When I released my Downloader app on the Google Play Store for Android TV devices, I was forced to remove the built-in browser because Google would otherwise not approve the app. I’m happy to say that I have come up with a solution that allows Android TV users to restore the browser part of the app back in by sideloading a browser plugin that I am releasing today. Read more ›
Many of you have asked for this for a while and now it’s here. My Downloader app is now available in the Google Play Store for Android TV devices. It took much more work than I originally expected to make the app work on Android TV and get accepted into the Android TV appstore. This is mostly because Google would not accept the app for Android TV if it had a built-in web browser, which is pretty ridiculous because there are already approved browsers for Android TV in the Google Play Store. I was unfortunately forced to disable the browser in the app to get it accepted, but it is finally available for the NVIDIA Sheild TV, Mi Box, Nexus Player, and all other Android TV devices. Read more ›
Google has revealed that they’re working on a completely revamped version of the Android TV home screen launcher. The new launcher may seem like just a list of vertically stacked rows containing content recommendations, but there’s a lot more going on under the surface. Here are the top 10 things we know so far about the new launcher. Read more ›
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Tagged with: Android TV
Google’s I/O developer conference started today and the company held their big keynote presentation where they ran through all the new updates coming to their various products. Much like last year and the year before that, Google spent less than 30 seconds this year talking about Android TV. Even though there was much more said about TV in general this year, it was focused entirely on how Google’s voice assistant interacts with Chromecast and YouTube. What was said about Android TV is that the platform would be gaining support for Google’s voice assistant and getting a new home screen launcher later this year when Android O, the upcoming version of Android, is released. Read more ›
Google’s Android TV has supported live channel viewing for a couple years now. The feature was mainly added for televisions that ship with Android TV as their main operating system, but it also works with set-top boxes, like the NVIDIA Shield TV, when teamed up with networked antenna tuners, like the HDHomeRun devices. SilconDust, the makers of HDHomeRun, have announced that they’ve worked with Google to support native DVR capabilities with Android TV’s live channels interface. Read more ›
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Tagged with: Android TV
I got a chance to see and play around with the new NVIDIA Shield TV that was announced at CES. Here’s initial hands on impressions of the first Android TV streaming device that comes with an Amazon Video app. Read more ›
I just had some hands on time with the new 2nd-gen NVIDIA Shield TV that was just revealed last night at CES. Seeing how it’s the first Android TV streaming box to have an official Amazon Video app, I jumped immediately into the app to have a look around. Read more ›
Those of you hoping for a new Nexus Player, or even just acknowledgement that Android TV exists, out of Google’s big hardware focused event today are out of luck. Like has been mostly the case for the last two years, Google has once again ignored Android TV as a thing that they make. The only mention of Android TV during the entire presentation was when discussing Google Home’s ability to “Voice Cast” and control playback on Chromecast and “any Google Cast enabled TVs, like Android TVs.” Even then, the context involved Android TV as the operating system for televisions, and not independent set top devices. It seems more evident than ever that the future of Android TV for Google is for it to become just a free OS for televisions manufacturers to use, that helps Google slowly creep into everyone’s living room.
Xiaomi Mi Box, the latest streaming box that runs official Android TV, is expected to be officially released on October 10th. The device began unexpectedly appearing on Walmart shelves last week ahead of its official release date, which has not been announced yet. An AFTVnews reader has informed me that Walmart’s checkout registers have been updated to not allow the device to be purchased until October 10th, so it seems that may be the official release date. Read more ›
Xiaomi’s 4K capable Android TV Mi Box has made its way to Walmart store shelves ahead of its scheduled release date. The most surprising thing is the previously unknown price. At just $69, it’s now the least expensive 4K streaming box running an official version of Android TV. The Mi Box was announced at Google I/O earlier this year as the 4th member of the Android TV family of devices, but really it’s the only one you should be considering other than the NVIDIA Shield TV, since the Forge TV and Nexus Player are dead in the water. The Mi Box features a quad-core 2Ghz processor, 2GB of RAM, and 8GB of storage. One of its biggest advantages over the Fire TV 2, other than the lower price and HDR support, is its ability to play 4K UHD UltraViolet content through a VUDU app. Huge thanks to Trent for the heads up and for providing the above images!
Google has stopped selling the Nexus Player, their first Android TV device. The Nexus Player page on the Google Store has been removed in its entirety and Google has stated it will not return. The 18 month old device never quite took off in sales, nor did it receive terribly favorable reviews. Android TV isn’t going anywhere, although it’s a bit disconcerting that a successor to the Nexus Player was never released. While there will be a new Android TV set top box released later this year by Xiaomi, the platform seems to be having the most success as a TV operating system. Several new televisions running Android TV are expected to arrive later this year.
Xiaomi has announced that they’ll be bringing an updated version of their Mi Box settop box to US customers later this year. The updated device will be similar to their current model, but most importantly will now run Android TV, making it the fourth official Android TV settop box to be released. The new Mi Box will feature 4K video support at 60fps through an HDMI 2.0a port. It will also be capable of HDR, Dolby Digital Plus, and DTS surround sound. The box will come with a Bluetooth voice remote, while an optional game controller, which appears to be identical to their existing game controller, will be sold separately. Read more ›
Much like last year, Google spent just a few seconds talking about Android TV during their opening keynote presentation today at their anual Google I/O conference. The only thing they mentioned regarding Android TV was that they will be adding a picture-in-picture feature with the upcoming Android N software update. While watching a video, Android TV users will be able to enable picture-in-picture mode to shrink the playing video into a small window in the upper right corner of the screen. From there, it appears you’ll be able to navigate the Android TV interface and possibly even launch apps while the video plays in the corner. The demo shown during the presentation depicted a user watching a news video, entering picture-in-picture through an on-screen menu, searching for a game, and installing the game, all while the video continued to play.
When Amazon created Fire OS 5 for the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, they integrated some of Android TV’s backend code into the release for developers to take advantage of. Perhaps we’ll see a similar picture-in-picture feature make its way to Fire TV devices when Fire OS gets updated to use Android N as its base operating system.
When Razer acquired OUYA’s software assets earlier this year to incorporate into their Forge TV box, only to dissapear from Amazon and the Google Store last month, the future of the Android TV based box looked bleak. Razer responded to speculation that the Forge TV was dead, saying they were “doubling-down” on the device. Now they’ve released a software update with the fruits of their labor.
Razer has launched their new Cortex game store with a library of games brought over from the OUYA aquisition. They’re also offering OUYA owners a $50 discount on the Forge TV, as well as a $10 Cortex store credit. OUYA owners will receive an email with details on how to redeem the offer. It’s great to see Razer breathing new life into the Forge TV, but one has to wonder, with the Fire TV and the Shield TV being so dominant in the space, if there’s a future for the Forge TV.
The Forge TV, an Android TV box made by Razer, is now no longer available from the Google Store. This could be the first sign of Razer exiting the Android TV market. The Forge TV was announced at CES in January and released in April of this year. The device had decent hardware specs but launched to poor reviews due to buggy software and a lack of Netflix, an app that is still unavailable on the device to this day. Razer is still selling the Forge TV, as is Amazon, but being dropped from the Google Store is not a good sign for the device’s future, nor is it good for Android TV’s future. Read more ›
Sundar Pichai, Google’s Senior Vice President of Products, took to the stage this morning to kick off Google I/O, the company’s largest annual event. The opening keynote presentation is where Google talks about and reveals information regarding their most important products, and is where Google announced Android TV a year ago. As Pichai, one-by-one, talked about each of Google’s top services, he eventually came to Android TV where he spent just 30 seconds on the subject. He mentioned the operating system would be released on Sony and Sharp TVs in the US and on Philips TVs in Europe. Pichai then covered Android TVs “streaming console” offerings by mentioning the Nvidia Shield and that “Razor has one.” He finished by saying that Android TV has doubled its user base in the last 3 months. Two hours later, the keynote ended without ever mentioning Android TV again.
Sundar Pichai ended today’s big keynote by saying “This is why [Google] I/O is so exciting for us. We get to share what we’ve been up to in the last year.” The fact that Android TV was virtually omitted from the presentation this year, when it was such a large part of last years keynote, doesn’t bode well for Google’s commitment to the platform. It’s not an indication of Google abandoning Android TV as a failure by any means, but I expected more than just a brief acknowledgement of its existence. The more competition the Fire TV has, the more likely Amazon will continue to push the platform forward with new features. I just hope the new Apple TV, rumored to be released next month, gives the Fire TV some competition.