Over the last few weeks, there have been several newsworthy bits of information about Android TV and Google TV devices. Here’s a roundup of that news, which includes insight into new internal storage minimums, Nest, Fitbit, and Wear OS hardware integration, Tivo’s more into Smart TVs, and various software updates.
Google recently had a closed-door meeting with TV manufacturers that revealed some interesting insight into the future of Android TV and Google TV smart TVs, according to Janko Roettgers from Protocol. For starters, Google wants future smart TVs running its OS to integrate with fitness trackers to enable interactive video workouts. This would allow you to see real-time data, like heart rate and burned calorie counts, from Fitbit and Wear OS devices on the TV. This capability is said to roll out on 2023 at the earliest.
Google also wants smart home devices to integrate more closely with Android TV and Google TV devices. The plan is to allow easier access to smart home controls and security cameras, perhaps like Amazon has done with the Fire TV’s Smart Home Dashboard. Google also wants its TV OS to integrate directly with Nest speakers so that they can be used as wireless speakers for your TV, much like the Fire TV’s ability to create a home theater grouping with Echo speakers. Lastly, Google wants to add its Fast Pair tech to Google TV so that its Pixel Buds can quickly connect. That may come as early as this year.
Google also talked about suggested minimum hardware requirements for future Android TV and Google TV devices that will run Android 13. Google wants manufacturers to support Bluetooth 5.0 and have a minimum of 16 GB of internal storage. While Amazon’s most recent streamer, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max, was launched with only 8 GB of internal storage, there hasn’t been a Fire TV Smart TV released recently with less than 16 GB of internal storage, so we might finally be seeing the end of 8 GB devices.
While the above features aren’t expected to arrive anytime soon, 9to5Google recently discovered that Google is edging a lot closer to its promise of adding free ad-supported channels to Google TV devices. A recent update to the Android TV launcher contains code for this upcoming change and hints at the addition of 50 channels. These channels are expected to be integrated directly into Google TV without needing to install any apps.
Moving on to Tivo news, we’ve known for over a year now that Tivo is planning to shift its focus away from devices running Android TV, like its Tivo Stream 4K dongle, and toward its own OS that will run directly on smart TVs. NextTV is now reporting that Tivo has reached an agreement with a “leading tier 2 provider that makes multiple TV sets under multiple brands” for its new embedded OS. The new OS is said to be based on Vewd OS, formerly known as Opera TV, which Tivo’s parent company Xperi acquired. The new TVs and TV OS is expected to be released sometime next year.
As for existing Android TV and Google TV devices, 9to5Google reported that Google recently listed an August 2022 update for the Google Chromecast with Google TV as “coming soon.” Unfortunately, that update has since been changed to September 2022, so it’ll be a bit longer for the next Chromecast udpate. Walmart, on the other hand, has recently pushed an update to its Onn streaming devices, as spotted by Reddit user BennyBennyliu. The update just adds three months worth of security patches, which brings the device up to using Google’s May 2022 security patches. This now makes brings Walmart’s device up to par with Google’s Chromecast as far as security updates are concerned.
Lastly, Nvidia pushed its Shield Experience 9.1 update to its Shield TV devices about a month ago. With this update, the Shield TV is now capable of automatically switching your TV into low-latency/Game mode when playing a game. Nvidia also added a night listening mode to the Shield TV which levels out the device’s audio so that loud explosions are quieter and quiet dialog is louder.