Google TV Overview Updated September 17, 2021

Google TV

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243 'Google TV' stories

July 2011 - May 2022

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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 May 23

The Chromecast with Google TV is a great product, but it’s one that’s clearly showing problems as it ages. One issue is that the Chromecast hasn’t received an actual system update in nearly six months, which is why a recent tweet from Google feels like such a tease.

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It’s finally happening. After a false start last year, Google TV is rolling out Profiles starting today.

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Google TV Stories May 18

As announced in March, Google TV is rolling out a redesign that adds a “Highlights” news feed and reorganizes other parts of the Android app.

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Google 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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Google 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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The vision of Google TV is to make streaming your favorite shows effortless by keeping everything in one place. The Google TV app is now building on that idea by delivering support for casting content from multiple streaming services through a single app.

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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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Google TV Stories May 9

Google TV is picking up one of its most notable changes in months, as the platform appears to have started rolling out a revamped screensaver with “proactive personal results.”

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Google TV Stories May 6

It’s been almost two years since Google revealed its updated take on Android TV – and its first streamer with a remote. The Chromecast with Google TV ushered in a new era for the company’s streaming endeavors, but as we continue to move forward, time hasn’t been particularly kind to the Chromecast, and we’re itching to see what’s next for Google’s vision.

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TCL Google TVs pick up a new update w/ performance improvements, April security patch

TCL’s Google TV lineup delivers on great displays, but the software has always been a little rough. This week, though, another update rolling out to TCL Google TV owners brings the April patch and even more performance improvements.

Google TV Stories May 5

Google TV’s latest ‘Watch with Me’ showcases Andra Day’s watchlist [Video]

In its continued series, Google TV is rolling out a new “Watch with Me” row on the homescreen, this time focusing on picks from musician Andra Day.

Google TV Stories May 3

While we’re still waiting on some bigger features to arrive, Google has just announced one of the first new additions to its TV platform in quite some time. Google TV’s Live tab is adding “Favorite Channels” for some services.

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Google TV Stories May 2

Review: Mecool KD3 takes Google’s Chromecast and adds a bit of future-proofing

Google TV is a great way to stream your favorite shows and movies and keep track of where they are, too. However, there aren’t many pieces of hardware available to use the platform, unless you’re in the market for a new TV. The Mecool KD3 is one of the few valid alternatives to the Chromecast with Google TV, and in our experience using it for the past few weeks, it gets the job done well.

Google TV showcasing Star Wars content with ‘May the Fourth’ homescreen row

As it did last year, Google TV is showcasing Star Wars content in celebration of “May the Fourth.”

Google TV Stories April 23

What’s on Google TV: Netflix loses subscribers following price hikes, blames password sharing

This was an awful week to be Netflix, as the company announced its first ever quarter with a subscriber loss, and more to come following continues price hikes. In an effort to reverse that, Netflix also has plans to adopt an ad-supported plan, and crack down on password sharing. Read on for more about Netflix and the rest of what’s on Google TV.

Google 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.

Google TV Stories April 20

Screen casting comes naturally to Google TV

Google TV is an OS that debuted on Google’s Chromecast. As it would happen, the Chromecast is a great tool for displaying a shared screen from your Android phone or tablet. It’s literally in the name. So how do you cast your screen to Google TV? This guide will take you through the ins and outs.

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[U: Now available] Google TV gets another streaming stick, the Mecool KD3 w/ 8GB storage

Google TV has shown up on a lot of full-size TVs, but very few streaming sticks and boxes. This week, little-known Android TV partner Mecool has announced its first Google TV streaming stick in the KD3, but it has the same unfortunate Achilles’ heel as Google’s device.

TCL launches a new batch of Google TVs in Europe, but still with Android 11 [Update: Pricing]

As Google’s efforts on the TV expand, new devices are launching with Android TV and Google TV. This week, TCL has announced a new batch of 2022 Google TV models destined for the European market, but unfortunately, they don’t deliver Android 12.

Google TV Stories April 18

TCL adds AirPlay 2 and Homekit to its refreshed Google TV lineup

Last year TCL launched itself into the Google TV experience with a batch of pretty solid 4K TVs. Earlier this month, the brand refreshed that lineup in Europe, and one detail that flew under the radar until now is that the entire lineup is equipped with support for Apple’s AirPlay 2 and Homekit.

Google TV Stories April 16

What’s on Google TV: Stranger Things 4 trailer, HBO Max takes #3 slot in streaming wars

This week Netflix released the first trailer for Stranger Things 4, the next season of the acclaimed show, while HBO Max reportedly earned the third slot in the streaming wars. Here’s what you need to know.

Google 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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Google TV Stories April 9

What’s on Google TV: Disney+ gets its first live series in Dancing with the Stars, more

This week, Disney+ was the center of some key news as the streaming service announced its first piece of live content in Dancing with the Stars, which starts this Fall.

Google TV Stories April 5

Even in the age of streaming services, sometimes purchasing movies and TV series to own them is the better play; this is especially true when looking at services like Netflix that change their terms at a moment’s notice. That being the case, Family Sharing is a fantastic tool from Google that lets you share all of your purchases media on Google TV.

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There are way too many streaming services today, and with content constantly moving between them, it isn’t easy to keep track of shows and movies you want to watch. Google TV solved that problem when it launched in 2020, but now Plex is throwing its hat in the ring with similar tricks.

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Google 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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Google TV Stories March 29

Google TV’s integration with Google Assistant makes it possible to control smart home devices, find movies and TV shows, and more. Now, Google Assistant on Google TV can offer direct video results for questions powered by YouTube.

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Google 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.

Google TV Stories March 25

Google TV integrates with over 30 streaming services and apps, 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 and apps that Google TV supports.

Google 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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Google TV Stories March 23

This week, Google announced another step towards the end of Play Movies & TV as it continues to push towards Google TV instead. It’s the right call, but with a headache attached for many customers.

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Google TV Stories March 22

After the death of Play Music, Google Play was left with applications, books, and television. The Play Store will soon drop Movies & TV on Android with the Google TV app being the new place to buy and rent content.

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Google 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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Google TV Stories March 15

Google TV showcases the watchlist of Chloé Zhao, director of Nomadland and Eternals [Video]

Google TV’s homescreen is all about recommending content, and part of that has included showcasing selections from actors and celebrities. Rolling out now, Google TV is showcasing the watchlist of award-winning director Chloé Zhao.

Google TV Stories March 12

In streaming news this week, Netflix remains adamant that it has no plans to launch an ad-supported pricing tier as other platforms have, and Disney+ released the long-anticipated first look at its Obi-Wan Kenobi series.

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Google TV Stories March 10

Google TV was a big redesign that replaced the Play Movies & TV app on Android, and it’s now adding a “Highlights” tab that serves as “personalized feed of entertainment news” and getting some Material You flourishes.

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Google TV Stories March 8

Whether you like it or not, smart TVs are here to stay. Luckily, the software available to run these TVs just keeps getting better, and Google TV has been making a huge push to be a major name in the market. Over the past few months, I’ve spent time with TCL’s 6-Series mini-LED Google TV,  and on the whole, it’s a great option. Here’s what you need to know if you’re in the market.

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Google TV Stories March 1

Sony is finally starting to roll out a VRR (variable refresh rate) update to its line of Bravia XR processor-driven TVs. This change comes close to a year after the company promised the update to users.

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Google TV Stories February 26

What’s on Google TV: Pluto TV adding seven new channels, No Way Home gets digital release date

Google TV users are about to get some more free channels, as Pluto TV is preparing to add several new channels to its lineup.

Google 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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Google TV Stories February 20

TCL’s 5-Series television, powered by Google TV, is a solid device that could have been perfect for the price point with a bit more polishing.

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Google TV Stories February 19

What’s on Google TV: Netflix sets ‘Stranger Things 4’ premiere date, Showtime coming to Paramount+

Following the Super Bowl, we’ve got a bunch of new trailers, content announcements, and more, including the release date for Stranger Things 4 and Google TV’s selection of Valentine’s Day content.

Google TV Stories February 14

Google TV’s ‘Library’ tab failing to load for some users, preventing access to watchlist, more

The Google TV homescreen makes it easy to find the content you want across your favorite streaming services, but it also has native access to shows and movies you’ve purchased from Google. Lately, though, the “Library” tab of Google TV seems to be having some loading issues for some.

Google 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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Google TV Stories February 12

What’s on Google TV: Hulu will lose NBC shows this year, ‘Daredevil’ and others leaving Netflix

Google TV’s goal is to make it easy for you to find the content you want without worrying about what app it’s on. That strength may be put to the test in the coming months, as NBC is preparing to remove its content from Hulu and the Marvel shows, including “Daredevil,” are about to leave Netflix.

Google 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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Google TV Stories February 4

The homescreen is one of the biggest selling points of Google TV, with the content-focused design surfacing recommendations and keeping everything in one place. Soon, it seems Google is planning to improve the Google TV experience with a new “Restricted Mode” feature and a watchlist for the Kids Profile.

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Google TV is all about putting the shows and movies you want to see in one place, despite the ongoing streaming wars fracturing that content to dozens of different streaming services. This week, Google TV is expanding on that goal by rolling out a hub for 2022 Winter Olympics coverage.

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