Google TV is an effective identify – so good, actually, that Google has used it twice. That implies that the query ‘What’s Google TV?’ requires qualification earlier than we get into apps, options, units and every thing you might want to know.
The Google TV we’re speaking about right here is the platform launched in late-2020 that made its debut on the Chromecast with Google TV streamer and is about to reach on good TVs later this 12 months.
The primary use of the Google TV identify was the unique good TV platform from Intel, Sony, and Logitech that was launched again in 2010 and ultimately grew to become Android TV. Now coming full circle, the identify has returned, however this time as a extremely usable and intuitive pores and skin to take a seat on prime of the Android TV 10 working system.
Simply to confuse issues additional, Google TV additionally seems to be the identify that Google is utilizing to rebrand its Google Play Motion pictures & TV video-on-demand streaming service, which is offered by means of the Google TV interface.
So now that is cleared up, learn on to search out out whether or not Google TV (the UI) is any good, what apps you may get on it and which good TVs it’s going to seem on.
Google TV vs Android TV 10: is Android TV useless?
The re-introduction of the Google TV model identify as a wise TV system is just a little complicated, significantly in parallel with the time period ‘Android TV’ which seems to be staying in the interim.
Android TV is the working system that runs each of the good TV platforms. They’ve the identical core so, primarily, Google TV is Android TV with a face-lift. Beneath, it is the Android TV system, however there is a totally different strategy to the way it seems to be, feels and the way the content material is organised.
Till lately, Android TV has seemed extra quaint, however Google is rolling out a UI update to Android TV to provide it a distinctly Google flavour. It is now a four-tab expertise with a extra dynamic background. It additionally has a much bigger deal with content material suggestion than earlier than.
That replace is an enormous indication that Google plans to run each manufacturers in tandem. So, whereas not all Android TV units will get the Google TV UI in 2021, the inventory Android TV expertise must be vastly improved.
In fact, Google could ultimately shift in the direction of utilizing solely the Google TV identify (except licensing points stop that). However, no matter occurs, the Android TV OS runs the present beneath Google TV. So, in that sense, Android TV won’t ever die.
Is Google TV good?
We took a detailed have a look at the Google TV UI in our evaluation of the Chromecast with Google TV, singling it out as one of many prime options of the machine. It is arguably the most effective TV OS expertise on the market – straightforward on the attention, extremely helpful for content material ideas and simple to navigate with both voice or distant. A lot of the success boils all the way down to these TV and movie suggestions.
Google has a vested curiosity in promoting you its personal video content material, nevertheless it reins in that urge greater than most. Whereas the house display screen of the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is a store window for Prime Video, Google TV places the consumer first. The result’s a extra balanced choice of content material, nearer to what you may discover with Apple TV however, crucially, with Netflix added into the combination too.
As soon as you’ve got logged into all of your apps, the ‘For You’ house web page part of Google TV is populated by content material ideas from all these third get together companies. Suggestions are based mostly on what you are at present watching and what you’ve got loved prior to now, so the highest picks for you’re precisely that – a personalised choice of ideas. Then comes a row of your apps, then ‘Proceed Watching’ after which ‘Trending on Google’. No part exists simply to promote you Google movies.
Decrease down the web page, you may discover rows of ideas based mostly purely on style – these are fairly fluid from session to session. Relying on the kind of content material you take pleasure in, you could discover crime exhibits, heist movies, motion pictures based mostly on Marvel Comics, battle movies, futuristic exhibits, movies based mostly on time journey, and so forth. The extra third-party companies you may have plugged in, the extra correct these suggestions might be.
Google TV has sections known as ‘Movie’ and ‘Exhibits’, which do an analogous job for both motion pictures or TV. There’s additionally an ‘App’ space. The one actual store window for Google is correct on the top within the ‘Library’ zone the place you may get some ideas of what movies and TV exhibits to purchase from Google. If you have already got subscription entry to something it suggests on this web page, the interface redirects you to the third-party app.
It is the identical story for the Google TV search engine, the place arguably that function is much more essential. The voice recognition is great and you may search by all kinds of standards from performer, style or sub-genre to extra obscure phrases, akin to movies about flight, motion movies starring Nicolas Cage or movies with a plot twist.
If a consequence pops up that you’ve entry to through plenty of totally different apps, it’s going to at all times recommend the free choices first. If there’s a couple of free possibility, it suggests the highest-quality model accessible. And if that is not what you need, there’s additionally a button that reveals the opposite companies you may entry that content material from too.
All in all, it’s a excellent one-platform answer for all your content material and makes looking for one thing to look at an entire lot simpler than rifling by means of Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and iPlayer each night.
It is price noting that Amazon has begun to roll-out a redesigned Amazon Fire TV UI that may hopefully handle related usability and suggestion points. It is at present solely accessible on the third-generation Amazon Fireplace TV Stick however will hopefully be a sport changer for the opposite Fireplace TV machine because it arrives.
Google TV options
Very similar to Amazon’s Fireplace TV Alexa integration, Google TV goals to hyperlink with the Google Residence and Google Assistant-based good house platform too. As such, there’s loads of additional performance constructed into the Google TV UI.
By way of content material, you may ask Google TV for data on TV and movies, together with artists, administrators, areas and some other trivia you care to know. There are additionally loads of choices for ambient modes to show in your TV when idle. These embrace a curated choice of artistic endeavors, in addition to a hook up together with your Google Photographs library for some artwork of your personal.
The expertise may also kind by means of and provide you with a warning to your calendar occasions, make instructions to play music in your Google-enabled multi-room set-up, test the climate and management your lighting or your thermostat. In case you have a safety digital camera, you may even use your TV show to see who’s on the door – all of the extras you’d anticipate from a wise house system.
Google TV apps
‘What apps are on Google TV?’ is a key query for these trying to undertake the brand new face of the Android TV OS. Google TV is a pores and skin for Android 10 and past and, as such, brings entry to the 6500+ apps accessible on the platform.
Providers embrace virtually all the huge hitters (Disney Plus, Netflix, Prime Video, Rakuten, ESPN+, Hulu, BT Sport, YouTube, Peacock TV, HBO Max, iPlayer, Spotify, Deezer, Tidal) relying in your location and an entire slew of extra specialist streaming companies and video games.
There are a number of notable app gaps, akin to BT TV, All 4, Twitch, Amazon Music and Now TV, however as a result of the platform has Chromecast built-in, you need to use your pc, cell or pill with any of these apps to forged the content material to your huge display screen – all with out utilizing up knowledge in your moveable machine.
Nonetheless, Apple does not enable the casting of Apple Music or Apple TV by means of Chromecast. That is an enormous loss, given the wealth of 4K movies accessible on-demand on iTunes and for anybody closely invested in Apple’s music companies.
If you wish to entry these in your TV, you may want an Apple TV streamer, an Amazon Fireplace TV machine, a Roku unit or sure Samsung and LG TVs. It is price noting that loads of Sony TVs from 2019 onwards are AirPlay 2-enabled, that means you may forged Apple content material from Mac OS or an iOS moveable, though the standard right here is not fairly nearly as good as that of a local app.
Examine right here for a full listing of Apple TV app–supporting devices.
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Google TV watchlist
The Google TV watchlist function is price highlighting. Most video streaming companies have watchlist sections of their very own the place you may add TV exhibits and movies that you just’d wish to see sooner or later. As a result of Google TV integrates all your companies, the Google TV watchlist pulls all of them collectively.
No must log into Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, and so forth. Ditch the third-party variations and simply head to the ‘Watchlist’ space of the ‘Library’ part and you will find every thing there.
On each TV programme or movie, there is a button that means that you can add it to your watchlist. You possibly can even add to your listing from Google Chrome search outcomes on all of your different units.
Which TVs have Google TV?
Google Chromecast with Google TV was the primary machine to reach with Google TV and, on the time of writing, it is the one one which we are able to assure may have all the options talked about above.
It is also at present the one Google TV machine in the marketplace. Nonetheless, Google TV might be coming to good TVs from Sony and TCL in 2021. Of the Sony 2021 TV line-up, solely the underside finish Sony W800 does not have Google TV.
It is also price noting that whereas Google TV is actually a pores and skin for Android TV 10, that does not imply that each one Android TV 10 units will essentially run Google TV.