Android TV Preview – Google wants to re-conquer the television




Most smart TV platforms are not too smart and they work very smoothly either. Already in 2010 I decided therefore to own software platform for televisions fangled: Google TV. Several major manufacturers joined the initiative and example, Sony and LG TVs brought out which had run Google software. Google TV was a real success, however, and the end of 2013 began to sing the rumor that Google would come. Around with a new platform That platform was on Google’s annual developer conference I / O presented this week and called Android TV.

Android TV at Google I / O

According to Google Android TV should be seen as a new start for Android on televisions, though under the hood part builds on Google TV. The interface is certainly new, it is immediately apparent when you are going there for the first time, get to work. The main screen consists of blocks of rectangular tiles, somewhat similar to the interface of Windows 8. However, you scroll vertically, not horizontally. The blocks are grouped by type: there are apps, games and content, the latter is recommended based on previous behavior with the system.

Android TV at Google I / O Android TV at Google I / O Android TV at Google I / O Android TV at Google I / O

Is indicated by what service the content is delivered every tile. Example is that Google’s own Play Movies service, then you will see when you click on the movie, with a short description, a link to the trailer and the possibility to rent the content or purchasing an overview. How exactly will be working with other content providers is not clear now. However, it is clear that it will be possible to install separate applications; the demo systems for example, was a client of Plex to find, but also YouTube, TED and Netflix.

For the operation, there are several possibilities. The demo setup Google uses a bluetooth game controller, but it should also be possible to use a physical remote control or a tablet or smartphone with a virtual remote control. As long as the input device but has a d-pad to scroll through the content around it should work.
Fast and smooth

What I immediately noticed is that Android TV works very smooth, much smoother than many smart TV solutions for television manufacturers, including LG recently applied by webOS. Android TV might look less ‘slick’ than webOS, but the interface is very simple and we think people will be able to. Quickly able to deal with One of the reasons why the interface works smoothly, is that Google uses fast hardware. The set-top boxes which the platform was demonstrated, were powered by a four-soc Nvidia Tegra with 2GB memory. Manufacturers will not have many opportunities to save money on the hardware, as they do now at cheaper TVs sometimes. Google will in fact set minimum requirements to ensure that Android TV always runs well.

Android TV at Google I / O Android TV at Google I / O Android TV at Google I / O Android TV at Google I / O

Android TV has a deep integration with Google’s search services and voice recognition, something we saw demonstrated during the keynote, but did not try. Himself in the demo lineup due to technical problems The voice control is linked to the same search backend that Google uses for its search engine and Google Now, giving users a powerful tool behoorljik get their hands on. Thus, it is possible to search for ‘movies with an Oscar nomination in 1994. The movie Forrest Gump will then find the search results. If the film is available at one of the services which the app is running on television, such as Google’s own Play Movies & TV, it is possible to rent or buy, and then start. The movie directly from the search results
For live TV

Google stressed that Android TV is not only suitable to display streaming video, but can also handle live TV, complete with program guide. The software is not meant as just a media player, although there will also come set-top boxes, but can also serve as a complete replacement for the software that a manufacturer would normally install. On his television From Android TV can then be switched programs, but also switch between different inputs or changing the channel order can be done from Google’s software.

Android TV at Google I / O Android TV at Google I / O

With no software manufacturer runs more, all settings menus, and also, for example calibration options will be accessible from the Android TV interface. All these options are then grouped into a settings menu, whose icon is on the far left corner of the home screen is. Because television manufacturers obviously want to press on the interface, their mark will be possible for them to provide the software from a skin and add their own logos. Not every Android TV TVs will thus have the same look and feel, though, Google have some basic rules, so the three blocks of recommended items, apps and games will always be visible.

Besides watching video, Google has another usage scenario in mind: gaming. Because Android TV is based on Android, existing games with little effort can be transferred. The biggest hurdle is adding support for game controllers, because of course there is no touch screen is available to control the game. We could even try the game functionality with Need for Speed ​​Most Wanted, and looked at a large television not bad off. It is obviously not comparable to the quality of a modern console or PC game, but developments in the field of mobile hardware to go fast and we are wondering what is going to be like for example Nvidia’s Tegra K1, a chip with a powerful potential gpu, becomes available.

Our first encounter with Android TV was very positive. The interface is simple and works smoothly, and because the system is based on Android, app makers will be able to make their software. Appropriate in a relatively short time We had a few years back, however, can be said about Google TV, and we know that this system really has not come off the ground. Despite all the potential What are the chances of Android TV? Reasonably well; in 2015, Sony and Sharp TVs deliver that use Android TV and various manufacturers bring before the end of the year, set-top boxes on the market. However, not all manufacturers are on board; Samsung and LG conspicuously absent focuses completely on webOS. Product will not lie, but the time to determine whether the companies that Google TV had been abandoned or will run Android TV warm.


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