaming service and Google’s streaming box.

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Google TV Stories July 9

Google TV lets you like or dislike content in order to fine-tune homescreen recommendations. Last year, Google introduced an on-TV page to quickly improve recommendations, but it’s broken in a key way.

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Google TV Stories July 2

Live TV streaming services are incredibly popular nowadays, and one of the better options out there is FuboTV. The service has been supported on Android TV for a while now, but this week, support has quietly been extended to allow Google TV to better integrate with FuboTV’s library.

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Google TV Stories July 1

Google TV is all about curated content recommendations, often cycling out rows of curated content around upcoming franchises or events. Now, Google TV is adding a new “Watch with Me” row that will see celebrities recommending their favorites.

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One of the big benefits of Google TV is its ability to dig through the catalogs of various streaming services and allow you to search for content from everywhere in one place. Unfortunately, though, the directory Google TV uses for Paramount+ appears to be acting up at the moment.

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Google TV Stories June 25

One aspect of Google TV, and recent updates to Android TV, that fans haven’t been happy about is the addition of ads in the home screen. These ads on Google TV have now taken another intrusive step as they begin to autoplay a video right on your home screen.

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Google TV Stories June 23

TV remotes can end up being a deeply personal thing and the design matters. Some remotes feel cheap in the hand or have buttons that don’t feel nice to press. Others are too thin and have stupid navigation methods and take 6 years to replace with one that’s still too expensive. As Android TV expands, it’s an issue that Google is attempting to curb by setting a standard with the G10 and G20 reference remotes. After using them for a bit, I think they’re a delightful standard for manufacturers to use.

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Google TV Stories June 21

Chromecast with Google TV gets a much more prominent Apps search bar

The last software update for the Chromecast with Google TV earlier this month added the underlying support needed for Stadia, as well as other tweaks and bug fixes. Google TV on the Chromecast now has a much more obvious search field for applications.

Google TV Stories June 17

After expanding to Sony earlier this year, the next big name is about to join the Google TV train. Apparently, TCL is preparing to launch its batch of Google TV panels sometime in the next two months.

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Google TV Stories June 10

Google’s efforts with Android TV OS seem to finally be in gear with new hardware, Google TV, and more. As the platform expands, the YouTube app for Android TV has just passed 100 million installs.

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Google TV Stories June 7

For live TV streaming customers, one of the best parts of Google TV is its homescreen guide. However, that “Live” tab has, to date, only worked with YouTube TV. Now, Google TV is adding homescreen integration for Sling TV.

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Google TV Stories June 1

Google TV appears to be getting ready to support separate profiles on its home page, complete with tailored recommendations.

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Google TV Stories May 24

While I/O 2021 is over, Google today released a pair of interesting talks about “Getting your app ready for Google TV” focused on integrations. One highlight was a comparison between Android and Google TV.

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Google TV Stories May 21

Google appears to be rolling out an A/B test to some Android TV users that updates the YouTube app with a new video player that can access the video description, adds new channel shortcuts, and more.

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Google and Samsung announced a major collaboration that brought the “best of Tizen” to a revamped Wear OS. While Samsung is saying goodbye to Tizen in its wearables as a whole, the company isn’t ready to move away from the platform in its TVs.

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Google TV Stories May 20

Google now has a dedicated ‘Google TV Community Forum’ for questions and support

Google TV launched last year on the new Chromecast, and it’s now being integrated into more televisions. As those sets launch, a dedicated Google TV Community Forum is now available for user questions and support. 

Google TV Stories May 19

Android TV has seen hefty growth over the past few years, recently with a big boost in the United States. Helping to lead that charge is Android TV built into smart TVs. As Google TV takes over, we’re still waiting to find out who will and won’t adopt it. As far as Hisense goes, the company tells us it’s “happy” with Android TV as it stands with no immediate plans for Google TV.

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After years of neglecting the feature in its older app, Google announced this week that it will finally replace the old Android TV remote app experience, and now, we’ve got a few more details on how that will work for Android phones and iOS devices too.

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Google TV Stories May 18

Google expands temporary Speaker Groups and ‘Stream Transfer’ to Android TV OS

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.

Android TV 12 Beta available today for ADT-3 as Google TV emulator launches

Major updates for Google’s Android TV platform have historically been a lot slower than smartphones, but things took a big step in the right direction with the unexpected early release of the Android TV 12 Developer Preview. Now, Google is debuting the Android TV 12 Beta and giving developers a useful Google TV tool.

Google has made a huge push over the past two years to put Android TV in the hands of more customers, and it sure seems like those efforts are paying off. At Google I/O this week, Google has announced that Android TV and Google TV have, combined, more than 80 million active devices.

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Android TV has long offered the ability to control your TV from a smartphone, but that app has faded into obscurity over time. Today, though, Google is announcing support for a new remote-control option for Google TV devices that runs through an app on your phone.

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Google TV Stories May 12

When the new Chromecast with Google TV launched in late 2020, the product came with the promise that Google Stadia would be supported sometime in the first half of 2021. That deadline is just six weeks away at this point, so the clock is certainly ticking for Google to take action. Let’s take a look at where things stand.

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