Although we may be biased because we run a “Android Central” website, Android is one of the most adaptable operating systems available. It powers smartphones and tablets, but it also powers wearables, automobile entertainment systems, and even TVs.
That last element is today’s topic – Android TV. This Android version has been powering smart TVs and streaming boxes since 2014.
Although less popular than Roku and Amazon’s Fire TV, Android TV is still worth considering. In truth, Android TV has a lot to offer if you like Google services and want to add smarts to your living room.
Here’s everything you need to know, including the inevitable Android TV vs. Google TV debate.
Best of Google TV
In addition to 4K HDR streaming, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos are supported as well as Stadia streaming.
WHAT IS APPLE TV?
As stated previously, Android TV is a version of Android built for televisions. It debuted on June 2014 and will be updated to Android 12 in September 2021. You can use Android TV to watch Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and other streaming apps. Android TV even allows games, which is nice when you want to interact with your entertainment.
Several components from the new Google TV interface have been included into the new Android TV interface on most Android TV devices produced in 2021 and beyond. The Android 12 beta features a revamped home screen with larger buttons, improved animation, a new widget style, and a bright green microphone symbol.
Android 12 also has native scrolling screenshot support and a color theme generator for system menus depending on your background. Android 12 also supports native 4K UI rendering, which improves overall screen interface and graphics. Earlier Android TV versions set UI rendering at 1080p with 4K upscaling.
Some of the privacy features in Android 12 for phones are now available on Android TV. The new privacy features allow users to simply disable access to the microphone and camera for all apps.
GOOGLE TV ASSISTANT
The Google Assistant on your phone or smart device will feel perfectly at home on Android TV.
Android TV includes the Google Assistant, like with other Google products. Click the Assistant button on the screen or the Assistant button on your remote to talk to the Google Assistant.
It’s useful in several ways. You may ask the Assistant to pause your TV show, adjust the volume, or open specific apps. But it’s much more than that. The Assistant can also turn off the living room lights or ask about the weather. Just your favorite Google Assistant on your TV.
CHROMECAST AND ANDROID TV
While browsing for shows on the large screen with applications is fun, Android TV also supports Chromecast for those times when you’re already on your phone.
Want to watch a YouTube video or a Netflix episode on your phone? Simply hit the Chromecast symbol on your phone, choose your TV, and transfer the video to your TV.
It works with any Chromecast-enabled app, including Google Photos. So instead of hunching over your phone to look at family photos, you can easily display them on your TV.
STREAMING BOXES AND DONGLES
There are several ways to obtain Android TV. Buying a streaming box or dongle with Android TV built-in is the cheapest.
These are small devices that plug into your TV and provide you access to Android TV and all of its features. With an Android TV box, you can add tons of new capabilities to your “dumb” TV or upgrade your Roku TV for a fraction of the cost.
The NVIDIA Shield and Shield Pro are the greatest Android TV boxes. The NVIDIA Shield supports 4K HDR, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos, as well as AI upscaling for HD-to-4K. It contains an Ethernet interface for fast streaming and GeForce Now cloud gaming functionality. The Shield TV Pro boosts the storage to 16GB and the RAM to 3GB.
Our top selection, the Chromecast with Google TV, is a sure thing. It includes 4K HDR and Dolby, but you have to buy an ethernet adaptor and stream Stadia games instead. It doesn’t upscale content and only has 8GB of storage, but it’s cheaper than the Shield and comparable to most premium streaming dongles.
In addition, the Android 12 upgrade makes it possible to use your phone as a remote control for Android TV OS streaming devices.
SOME TVS ALSO COME WITH ANDROID TV.
If you have more money to invest and want to replace your complete TV, you could buy one that comes pre-loaded with Android TV.
This is a far more expensive investment, but if you need a new TV anyway, buy one that supports Android TV. So you can save your HDMI ports for game consoles.
Our current favorite Android TV is the Hisense U8G Quantum. This 4K TV boasts four HDMI connections, thin bezels, hands-free Google Assistant, and a low price. TCL and Sony also make great Android TV sets.
You may prefer something more upscale. So our list of the best 4K Android TVs is aimed at the most affluent consumers. And the Sony A80J Bravia XR OLED is one of the best Android TVs available. Stunning picture and sound quality, plus HDMI 2.1 ports for next-gen gaming.
WHAT IS GOOGLE TV?
Google TV was touted as the new UI for Android TV in 2020, along with Chromecast.
Surrounding the Android TV software is Google’s new Google TV interface. Easy access to material from many streaming services on TV or monitor. The new interface emphasizes Google’s content suggestions and includes a Live tab for TV-like integrations like YouTube TV.
The Google TV interface has sections for movies, programs, and apps. Now that the Google TV app is installed, you may access your Google purchased material via Play Movies & TV. When logged in, content is also recommended based on your viewing patterns.
The new layout also allows users to establish profiles for children, which include rows of recommended films from kid-friendly apps. The kid-friendly Google TV interface includes bright colors, entertaining images, and profile avatars geared at younger viewers.
Our list of Android TV devices that support Google TV shows which have upgraded and which have not. If you still use Android TV, you can now manually fine-tune your Android TV recommendations, just like you can with Google TV.
ANDROID TV’S FUTURE
Most older Android TV devices utilize Google TV OS, while most new Android TV boxes and TVs have Google TV. Not much is known about future Chromecasts, however several new Google TV sets have launched (or will ship) in 2022.
While Android TV isn’t going away, Google has turned its focus to its own interface. But Google is still introducing Stadia and Google TV capabilities to older Android TV devices. So it’s up to you whether you want to keep your old Android TV or switch to Google TV.
Glory of Android TV
However, it allows AI upscaling of non-4K video, making everything you view look better. It also supports GeForce Now streaming for those with a large Steam collection.