Google TV should be seen as a renewed interface for Android TV. The software is powered by Google’s machine learning, the Google Assistant and the Google Knowledge Graph. The software is not intended to replace the existing Android TV, the operating system for televisions and media players. In fact, Android TV isn’t going anywhere. Add to that that Google TV is actually not its own operating system at all and the confusion is complete.
Fortunately, it is fairly easy to explain. This is a kind of layer on top of Android TV, designed so that you can find what you are looking for easily and faster. When you use that layer, you get rid of the cluttered or cluttered home screen of your current Android TV device. The layer is meant to make for a better experience, which is why it is a shame that there is already so much confusion.
Comparison with Android for smartphones
You can therefore perhaps best compare Google TV with a software dispute that we usually encounter on various Android smartphones. Samsung has OneUI, Huawei has EMUI and OnePlus has the OxygenOS, for example. Those software disputes don’t replace Android, but add many features to it. The design can also differ per phone. But basically it is still an Android smartphone.
Google is now trying to do the same trick as with Android smartphones. And that’s fine on the one hand, because it can indeed improve the experience. But on the other hand, it is also unfortunate, because this creates a difference in functionality between different devices. For some people, the difference between one Android phone and another is difficult to explain. Especially when they have not previously been in contact with the bare Android, as it is called. The bare Android is an untouched operating system and designed by Google.
Nowadays you also have a special software shell on Pixel smartphones, which also come from Google, so that you hardly have a high-end smartphone with the bare Android anymore. Fortunately, you can still go to manufacturers who use Android Go or Android One, for example, because they offer a virtually untouched version of the system for specific smartphones – but you can see why it can be quite a mess in the smartphone market.
So change is not always better, but first let’s wait and see how nice Google TV is possible. But the idea that not every Android TV device will soon be the same does not give hope for a clear future. In any case, a lot has to be explained about different functions that are present on one device and not on the other. Now that was already done here and there, for example by Nvidia, but those differences are always clear.
What can you do with it?
Anyway, we just have to make do with it. Google created Google TV after the search engine giant controlled how people consume media on their televisions and media players. For example, people can come across content by searching or scrolling aimlessly. The Knowledge Graph uses machine learning to serve the right content at the right time.
You can see which titles are trending on Google Search and you can ask the Google Assistant for a summary, for example. You can also ask whether the voice assistant can look up films from the particular genre, which are then neatly presented. All apps on your TV on media player are then examined and you do not have to check per app whether there is something for you. If you want to watch a comedy, the range of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Videoland, for example, is all conjured up. You can also add all kinds of films and television series to your Watch List.
Which devices get the software?
Google TV will launch for the first time on the new Google Chromecast. The company has already confirmed that the software dispute may eventually reach other televisions and media players, but that will only happen from 2021. This only applies to devices that already run on Android TV. At the time of writing, we know that Sony devices, among others, can count on such an update.