While there have been several smart TVs that have adopted Google TV, the version of Android TV that uses Google’s newer interface, the only stand-alone streaming media player running Google TV has been the 2020 Chromecast with Google TV. That changes with the release of a new streaming stick from Realme in India this week. Additionally, there are a couple of new features coming to Google TV next month. Here’s an overview of the new streaming device and those new Google TV features.
The “Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick“, as it’s officially called, has launched in India for ₹3,999 ($55 USD). Realme is an offshoot of OPPO, the biggest smartphone manufacturer in China. The stick supports 4K video at 60fps and HDR10+ through its HDMI 2.1 connection, but there is no support for Dolby Vision or Dolby Atmos. It has 2GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. Realme only lists the CPU as being a quad-core ARM Cortex-A35 processor, but I suspect it is using an Amlogic S905Y4 SoC, which would likely put it on par with the Chromecast in performance. Interestingly, Realme has opted to use its own custom remote instead of the Google-designed G10 remote. There has been no indication that the stick will be sold outside of India.
As for new Google TV features, the interface is finally getting user profiles. Kids profiles were added earlier this year, but now that will expand to adult profiles as well. Each profile will have its own watchlist and recommendations. The feature should be rolling out next month in the US.
Another change coming to Google TV is information cards that will be displayed when the device is idle, just prior to the screensaver starting. The smart display-like feature will show weather, sports scores, news, and other information that can be scrolled through with the remote. Podcast and music apps will also be able to display cards. I’m willing to bet that these new information cards will eventually, if not immediately, display ads, much like the Fire TV’s screensaver ads. This is also expected to arrive next month in the US only.