Google TV update improves performance, frees up storage space, and more

Google has announced a few new updates rolling out to devices running the Google TV version of Android TV, such as the Chromecast 4K and Onn 4K Box. These updates, most of which will arrive as system app updates through the Google Play Store, are focused on improving the performance of the device, reducing the amount of internal storage space taken up by pre-installed apps, and tweaking the Live TV tab by adding a couple of new rows.

The speed improvements provided by this latest Google TV update come in the form of reduced memory (i.e., RAM) usage. Google says it “simplified basic system apps so they run even lighter.” Google also reduced the memory usage of the home screen by “optimizing” the way recommendation rows are loaded. The home screen should also feel snappier because Google is “preloading rows of movies and shows before scrolling, optimizing the way tabs load, and ensuring results load more quickly when using search.”

To free up more internal storage space, Google says it “made changes to device setup to reduce the size of preinstalled apps you don’t use.” That makes it sound like the options configured during the initial setup process will determine which system apps are pre-installed, so make your choices wisely when configuring a new device.

The final changes added by these updates bring two new rows to the Live TV tab, which is where you’ll find the over 100 built-in free ad-supported channels. First, Google has added a new “Recents” menu item to the sidebar on the left of the channel guide. As you likely guessed, the channels you watched most recently will be listed in this new section. The second new section is “Local news” where news channels “for your area” will be listed.

  1. xnamkcor says:

    Does this mean current owners might gain from doing a factory reset and re-doing the initialisation?

    • I was wondering if that was the case as well, but I don’t know the answer. If you’re running low on storage space, I’d say it’s worth going through the trouble of factory resetting in a few weeks, once you’re sure the update has likely arrived. I don’t think it’s worth doing if you’re not low on storage.

  2. Scott Green says:

    Since Google TV Chromecast had a security breach,is the OS safe to use or should I go back to the fire stick or the Walmart Onn box?

    • If you’re referring to the recent exploit that bypassed Android Verified Boot, you’re fine as long as your device is up to date, as the exploit has been patched. New exploits are found on both Google TV and Fire TV devices all the time so there’s no avoiding them entirely. If you’re concerned, all you can do is keep the device updated and be careful not to install questionable apps.

  3. Joe says:

    I’m wondering if Google will pay me for watching ad supported TV?

  4. Paul R says:

    Seems this does nothing to address the dire implementation of Dolby Vision? I’m so disappointed by the video output of these Chromecast 4k devices, loads of nits less than native apps (and even Sky Q), leaving the image dull and washed out.

  5. Robert Ruiz Jr says:

    So we’ve had a breach… Anything else I should be aware of? ‍

  6. Dave Bailey says:

    I just bought one of these (4k Chromcast) devices and it will not run the app Phigolf World Tour. Does this device support all apps from the Playstore? If so please pass this info along so it can be fixed. Thanks!

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