Google announces Android TV

At its I/O conference today, Google announced its long-rumored Android TV, as the company once again attempts to make its products relevant in the living room, after the spectacular failure of its Google TV platform. Google is at pains to stress that Android TV "isn't a new platform", adding: "We're simply giving TVs the same level of attention that phones and tablets have traditionally enjoyed." 

Navigating through Android TV requires "just a D-pad and voice input", which can either be incorporated as a remote control from the television manufacturer, a game controller, or a 'virtual controller' on a phone or tablet, via an Android TV app. Android Wear devices, such as smartwatches can also be used for interaction. 

The main 'home' view is an overlay on top of live TV, and gives a 'super view' of suggested content, along with access to content on demand via Google Play or third-party apps such as Netflix or Plex. Google says that the launcher provides the easy-to-use 'lean-back experience' that viewers would expect on a TV. 

Search is powered by voice, and brings up not just audio and video results, but further results that can be interrogated, such as actor bios or movie awards. You can also search for something like "movies that won Oscars last year", and you will be presented with a set of appropriate results, ready to watch. 

Gaming is also a feature on Android TV, including support for multiplayer games, for example with one person playing on a tablet, and the other playing on the TV with a 'traditional' controller. Googlecast support is also included, allowing users to stream content from any compatible Android device to the TV. 

Android TV sets are on the way from Sony, Sharp and TP Vision/Philips. LG U+, Bouygues Telecom and SFR will also support it, and streaming IPTV boxes with Android TV will be coming this fall from ASUS, Razr and others.

Images captured from Google I/O live stream

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22 Comments

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The_Observer said,
Maybe tv makers should be using this in there smart tv's?

Don't worry, this all going to amount to one additional icon in your so-called Smart TV's main navigation screen, which will promptly get ignored once the novelty has worn off.

meh, dont see anything in this I would really want that I dont get from what I already have. Maybe down the road if something I am using breaks as a replacement...but, meh. This I will wait to see if there are more offerings from others out there.

this market is already packed enough.... I already have an apple tv, a g-box (android), bluray player with apps, smart tv with apps, xbox one with media apps. There is also chromecast, amazons tv thing and im sure there are a dozen other android type boxes out there. I just dont see how there can be so many products that essentially have the same apps and features. Unless more TV manufactures switch from their own "smart apps" to a unified brand like google this market will just keep getting fragmented even more.

This would work better on a set top box rather than integrated into your TV. After 2 years of support I doubt the OEMs would want to keep them up to date. They'll push you to buying a replacement. There's also the issue of hardware obsolescence. I'm sure 2 versions out it will have new capabilities and features you can't use on the first gen devices. I don't want to have to upgrade my TV/Set Top box every 1-3 years.

Drewidian said,
This would work better on a set top box rather than integrated into your TV. After 2 years of support I doubt the OEMs would want to keep them up to date. They'll push you to buying a replacement. There's also the issue of hardware obsolescence. I'm sure 2 versions out it will have new capabilities and features you can't use on the first gen devices. I don't want to have to upgrade my TV/Set Top box every 1-3 years.

I've got an Android STB already, it's cool until you realize EVERYTHING was built for touch input. Sure you can navigate the entire thing with a d-pad, and I got a sweet wireless mouse/keyboard combo to run it with. After about 2 hours though I put it on my kids tv and haven't wanted to touch it since.

If the TVs are touch TVs then it would make sense for it to be TV integrated.

Edited by NastySasquatch, Jun 25 2014, 6:30pm :

NastySasquatch said,

If the TVs are touch TVs then it would make sense for it to be TV integrated.

Why would I want a touch TV? Are you old enough to remember when you had to get up to change the channel? What a pain!! Especially in these times of huge screen tv's, who wants to walk across the room to use touch on the screen?

I am not a M$ fan boy, by any means, but I think I would rather see something along the lines of Kinnect, where I could just talk to the TV to tell it what I want or use my finger to point at the tile of the program I want, via a menu system.

BottleTop said,

Why would I want a touch TV? Are you old enough to remember when you had to get up to change the channel? What a pain!! Especially in these times of huge screen tv's, who wants to walk across the room to use touch on the screen?

I am not a M$ fan boy, by any means, but I think I would rather see something along the lines of Kinnect, where I could just talk to the TV to tell it what I want or use my finger to point at the tile of the program I want, via a menu system.

I dont think his point was that he wanted to touch his tv =). I think it was that the interface was made for touch not a tv with whatever inputs.

But talking or finger pointing would be ideal I think =).

BottleTop said,

Why would I want a touch TV? Are you old enough to remember when you had to get up to change the channel? What a pain!! Especially in these times of huge screen tv's, who wants to walk across the room to use touch on the screen?

I am not a M$ fan boy, by any means, but I think I would rather see something along the lines of Kinnect, where I could just talk to the TV to tell it what I want or use my finger to point at the tile of the program I want, via a menu system.

Yes, I am old enough I used to play my Atari on a black and white job with nobs. It was maybe an 11" screen, but it I spent a summer mowing lawns for that bad boy and the Atari.

And I do want to be able to touch my TV. I just don't want to do it with Android. Windows 8.1 is sexy on my 50", it makes an AWESOME power whiteboard too.

If my TVs weren't also used to do CAD design and view CNC simulations on... I probably wouldn't want to touch them.

Som said,
can it be put on raspberry pi, cause that would be great

Can we hack a Fire TV and install it :D

30 mins ago my Amazon Fire TV arrived and within about 5 mins I got XBMC ADB sideloaded on it. works great!

but ...but ...the gamers failed to see that part of the market.

but in all honesty, what's good about Xbox is that they have millions of consoles installed, and dissolving the pay wall for certain apps will eventually solidify their position.

Dot Matrix said,
This is why Microsoft is pushing home entertainment through the XBox. This will be a hell of a competing market here soon.

MS was way ahead of everybody else with Media Center.... and butchered it in its infancy.
I would rather use a Media Center PC connected to my TV than a console.... because I play on the former not the latter.

Cosmocronos said,

MS was way ahead of everybody else with Media Center.... and butchered it in its infancy.
I would rather use a Media Center PC connected to my TV than a console.... because I play on the former not the latter.

True, Media Center had great potential but the OEM's once again failed to produce the right hardware. As much as I agree a multimedia PC would give a superb experience, the reality is that consoles have and will dominate the gaming market due to its mass appeal (plug & play).

Sadelwo said,

True, Media Center had great potential but the OEM's once again failed to produce the right hardware. As much as I agree a multimedia PC would give a superb experience, the reality is that consoles have and will dominate the gaming market due to its mass appeal (plug & play).


I do not know about gaming, the only ones I really loved were military flight Sims and unfortunately they disappeared in favor of first person shooters, but in the perspective of a fully domotized house NAS and PCs will be dominant IMO. Power, expandability and upgradability give them a big advantage.