Tag Archives: Android TV

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


How to be healthy at home

Right now, your home could be an office, a gym, a playground or even your own personal restaurant where all of your friends (virtually) hang out. While we’re all trying to figure out how to stay well and adjust to health routines at home, search interest in “exercise” and “handwashing” have reached an all-time high. Since health and wellness are top of mind right now, here are a few resources to help you be well.


Make the most of your time at home

YouTube is encouraging the world to Stay Home #WithMe by featuring videos from creators that help you promote mental and physical wellbeing while you’re at home. Check out topics ranging from “Meditate With Me” to “Work Out With Me” and “Dance With Me.”

Stay Home and help those who can’t.

Staying healthy can mean breaking a sweat while exercising or sitting still and calming your mind. Google Play has created a collection of special deals and free content for “Workout & wellness” and “Mindfulness & meditation.” Google Play also has feature roundups of apps by category for when you’re at home to help you “Sleep well & find balance” and “Stay healthy & work out.” 

Google Play Offers (1).png

Google Play is featuring special offers on helpful apps while you’re at home.

Also on Android TV, Google Play is adding new collections to help you find useful apps for your smart TV quickly.  Starting with the “Stay mindful & fit” collection in the U.S., you can easily find apps like Peloton, which offers workouts that can be done with or without equipment, to help you get moving right in your living room. “Stay mindful and fit” will be rolling out to Google Play on Android TV devices starting this week.

Stay-Mindful-and-fit-category.png

New app categories for Google Play on Android TV surface useful apps for your TV.

You can also kickstart a workout by asking Google Assistant, “Hey Google, show me workout videos” and follow a YouTube tutorial on your Smart Display, like Nest Hub Max, or on your phone.

 

Performance at a glance

Whether you're in the middle of your at-home workout, yoga session or taking a quick jog around the block, the latest Google Fit update on iOS and Android app bring bold text and bright visuals to the design, making it easier for quick check-ins on your activity goals. You’ll also start to see tips from WHO for reducing the risk of catching or spreading infections.

Fit update.png

Google Fit redesign makes it easier to check progress towards activity goals.

On Wear OS by Google smartwatches, we've made it easier to keep track of your at-home workouts and see how you’re doing throughout the day or week at a glance. The latest design includes visual updates to the Heart Points tile which now shows your progress toward the World Health Organization-recommended amount of physical activity. We’ve also added a new Workout tile to start tracking your go-to workouts with just one tap.

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Wear OS by Google tiles bring quicker access to the best of Google Fit.

Help washing your hands

WHO recommends washing your hands for 40 seconds, which might be longer than you’re used to. Over the last month, search interest for "hand washing songs" spiked 850 percent in the U.S. To stick to 40 seconds, simply say, “Hey Google, help me wash my hands” and Google Assistant will play a song on your Smart Display, smart speaker, phone (Android and iOS) or Wear OS by Google smartwatch with speakers. If you want to skip the tunes, Google Assistant can set you up with a 40 second timer, or on Wear OS you can now add a hand-wash timer as a tile or as a shortcut on your watch face.
washinghands.gif

Get help washing your hands for 40 seconds.

These new features are all currently available, or rolling out in the coming weeks. We’re also always adding more apps and content to our collections, so stay on the lookout for more ways to stay healthy.

Cable TV meets Android TV: a new way to watch

Has TV become too much of a good thing? We have more entertainment choices than ever, but juggling remotes and switching inputs has become a way of life. Start by catching up on your DVR, switch to an app on your streaming device, turn to your favorite game on your console—it’s tough to keep track of what’s where. 


TV providers have been teaming up with Android TV to make things more simple. With the launch of AT&T TV nationwide in the U.S. today, there are now over 160 TV providers making new experiences that let you do all your watching—and more—in one place.


So grab your popcorn and check out the features your provider’s TV experience has to offer when it’s powered by Android TV.


One Place. One Remote. All your favorite ways to watch. 


Sports, news, channels, apps—you name it. In addition to live TV, on-demand, and DVR, you can now download over 5,000 apps and games right on your provider’s TV box. No more HDMI switching or looking for a different remote. Just visit Google Play in your apps tab to download your favorites.


A faster way to the entertainment you love


Not sure what to watch? Ask the Google Assistant to "find action movies", and get quick recommendations from across live TV and your apps. You can even change the channel, pause live TV, or ask your DVR to record a show all with your voice. Press the Google Assistant button on your remote and ask “what can you do” to get started.


Do even more in your home with your voice


The Google Assistant isn’t just for controlling your TV. When that horror movie gets a bit too scary, you can turn on the lights and check your security cams from the safety of your sofa. Try creating a custom routine so you can say a simple command like “movie night” to switch on your favorite movie channel, adjust your blinds, and start the popcorn machine.


Put your small screen on your big screen


Chromecast is built into your TV box, so you can easily cast videos, photos, music and more from your phone to your TV. With your TV in the center of the home, it’s the perfect place to show photos from your recent trip or play music while you do chores.


Next time you lay down on your couch, remember these tips to watch, play, and do more, right on your Android TV powered set-top box.