Tag Archives: Android TV

Android 12 Beta 3 for TV is now available

Posted by Wolfram Klein, Product Manager, Android TV OS

Alongside today’s Android 12 Beta 3 release for mobile, we’re also bringing the third Beta of Android 12 to Android TVs. We’re excited to bring new media features, UI improvements, and privacy controls to the experience with Beta 3 while we continue our work of preparing the full release.

Media

At the heart of the TV experience is beautiful and seamless media playback. In the US, users are spending well over 4 hours a day watching media on TV, and are always asking for the highest resolution playback possible. With Android 12, we are releasing three new features to better support ever-improving picture quality.

  • Refresh Rate Switching Settings: For a smoother viewing experience, Android 12 now supports seamless and non-seamless refresh rate switching. Apps can now integrate these settings for playback of content at optimal frame rates. The Match Content Frame Rate user setting has been added to allow users to control this feature, and apps can call Display.getMode to know if a user’s device supports seamless rate switching.
  • Better display mode reporting: We are improving how TV devices report display modes and making hotplugging behavior more consistent. App developers no longer need to use workarounds for accurately detecting display modes or for handling HDMI hotplug events.
  • Tunnel Mode Updates: Updates to Android’s tunnel mode are making it even easier for app developers to support consistent and efficient playback across devices by reducing media processing overhead in the Android Framework.

User Interface

A beautiful media experience needs an equally stunning user interface to match. Android TV brings two new additions to the UI that help developers provide users with a richer visual experience on high performance devices.

  • Background blurs: Background blurring using RenderEffect (for in-app blurs) and WindowManager (for cross-window blurs) can now be used to easily enhance the visual separation of different UI layers.

Example background blur used to separate UI layers.

  • 4K UI support: For added visual fidelity, Android TV OS now officially supports UI rendering at 4k resolution on compatible devices. 4K UI resolution can be tested in the upcoming Android 12 emulator for TV to allow app developers to prepare their app for devices with the higher resolution.

Privacy and Security

With Android 12, we’re continuing to focus on giving users more transparency and control while keeping their devices and data secure. Beta 3 for TV includes many of the new privacy features from the Android framework.

  • Microphone and camera indicators: Users will now see any time apps are accessing the microphone or camera by showing an indicator on the TV screen. For better visibility of recent app accesses to microphone and camera, users can visit their privacy settings on TV.

Microphone and camera indicators showing during a video call. Video credit: Ekaterina Bolovtsova.

  • Microphone and camera toggles: Two new global privacy settings are now available, allowing the user to easily toggle access to the microphone or camera. When those toggles are disabled, apps will be unable to access microphone audio and camera video.

Microphone access toggle in a user’s global privacy settings.

  • Device Attestation: To assure that your application is running on certified and authentic hardware, the Android KeyStore API has been extended to support attestation of basic device properties.

The Android 12 Beta 3 release for TV is available as a system update to ADT-3 devices today. Also available in the coming weeks, you can use the preview version of the Android 12 emulator to test and build your apps for TV. We hope this helps you test your Android TV app implementations for the next generation of devices. To learn more about getting your Android TV app ready, visit our Android TV OS developers page.

We can’t wait to see what you will build with Android 12 on TV!

What’s new in Android TV (and Google TV!)

Posted by Ben Serridge, Director of Product Management - TV Platforms and Dan Aharon, Product Manager

Android TV

Today at Google I/O 2021, we announced a significant milestone for our team: we have over 80 million monthly active devices on Android TV OS, with more than 80% growth in the US alone. We would not be here without the hard work of the developer community, so a huge and heartfelt thank you to you all.

Android TV OS is the operating system that powers a number of devices around the world including the new Google TV experience launched last fall. Google TV has generated a lot of excitement from consumers, developers, and industry partners alike, offering a content forward TV experience that helps the user discover more of the movies and shows they love. Google TV is available on streaming devices like the Chromecast with Google TV, smart TVs from Sony (and soon TCL!), and as an app on Android devices. Check out this presentation on how to get your app ready for Google TV.

Our goal is to always enable you to build better and more engaging experiences on Android TV OS. One example of this is the widely utilized Watch Next API which increases app re-engagement by ~30% in certain cases1. Well over 100 major media partners are already using WatchNext API and you can learn more about how to add your app here.

We are also announcing several new tools and helpful features to make developing for Android TV OS easier and enable you to create engaging experiences for your users. Some are already available and some will be available soon:

  • Cast Connect with Stream Transfer and Stream Expansion: Cast Connect allows users to cast from their phone/ tablet or Chrome browser onto your app on Android TV. Stream Transfer and Stream Expansion allow users to transfer media to other devices and/or play audio on multiple devices.
  • Emulator updates: To help you make your app work better on Google TV without requiring new hardware, we are now making our first Google TV Emulator available, running on Android 11. There will also be an Android 11 image with the traditional Android TV experience. You can now also use a remote that more closely mimics TV remotes directly within the Emulator.
  • Firebase Test Lab: Firebase Test Lab runs millions of tests every week on behalf of developers. Following requests from developers, we are excited to share that Firebase Test Lab is adding Android TV support. Firebase Test Lab Virtual Devices run your app in the cloud on Android TV emulators and allow you to scale your test across hundreds or thousands of virtual devices. Physical Devices will be coming soon.
  • Android 12 Beta 1: We are making the Android 12 Beta 1 available for TV on ADT-3 today. With this release the developer community will be able to take advantage of many of the changes and improvements coming with Android 12. We encourage you to try it and provide us with feedback.

Thank you for your continued support of the Android TV OS platform. The future of TV is bright and we can’t wait to see what you build next!

1 Average gain in number of days active in the app in a 28-day period amongst app 28DAUs, based on 3 apps analyzed during the 11/2020 - 2/2021 period.

Introducing Android 11 on Android TV

Posted by Wolfram Klein, Product Manager, Android TV

Android TV graphic

We’ve been turning it up to 11 all summer long, leading up to the launch of Android 11 on mobile. Now, following right behind the mobile release, we are launching Android 11 on Android TV to bring the latest platform features to the big screen.

Android 11 on Android TV introduces performance and privacy improvements, new features tailored for the TV, and updated developer tools, in addition to enabling many of the features we announced during the #11WeeksOfAndroid.

Foundational Improvements

Android TV continues to bring many of the benefits that come with the core Android update to the TV. With Android 11, performance improvements, like enhanced memory management, and privacy features, like one-time permissions, are introduced to make sure TV devices work quickly and securely.

Tailored for the TV

Android 11 emphasizes media by bringing support for Auto Low Latency Mode, and low latency media decoding, along with a new Tuner Framework with updated Media CAS support and extensions to the HAL implementation of HDMI CEC.

With extended gamepad support, silent boot mode for system updates, inactivity prompts, and OEM configurable wake keys, Android 11 allows greater control over TV functions. New framework functionality for managing System LEDs and physical microphone mute buttons also facilitate integrations for far-field microphone enabled devices.

Faster Testing

Testing on the TV is now easier than ever. The addition of test harness mode on Android TV and Play Store support in the Android TV Emulator help you seamlessly inspect your apps as you develop.

Android TV OEM partners will be launching and upgrading devices to Android 11 over the coming months. To help you test your Android TV app implementations for the next generation of devices, Android 11 will be available as a system update to ADT-3 devices today. To learn more about getting your Android TV app ready for Android 11, visit our developers page.

We're looking forward to seeing your apps on Android 11!

Make your Google Meet and Duo calls better—and bigger

2020 may go down as the year of the video call. It’s become an indispensable tool, one we all use more than we likely would have imagined. But meeting fatigue is probably hitting you hard in the afternoon. Using the right devices can make a big difference in making video calls more enjoyable and engaging. Here are a few new ways to use Google Meet and Duo across a series of new devices to create a better meeting experience. 

Take your video calls to the big screen

With Google Meet on Cast, you can turn any room in your house into your own personal conference room, taking advantage of your TV or a Smart Display. Whether you want to step away from the notifications on your laptop or phone to be more present in a meeting or you’re on mute in a larger meeting and want to concentrate on your task at hand, casting to your TV can help you be more productive and stay focused. 

Meet and Cast can also pair up to simplify distance learning. Students can view their classmates and lesson plans on the big screen while working from their laptops, and teachers can get a broader view of their students on a call. 

To get started, you‘ll need to have a Google account, update to the latest version of Chrome and ensure that your Chromecast device has the latest firmware installed. Google Cast functionality is available for all Meet users, and casting works on Chromecast, TVs with built-in Chromecasts and Nest displays.

Duo Cast

The big screen isn’t just for work meetings, though: We also want to make video calling your friends and family better, too. In an effort to bring the video calling experience to more parts of your home, Google Duo is rolling out a Beta on Android TV in the coming weeks. With Google Duo, you can initiate one-on-one and group calls from your TV, and if your TV doesn't have a camera built-in, you can simply plug in a USB camera. 

Meet Hub Max Cast

Beyond TVs, Duo and Meet also work seamlessly with Nest Hub Max. You can simply say “Hey Google, join my next meeting” or “Hey Google, start a group call” and jump right into the video hands free, staying productive from a separate device on your desk.


Build the ultimate home office

Meet Home Office

With the Acer Chromebase and ASUS Remote Meet Kit from Google Meet hardware, you can elevate your work-from-home space into a dedicated home office. Google Meet hardware syncs automatically with Google Calendar so you can join meetings with a single touch, and is built on Chrome OS which brings over-the-air updates, peripheral support and advanced management capabilities. This frees up your laptop for more immersive meetings. 

Video calls aren’t going anywhere. But with new developments from Meet + Cast, Duo, Android TV, Nest Hub Max and Google Meet hardware, they can be a little more enjoyable. 


6 New ways to engage with users on Android TV

Posted by Dan Aharon, Product Manager, Android TV

Android

This blog post is part of a weekly series for #11WeeksOfAndroid. This week we’re focusing on Android Beyond Phones. So what’s new on Android TV?.

With users asking for more TV shows, movies, and apps than ever, the big screen has become a big deal. There are now over 80% more Android TV monthly active devices than a year ago! Working with 7 of the top 10 Smart TV OEMs and over 160 TV Operators has helped give users more options to spruce up their living room with Android TV. But connecting with this many people wouldn’t have been possible without the developer ecosystem building ~7,000 apps for Google Play on Android TV. Together, our users can now watch, play, and do more on their TVs.

Over the past year, we’ve introduced new features to Android TV to make discovering and accessing your content even easier for users. We updated Google Play with a refreshed look and new app collections while making it easier for users to subscribe to apps. We made additions to the Android TV home screen to highlight trending and important content. And most recently, we released Cast Connect, so your users can cast their favorite content directly to its native Android TV app.

We’ve heard from you on how else we can help support you, and we are excited to announce new ways to help you continue to improve engagement and commerce on the TV:

Easier acquisition and monetization

  • Google Play Instant on TV: Get users into your app, fast. Google Play Instant allows users to try your app instantly, without installing it.
Orbia:

Let users try your app instantly on Google Play with Google Play Instant on TV

  • Android TV Emulator with Play Store support: Test your TV projects seamlessly. The Android TV emulator now supports Google Play, so you can test subscriptions faster through the emulator instead of testing on real devices.
  • PIN code purchases: Make purchases easy. Users will soon be able to purchase content with a PIN code instead of a password on Google Play.

More engaging user experiences

  • Gboard TV: Typing on TV made easier. New layouts and features are being added to the Google keyboard on TV, including speech-to-text and predictive typing.
Choose

Use Gboard TV to bring speech-to-text and predictive typing to your app.

  • Auto low latency mode: Make gaming on the TV even smoother. Ask Android TV to disable post-processing, and minimize latency whenever a gaming application is shown fullscreen.
  • Leanback Library Improvements: Simplify app navigation and compatibility with the latest from the leanback library: top tab navigation, paging through media titles and shared code bases across mobile and TV are all simpler now!

This is just the latest for developers. You can find videos, codelabs, and documentation to bring more key features to life on the #11weeksofAndroid site and the Android TV Developers site. Catch the “What’s new on Android TV” video for demos and more info about the features in this post.

If you are just getting started, check out our ADT-3 developer kit and Android 11 Developer Preview to start building your TV experience.

We are excited to see what you come up with next.

Introducing Cast Connect: a better way to integrate Google Cast directly into your Android TV apps

Posted by Meher Vurimi, Product Manager

For more than seven years, Google Cast has made it easy for users to enjoy your content on the big screen with Chromecast or a Chromecast built-in TV. We’re always looking to improve the casting experiences, which is why we’re excited to introduce Cast Connect. This new feature allows users to cast directly to your Android TV app while still allowing control from your sender app.

Why is this helpful?

With Google Cast your app is the remote control - helping users find, play, pause, seek, stop, and otherwise control what they’re watching. It enables you to extend video or audio from your Android, iOS, or Chrome app to a TV or sound system. With Android TV, partners are able to build apps that let users experience your app's immersive content on their TV screen and control with a remote.

With Cast Connect, we are combining the best of both worlds; first, by prioritizing playback via the Android TV app to deliver a richer and more immersive experience, and second, by allowing the user to still control their experience from your Android, iOS or Chrome app, and now, also directly using their Android TV’s remote control. Cast Connect helps the user easily engage with other content directly on the TV instead of only having to use your mobile device to browse for additional content.

Cast Connect User Journey on Stan

Availability

We’re working closely with a number of partners on bringing Cast Connect to their Apps and, most recently, we’re excited to announce that CBS and our Australian SVOD partner, Stan have launched Cast Connect. Starting today, the Cast Connect library is available on Android, iOS and Chrome. To get started with adding Cast Connect to your existing framework, head over to the Google Cast Developers site. Along the way, the Cast SDK team and the developer community are available to help you and answer questions on Stack Overflow by using the google-cast-connect tag.

Happy Casting!

Find new faves faster on Android TV

Ever plop on the couch, turn on your TV, and get lost in a grid of apps? With so many TV apps, it can take over 11 minutes to find something to watch. Luckily, Android TV can make it easier—and now we're making two updates to help you discover and access new favorites.


Highlights on your home screen

Next time you pick up the remote, pop above your favorite apps row and scroll through suggestions or catch a quick trailer to help you find something you’ll love to watch.


We’re now sharing cinematic teasers for the most popular movies and shows handpicked for you by Google Play’s entertainment experts or sponsored by media partners (starting in the U.S.). You can also add in suggestions from your favorite streaming services by linking them to your Google Account from your phone or laptop.

Cinematic teasers.gif

Discover new favorites with highlights on your home screen.

Subscriptions in a snap

With new releases coming out daily, the latest must-see show might be on an app that you haven’t subscribed to. Filling out sign-up forms with your remote or phone can be time consuming, so we're making it easier to subscribe to apps on Google Play. Simply find your app and click on "Subscribe and install." Google will do the rest and set up your account using your email address with just a couple clicks. We're piloting this with a few apps in the U.S., like the premium Starz app, DC Universe, and EPIX NOW, with more to come soon.

Subscribe and install.gif

Easily subscribe to new services with just a few clicks on Google Play.

These features can be accessed on thousands of Android TV streaming devices, TVs, projectors and soundbars from your favorite brands. And if you’re wondering what to watch next, don’t forget to check out NBCUniversal’s Peacock and HBO Max, now available on Android TV devices.

Android 11 Developer Preview on Android TV

Posted by Xiaodao Wu, Developer Advocate

With the rise in quality content that’s keeping us glued to the big screen, it’s no surprise watch time on the TV continues to grow. As users spend more time in their living rooms, they are also looking to get more from their smart TVs and streaming devices. To help developers meet these needs, we are always working to support the latest Android features on Android TV.

Today, we are releasing an Android 11 Developer Preview for Android TV with many privacy, performance, accessibility and connectivity features. More information can be found on the Android 11 Developer Preview web page.

The Android 11 Developer Preview on TV is for developers (not for consumer use), this image is for ADT-3 developer devices only, it is available by manual download and flash. All user data on the ADT-3 device will be wiped out after flash. Once the device has been flashed to Android 11, you will not be able to go back to the previous Android 10 build.

  1. Download the system image (link) and unzip the file.
  2. Plug in the ADT-3 developer kit for Android TV and enable Developer options.
  3. Run flash-all.sh in the unzipped folder to perform manual system image installation to the ADT-3 device.

The flash-all script uses fastboot and adb tools to upgrade the system. The latest version of fastboot is recommended; developers can find it in the Android SDK Platform-Tools package.

We encourage you to test your Android TV app on the Android 11 Developer Preview. If you have any feedback, please reach out to us. We’d love to hear from you.

Tune in to the Android Beyond Phones week of the #11WeeksOfAndroid on August 10th for even more developer resources from Android TV.

Stay entertained and informed from home

While spending more time at home, you might find yourself re-watching your favorite classics, doing game nights with the family and catching up on the TV shows you've been missing. From staying informed on the latest news to tuning in to weekly podcasts or finding what to watch, here are a few ideas to keep your whole family entertained while at home:

A faster way to news and entertainment

Many of us are turning to our TVs to stay up to date and entertained while we stay in. To access fresh news and fun entertainment quickly, you’ll now find three new rows from YouTube right on your Android TV home screen:

  • COVID-19 Newsgives you the latest from authoritative publishers and local health authorities to help you stay informed.
  • Stay Home #WithMe features videos that invite you to cook, listen to live music and work out, so you can stay connected, even if you’re home alone.
  • Free movies from YouTube highlights movies you can watch for free with ads, so that you can find something new.
Android-TV-News-Channel.png

Stay informed and entertained with three new rows from YouTube on the Android TV home screen.

Create your own Watchlist in Search

When you’re deciding on a TV show or movie to watch, there are a lot of options out there. And figuring out what content is available across all your subscriptions can be time consuming and overwhelming. You can already find TV and movie recommendations in Search and today we’re adding a new Watchlist tab on mobile, so that you can keep track of what to watch next.

Browse through personalized recommendations by searching “what to watch.” Then, simply tap “Watchlist” in the preview window for any show or movie to add it to your list. You can navigate between your recommendations and the “Watchlist” tab so you won’t lose track of what’s already been saved. You can also add content to your Watchlist whenever you search for a show or movie. To quickly access your full watchlist, search for “my watchlist” or tap on Collections in the Google app.

PIXEL-3_watchlist-1.png

Keep track of what to watch next with the new Watchlist in Search.

Entertainment deals you won’t want to miss

Google Play also has a collection of special deals including offers on apps for movies, TV and comics and fun ways to learn something new. If you’re looking to game with friends, you can #PlayApartTogether and explore these multiplayer games. For a throwback option, we’ve compiled a few retro arcade games to bring back childhood memories. In the U.S., we’ve also extended the free trial for Google Play Pass to 30 days to give you and your family more time to enjoy games and apps without ads or in-app purchases.
Group 3.png

Browse games to #PlayApartTogether with family and friends.

If you’re looking for apps on your big screen, Google Play is adding more collections to Android TV. Your favorite streaming apps are now organized in one row under “Stream the shows and movies you love.” You can also pick up a new hobby or skill with TV apps under “Learn new things.” If gaming on the TV is more your style, you can now find games to “Play with your remote” and “Play with your gamepad.”

Play-Games-Collections (1).png

Find games and apps in Google Play’s collections on Android TV.

We’re offering gamers in 14 countries free access to Stadia Pro for two months, which includes instant access to nine games, including GRID, Destiny 2: The Collection and Thumper. If you’re already a paid Stadia Pro subscriber, you won’t be charged for the next two months.

Get a little help using just your voice

And whether you want to catch up on your favorite podcast or you want to spend some quality time with family or roommates, Google Assistant and Nest have got you covered. 

  • Game night:If you’re looking for trivia or quiz games to play, just say, “Hey Google, let’s play a game.” Or if you already know what you want to play, say, “Hey Google, play Are You Feeling Lucky.”

  • Kick back with a podcast:Search interest in “podcasts” hit an all-time high, worldwide. Ask Google Assistant for a particular podcast by saying, “Hey Google, play [podcast name]” or it will pick one for you if you say “Hey Google, find me a podcast about cooking.” If you have a Nest Mini, Nest Hub or Nest Hub Max, the Ambient IQ feature will adjust the volume for you.

  • View your home movies easily:Watch videos and slideshows you’ve made in Google Photos using Chromecast. From the Google Photos app you can send videos and pictures to your TV by tapping the cast icon. With a Google Nest speaker you can simply ask, “Hey Google, show my 2018 summer vacation video on my TV.”

Lifestyle_Chromecast_Family_Shot_24_EH-0086_noblur_rgb.png

Ask Google Assistant to cast your family photos and videos to your TV.

These updates and features are already available or coming this week. Check them out to keep the whole family entertained at home.

Stay entertained and informed from home

While spending more time at home, you might find yourself re-watching your favorite classics, doing game nights with the family and catching up on the TV shows you've been missing. From staying informed on the latest news to tuning in to weekly podcasts or finding what to watch, here are a few ideas to keep your whole family entertained while at home:

A faster way to news and entertainment

Many of us are turning to our TVs to stay up to date and entertained while we stay in. To access fresh news and fun entertainment quickly, you’ll now find three new rows from YouTube right on your Android TV home screen:

  • COVID-19 Newsgives you the latest from authoritative publishers and local health authorities to help you stay informed.
  • Stay Home #WithMe features videos that invite you to cook, listen to live music and work out, so you can stay connected, even if you’re home alone.
  • Free movies from YouTube highlights movies you can watch for free with ads, so that you can find something new.
Android-TV-News-Channel.png

Stay informed and entertained with three new rows from YouTube on the Android TV home screen.

Create your own Watchlist in Search

When you’re deciding on a TV show or movie to watch, there are a lot of options out there. And figuring out what content is available across all your subscriptions can be time consuming and overwhelming. You can already find TV and movie recommendations in Search and today we’re adding a new Watchlist tab on mobile, so that you can keep track of what to watch next.

Browse through personalized recommendations by searching “what to watch.” Then, simply tap “Watchlist” in the preview window for any show or movie to add it to your list. You can navigate between your recommendations and the “Watchlist” tab so you won’t lose track of what’s already been saved. You can also add content to your Watchlist whenever you search for a show or movie. To quickly access your full watchlist, search for “my watchlist” or tap on Collections in the Google app.

PIXEL-3_watchlist-1.png

Keep track of what to watch next with the new Watchlist in Search.

Entertainment deals you won’t want to miss

Google Play also has a collection of special deals including offers on apps for movies, TV and comics and fun ways to learn something new. If you’re looking to game with friends, you can #PlayApartTogether and explore these multiplayer games. For a throwback option, we’ve compiled a few retro arcade games to bring back childhood memories. In the U.S., we’ve also extended the free trial for Google Play Pass to 30 days to give you and your family more time to enjoy games and apps without ads or in-app purchases.
Group 3.png

Browse games to #PlayApartTogether with family and friends.

If you’re looking for apps on your big screen, Google Play is adding more collections to Android TV. Your favorite streaming apps are now organized in one row under “Stream the shows and movies you love.” You can also pick up a new hobby or skill with TV apps under “Learn new things.” If gaming on the TV is more your style, you can now find games to “Play with your remote” and “Play with your gamepad.”

Play-Games-Collections (1).png

Find games and apps in Google Play’s collections on Android TV.

We’re offering gamers in 14 countries free access to Stadia Pro for two months, which includes instant access to nine games, including GRID, Destiny 2: The Collection and Thumper. If you’re already a paid Stadia Pro subscriber, you won’t be charged for the next two months.

Get a little help using just your voice

And whether you want to catch up on your favorite podcast or you want to spend some quality time with family or roommates, Google Assistant and Nest have got you covered. 

  • Game night:If you’re looking for trivia or quiz games to play, just say, “Hey Google, let’s play a game.” Or if you already know what you want to play, say, “Hey Google, play Are You Feeling Lucky.”

  • Kick back with a podcast:Search interest in “podcasts” hit an all-time high, worldwide. Ask Google Assistant for a particular podcast by saying, “Hey Google, play [podcast name]” or it will pick one for you if you say “Hey Google, find me a podcast about cooking.” If you have a Nest Mini, Nest Hub or Nest Hub Max, the Ambient IQ feature will automatically adjust the volume when there's background noise.

  • View your home movies easily:Watch videos and slideshows you’ve made in Google Photos using Chromecast. From the Google Photos app you can send videos and pictures to your TV by tapping the cast icon. With a Google Nest speaker you can simply ask, “Hey Google, show my 2018 summer vacation video on my TV.”

Lifestyle_Chromecast_Family_Shot_24_EH-0086_noblur_rgb.png

Ask Google Assistant to cast your family photos and videos to your TV.

These updates and features are already available or coming this week. Check them out to keep the whole family entertained at home.

Source: Search