Google is getting back to the living room with a new platform. Android TV is now official. Rather than pushing its own hardware, Google is taking the familiar approach of relying upon hardware manufacturers. The platform can be integrated with products like televisions, set-top boxes, and other media devices.
Let’s see what Android TV is all about.
The image at the top of this page is Home launcher for Android TV. It houses all of the content outlets and services. If it looks familiar, it is because we saw something like it back in April. Home will order apps in order by usage. To control Android TV, you can use a conventional remote that would ship with the purchased hardware. But of course Google is enabling users ability to use their phones as an easy controller. They even threw in Android Wear support for a quick directional pad-like controller.
With your voice, anything is possible with Android TV. After all, this is a platform constructed by Google. Request a particular movie, television show, or other form of content by speaking. Google will pitch back a Google Now-like answer. In the image above, you can see that a Breaking Bad search returned information and a link to Google Play Movies & TV. This would link to episodes in Google Play and reinforce a buying option. Below that is cast information and scrolling further down contains more content. This is exactly what we see when performing a similar search from an Android smartphone and tablet.
Using your voice to ask a question or make a request returns very specific results. Google demoed a question in which they asked who played Katniss in Hunger Games and the answer, Jennifer Lawrence, was returned. This also brought up content relating to the film and its other actors.
Binge watchers, Google knows you exist. Speedily going through the Game of Thrones and do not want to loose track of where you are? Google will place the succeeding episode on the Home launcher to keep you going in order. Everything is front and center if that’s what you want.
Gaming, as expected, is a huge part of Android TV. With three out of four Android users playing games, Google is making sure Google Play Games with multiplayer support is featured.
Android TV even contains Chromecast support. This means you can still use the Cast feature from phones, tablets, and laptops to get content transferred quickly to a larger screen.
Right now, Google has a few apps and games that they are showcasing Android TV with and a full launch coming this fall. Partners for Android TV include Qualcomm, NVIDIA, MediaTek, Intel, Marvell, Broadcom, Sharp, Sony, and TP Vision. Televisions will come from companies like Sharp and Sony while ASUS and Razer will work on set-top boxes geared toward gaming.