These days getting the most out of your TV means that there is a way to interact with streaming apps like Netflix, YouTube or Amazon Prime, as well as the ability to download new apps and utilities as well. In essence, this is all “smart TV” technology. You may be familiar with the streaming box or stick like Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV, or even take advantage of game consoles to make your TV smart. But there is another option that is slowly gaining support: Android TV.
Everything About Android TV
Android TV is Google’s way to convert your TV to a smart TV, connected streaming media powerhouse. It has a lot of other smart TV solutions, but it has many features that differentiate it from the crowd. If you want to know what Android TV is, what it can do, and why it may be the right choice for your TV, you have come to the right place. Give us a few minutes and we promise you to become an Android TV expert!
What Is Android TV?
Android TV – As you have guessed by the name – Google is a version of the Android mobile operating system specially configured for TV. However, this description does not really reveal how different Android TV is from Android.
Instead of being greeted by a screen full of widgets like apps, searches, weather, or stock, the Home screen of Android TV focuses on helping you find content that you enjoy on your TV – whether it’s like someone with the Netflix through the membership service. Or from your own personal media collection through media center software such as Google Play Music, or Plex.
Your favorite app is displayed as a “ribbon” – a horizontally scrollable set of recommendations and recently viewed content within a particular app.
Android TV can access the Google Play App Store, where you will find thousands of apps specially designed for the Android TV’s 10-foot experience, which means that you can read small lessons or just navigate the app. Do not try when you can swipe with a finger.
Embedded Google is helpful in every version of the Android TV, which gives you voice control for your TV content as well as all your smart home products. Google’s Chromecast technology is also included, which lets you cast videos and share screens with compatible smartphones, browsers, and apps.
Like the Roku OS, Amazon’s Fire TV OS or Apple’s TVOS, Android TV supports a variety of TV features such as 4K UltraHD, HDR, and Dolby Atmos. Whether you can take advantage of these features, it will depend on the device in which Android TV is installed. Before using Android TV, hardware should support these features.
How Do I Get Android TV?
Android TV comes pre-installed as the default Smart TV user experience on Sony, Hisense, Sharp, and Philips’s select TVs. You can add Android TV to any existing TV with HDMI port, which has an Android TV set-top box from companies such as Nvidia and Xiaomi. Prices of these devices range from $60 to $200.
After one year, we are still waiting for JBL’s Link Bar to be released, which is a soundbar that packs both Android TV and Google Assistant in the same home theatre speaker.
You can find articles from around the web, which list Amazon’s Fire TV as an Android TV device, but it will not be silly. Amazon used the open source version of the Android OS to create its own Fire TV OS, but it is very rare with Google’s Android TV. Similarly, beware of the so-called Android TV Box of those brands that you do not recognize.
These are often set-top streamers that use an older version of Android, and they do not offer the most of the Android TV experience. For an up-to-date list of all the official Android TV devices, check out Google’s product page.
How Do I Set-Up And Use The Android TV?
While it is possible to use basic Android TV features without Google Account, if you want to download additional applications or want to use Google Assistant, then need a Google Account. When you first set up your Android TV device, you will be asked to enter your Google Account. If you are already own another Android device like a phone or tablet, you can use it to speed up the setup process.
You will be asked to choose a Wi-Fi network (if you do not have an Ethernet connection), and answer some questions about places and preferences – some of which will vary according to the device type. At the end of the small process, you will reach on the Android TV home screen.
Android TV devices, whether they are televisions or external set-top boxes, come with sound-enabled remote controls. Once you turn on the device and the home page is displayed on your screen, you can navigate the interface using the directional of the remote and the Enter button. A back button lets you go back to the previous screen or menu, while the home button returns you to the home screen.
The top ribbon always shows a list of apps you have installed so that you can get more apps at any time for quick access with a link to the Google Play Store.
But to get the most features of the Android TV, you want to call Google auxiliary. Depending on your device, you may be able to call “Hey Google”, but you can always use the mic button on the remote. When you do, there is no need to present your commands with the “Hey Google”, because as soon as you have to press the button, it is listening about the instructions.
Some Android TV Voice Commands
To a certain extent, through Google Assistant, you can tell Android TV what to do, depending on which streaming services you have. For example, “Play Stranger Things on Netflix,” will only work if you have a subscription to Netflix; however, many orders are universal, such as:
- “Play some jazz music”
- “Louder,” and “softer” for volume control
- “Play,” “pause,” “stop,” and “resume” while watching any video
- “Open [app name]” to open any installed app
- “Tell me about Game of Thrones”
- “Show me the cast of Friends”
In addition, you can use the Smart Home command from any Google Assistant, which can be different depending on the smart home device you use on your home network.
Some Popular Android TV Apps
Needless to say, Netflix is about the most popular app on every streaming media platform, but there are very few other known apps to install.
Kodi is a powerful media center app that can search and organize all your personal media in an easy-to-navigate interface, just about support for every media file type that you can think about. Highly customizable, Kodi has a reputation as an app that will allow you to stream Hollywood movies for free, but be warned: at least to say this kind of activity is not officially supported on Kodi and one the legal gray area is. We recommend that you check out our complete Kodi interpreter before you find yourself on the receiving end of a cease-fire order.
Like Kody, Plex uses the client/server system to see and run personal media files and much more. This is a more powerful and enjoyable way to experience your movies, music, and photos than pasting a USB drive behind your set-top box or TV. We have got a complete guide to using Plex which will help you get the most out of it, whether you use it on Android TV or dozens of other devices that support it.
Amazon Prime Video
Technically, Amazon Prime Video is not yet available for Android TV, but it is coming soon for a recent agreement between Google and Amazon. When this happens, it will be a very popular add-on for those people who are prime members.
Android TV already supports screen mirroring from the Android device via Chromecast, but iOS users also need a solution. Where AirScreen arrives. Fire it and your Android TV will appear as a selectable AirPlay device in the iOS Control Center. That’s all there is to it.
Surprisingly, seeing that Google Chrome has the driving force behind, which is one of the most popular web browsers on the planet, Android TV does not come with any kind of built-in browser. Puffin TV is one of the many apps on the Google Play Store that wants to address this obvious lapse, and it does this with an interface that is ideal for TV. Unlike all but essential tasks, this is sometimes a great way to jump on the web for work that Google Helper cannot handle.
There are so many games for Android TV – lots to list here. Big titles such as Asphalt 8: Airborne, Zen Pinball, Crossy Road, Grand Theft Auto, Final Fantasy, and many others are available through the Google Play Store.
Android TV Is The Same On TV Or On Every Device?
Just like two computers running Windows, there are some differences between one Android TV and the other. For example, on Sony TV, you will find picture-calibration settings like Sony’s proprietary reality creation image processing. You will also get the option to watch live, over-the-air HD TV channels, which enables the TV’s built-in tuner.
On Nvidia Shield TV, you have access to Nvidia’s own GeForce Now gaming store, because it intends to double that special Android TV device as a powerful gaming platform.
You can also find that due to the difference in processing power, each Android TV device will not be equally liable. Early Sony TVs with Android TV felt somewhat lazy because their weak chips struggled to present the interface and answer menu options. The new Sony TV has improved a lot, and Nvidia Shield TV remains the standard for the fastest Android TV display.
This difference in processing power is unlikely to affect the ability of the device to stream content from NetFlix-like service, but it will definitely have an impact on apps such as Kody because it offers various media files to process the device’s processor is needed. Games can also be affected.
Is The Android TV Right For Me?
Good question, and as always, the answer is: It depends. The easiest way to know that is the right choice for you, especially the Gaming Console, such as Stop, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and PS4, and Xbox One S/X. All of these platforms have advantages, but no one has Google TV’s combination of Google Assistant and Chromecast – a potential killer combo for those who are already making huge investments in the Google ecosystem.
If you are thinking of buying a new Sony TV, then we say that in confidence – Android TV cannot be as simple as the polish or Apple TV, but it is getting better all the time.