Google’s September 2020 launch of Google TV, its second smart TV platform, generated a lot of buzz and misunderstanding. You could be excused for confusing it with Google’s long-running smart TV operating system Android TV, which powers some of the greatest streaming devices available, but there are a few significant distinctions.
We examine the differences between Google TV and Android TV as well as what the future holds for both platforms as Google continues to push out its improved interface on the newest TVs and set-top boxes.
What is Android TV?
Android TV, which was first made available in June 2014, had a significant impact on home entertainment technology.
In addition to giving you useful features like Google Cast support and voice control with Google Assistant, Android TV is a variation of Google’s Android mobile operating system. It gives you access to the Google Play Store for apps and games on your TV.
Its debut also served as the impetus for a flood of smart TV boxes to enter the market preloaded with the operating system. Companies like Sharp and Sony immediately accepted it as smart TV middleware.
The home screen interface of Android TV, which is key to the experience, tries to promote content discovery by suggesting programmes and films from your apps and subscription services like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and YouTube. This function is further developed with Google TV.
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What is Google TV?
The aptly called Chromecast with Google TV, a new version of Google’s streaming dongle, and Google TV were both initially introduced on TVs in 2020. For new Google-powered TVs and set-top boxes that are now being launched by major manufacturers, it serves as the de facto smart TV interface.
Google TV is a software layer that runs on top of Android TV, not a separate operating system.
Similar to how launchers give Android phones a makeover and new features, Google TV introduces a new user interface with a distinct look and feels, with Android TV still serving as the experience’s foundation.
The updated interface has a significantly improved look and places a much bigger emphasis on tailored content by utilizing AI. It also has a specific page for live broadcasts.
What Features of Google TV and Android TV Are Most Similar?
The same wide variety of smart TV apps and games are available on both Android TV and Google TV, which also supports media streaming, voice commands with Google Assistant, smart home controls, casting with Chromecast, and smart home automation. Both smart TV platforms provide access to video games through Google Stadia.
What Are the Primary Distinctions Between Google TV and Android TV?
The presentation of content discovery on the home page is where the two systems really divide.
While Google TV uses machine learning, Google Assistant, and the Knowledge Graph database to learn your viewing patterns, Android TV bases its suggestions on apps rather than on personal preferences.
The home screen’s dedicated For You page uses this information to display personalized suggestions, show pertinent deals, and highlight material that is particularly popular in your area.
Additionally, Google TV offers a live TV option that shows previews of current programmes from services like Sling TV and YouTube TV. There’s no need to open different apps when looking for anything to watch; just press the thumbnail if something catches your eye to jump right into the broadcast.
Parental restrictions and profiles are another differentiation. With personalized recommendations for each profile, Google TV offers several child profiles under a single adult’s Google account, in contrast to Android TV.
While Google TV allows you to create child accounts with their own set of content limitations that can be maintained through the Google Family Link service, Android TV handles content restrictions through its system-wide parental settings.
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Will Android TV Devices Receive a Google TV Upgrade?
Almost all newly released Google-powered products, including Sony Bravia and TCL TVs, will come pre-installed with Google TV. However, it doesn’t appear like existing Android TV products will be upgraded to the new platform.
Owners of current Android TV kits, though, won’t be fully left behind, so it’s not all bad news. With huge circular app icons on the left side and some of Google TV’s new features being carried over, certain Android TV devices, like the NVIDIA Shield, Xiaomi Mi set-top boxes, and Sony TVs, have recently gotten updates that resemble Google TV quite closely.
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