Tag Archives: Androidtv

App Bundles for Google TV and Android TV

Posted by Josh Wentz, Product Management, Google TV

TLDR: Google TV and Android TV will be requiring Android App Bundles that are archivable starting in May 2023 to save storage for users.

Over the past few decades, TV has transformed from linear channel surfing to on-demand content with multi-app experiences. Today, over 10,000 apps are available on Android TV OS. While software has grown exponentially, TV hardware has remained limited in capacity compared to its phone counterparts. In 2022, smartphones often have a minimum storage size of 64GB, but smart TVs have an average of just 8GB. Less storage results in users having to uninstall apps, hindering their overall TV experience. To help with this problem and others, Android introduced App Bundles in Nov 2020.

What are Android App Bundles?

Android App Bundles” (AABs) are the standard publishing format on Google Play (phones, tablets, TVs, etc) that have replaced “Android Package Kits” (APKs). App Bundles are smaller, faster, fresher, and better than its precursor. Key benefits include:

  1. Smaller Download/Storage Size - App Bundles create an average of 20% total size savings compared to its equivalent APK counterpart by optimizing for each device.
  2. Less Likely to Uninstall - Since App Bundles enables users with the option to archive (which reclaims ~60% of app storage), users can keep these and more apps on their TV despite limited storage. A quick archive/unarchive user interface is built-in to the TV. Developers can also maintain state for a frictionless later return.
  3. Applicable to All Android Surfaces - App Bundles are helpful for all Android surfaces using the Google Play store including TV, phone, tablet, watch, auto, & more.
  4. Streamlined Delivery & Security - For easier delivery, a single artifact with all of your app's code & resources allows Play store to dynamically serve an optimized app for each device configuration. For greater security, developers can also reset the upload key if it’s lost or compromised.

What is new for TV?

With TV storage confined and users having an increasing appetite for more apps, Google TV and Android TV will be requiring App Bundles starting in May 2023. While this provides about 6-months to transition, we estimate that in most cases it will take one engineer about 3-days to migrate an existing TV app from Android Package Kit (APK) to Android App Bundle (AAB). While developers can configure archiving for their mobile apps, TV apps are required to be archivable so that all users and developers can benefit on storage-constrained TVs.

For TV apps not transitioned in time, Google may hide such apps from the TV surface. If you’re working on a brand new TV app, be sure to use Android App Bundles from the start!

How can TV apps transition?

Visit our Developer Guide to learn more about how to migrate to an Android App Bundle (AAB).

All told, App Bundles bring a delightful experience to both you as developers and your users, especially in the living room. Thank you for your partnership in creating immersive content and entertainment experiences for the future of 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.


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!

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!