Android TV 9.0 home screen
|Initial release||June 25, 2014|
|Latest release||11 / September 22, 2020|
|Marketing target||Smart TVs, digital media players, set-top boxes, USB dongles|
|Package manager||APK via Google Play|
Android TV is a version of the Android operating system developed by Google for television sets, digital media players, set-top boxes, and soundbars. A successor to Google TV, it features a user interface designed around content discovery and voice search, content aggregation from various media apps and services, and integration with other recent Google technologies such as Assistant, Cast, and Knowledge Graph.
The platform was first unveiled in June 2014, and was first made available on the Nexus Player that November. The platform has been adopted as smart TV middleware by companies such as Sony and Sharp, while Android TV products have also been adopted as set-top boxes by a number of IPTV television providers.
A special edition called Android TV Operator Tier is provided to service operators that implement Android TV on the device they provide to their subscribers to access media content. In this edition, the operator can customize the home screen and services on the device.
Android TV was first announced at Google I/O in June 2014, as a successor to the commercially unsuccessful Google TV. The Verge characterized it as being more in line with other digital media player platforms, but leveraging Google's Knowledge Graph project; Chromecast compatibility; a larger emphasis on search; closer ties to the Android ecosystem (including Google Play Store and integration with other Android families such as Android Wear); and native support for video games, Bluetooth gamepads, and the Google Play Games framework. Some attendees received the platform's development kit, the ADT-1; The Information reported that the ADT-1 was based on a scrapped "Nexus TV" launch device that was being developed internally by Google. Google unveiled the first Android TV device, the Nexus Player developed by Asus, at a hardware event in October 2014.
The ADT-2 development kit device was released before the release of Android TV 9.0. Android TV 10 was released on December 10, 2019, together with the ADT-3 development kit. Android TV 11 was released for the ADT-3 on September 22, 2020, while rollouts were planned for original equipment manufacturer partners in subsequent months.
The Android TV platform is an adaptation of the Android OS for set-top boxes and as integrated software on smart TV hardware. Its home screen uses a vertically-scrolling, row-based interface, including a "content discovery" area populated by suggested content, followed by "Watch Now" rows that surface media content from installed apps. Android TV supports voice input for commands and universal search across multiple services; selected devices also support Google Assistant. All Android TV devices support Google Cast, allowing media to be played on them from supported apps on other devices in an identical manner to Chromecast. Android TV supports software from the Play Store, including media apps and games (although not all Google Play apps are compatible with Android TV). Some Android TV devices, such as the Nvidia Shield and Razer Forge TV, are also marketed as microconsoles and bundled with a Bluetooth wireless gamepad.
Google TV interface
A modified Android TV user interface, branded "Google TV" (unrelated to the company's discontinued smart TV platform of the same name), debuted on the Chromecast with Google TV streaming device, which was released on September 30, 2020. The Google TV interface emphasizes content recommendations and discovery across different services and installed apps, compared to the stock Android TV interface that is more focused on navigating between individual installed apps. Google TV is compatible with over 6,500 apps built for Android TV. At launch, over 30 streaming services were integrated with Google TV for use in its content aggregation features:
The Google TV interface will be replacing the stock Android TV interface by the end of 2022, starting with set-top boxes, dongles, and smart TVs in 2021. The debut of Google TV coincided with the re-branding of Google's Play Movies & TV service to Google TV.
List of devices
Digital media players
- Nexus Player (discontinued)
- Nvidia Shield TV
- Razer Forge TV (discontinued)
- Xiaomi Mi Box, Mi Box S, and Mi TV Stick
- Now TV
- Verizon Stream TV
- TiVo Stream 4K
- Vodafone TV (AU)
- Airtel Xstream Box (India)
- Chromecast with Google TV
During Google I/O 2014, Google announced that Sharp, Sony, and TP Vision would release smart TVs with Android TV integrated in 2015. It was noted that support for handling TV-specific functions, such as input switching and tuning, were natively integrated into the Android platform.
Sony unveiled a range of Bravia smart TVs running Android TV at CES 2015. Sharp released two TV models on June 10, 2015. Philips announced that 80% of their 2015 TVs will run Android TV, the first two models of which were released in June 2015.
Several television providers have released IPTV services using Android TV-based hardware as opposed to a proprietary set-top box, including LG UPlus's U+ tvG Woofer and U+ tvG 4K UHD, French ISP Free's Freebox Mini 4K, and Bouygues Telecom's BBox Miami. Dish Network released an Android TV device in 2017 known as the AirTV Player, marketed as a companion to its Sling TV service, and supporting an optional adapter for attaching an antenna to receive over-the-air television. In 2020, AT&T launched AT&T TV as its new flagship pay television service, which is based on an Android TV set-top box and the infrastructure of its OTT service DirecTV Now.
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