Android TV is the name of the TV operating system that has been developed internally at Google. It is something different than Google TV (an empty name for Google's game in the living room) and it is absolutely not related to Chrome.
The best description for Android TV is that it is a smart entertainment platform. It is built into a number of TV's (mainly from Sony, Sharp and LeEco) but also in a number of streaming video players such as the Nvidia Shield.
Think of Android TV like iOS or Android – it's an operating system for all your favorite apps, games, movies, music and TV programs that you're navigating with a remote control instead of your finger … and you know Well, on your TV.
Of course there are six other smart TV platforms today: LG has webOS with Google Assistnat, Samsung has Tizen and Roku has Roku. All these platforms have something special that makes them unique and possibly better suited for you and your entertainment needs.
So what distinguishes Android TV from the competition? Why do you want a TV with Android? Let's take a dip in the main functions of Android TV.
Main features of Android TV
Look, it is not difficult to find a player or TV that streams Netflix. It is not. But Android TV does not only serve as a static home for apps. It is a dynamic way to find new content and can work as a Chromecast to stream content from your mobile device to the big screen. That said, here are the best features of Android TV, with descriptions that can be found below:
- Curated content on the top row
- Universal search using top apps
- Biography of actors and actresses
- Voice search via remote control
- Native Google Cast support
- Numerous games via Google Play Store
- Integration with Google Assistant
Curated content: One of the most admirable skills of Android TV is the ability to analyze the kind of content you usually watch, play and listen to, and to recommend similar content. You'll find recommendations in the top row of the Android TV interface, where you'll usually find a mix of YouTube content, Google Play Movies and TV and the Google Play Store.
Universal search: If you do not see what you're looking for in the managed content row, you can also search for content via the search bar at the top of the Android TV interface or the voting button on your remote. Android TV crawls a number of services, including Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and Google Play Movies and TV to find what you're looking for, and usually shows the lowest price first.
Biographies and film photo's of actors / actresses: Suppose you have just seen Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and you want to see in which other films Chris Pratt was. Search for Chris Pratt on Android TV and you'll find every title the actor has ever been in. Click on a TV program and you will find a synopsis, where you can view the show and the rest of the cast of the show. It is a pretty useful feature.
Voice search via remote control: Instead of scrolling to the top of the interface and typing out the name of the show, movie or actor you're looking for, you can simply say the name in the Android TV remote. It saves a huge amount of time.
Native Google Cast support: All Android TV players and TV & # 39; s have Google Cast built-in. That means you can stream content from your device to your TV when you see the Google Cast icon. This is sometimes called Chromecast built-in.
Games via the Google Play Store: Fancy a game of Pong between the seasons of Breaking Bad? Android TV has more games in its store than any other TV operating system. Like Android on phones, some games are free and others cost money.
Integration with Google Assistant: By the end of 2017, the smart assistant of Google found its way to Android TV. The Google assistant on Android TV is the same that is built into Google Home and some more expensive Android phones. For the most part it looks a lot like Siri or Cortana – Google Assistant can make appointments about the agenda, view your task list and answer questions about popular topics, but what makes it unique is that it's your smart home products like thermometers, too can operate. also light bulbs and smart locks.
Which products use Android TV?
Android TV is available on two types of devices: TV & # 39; s and streaming video boxes. Although the interface and functionality are almost identical on different devices, there may be some slight differences between the two.
Why? Every hardware manufacturer has the option to change the standard Android TV code to adapt it to their system. For a short time, Nvidia Shield was the only device that had access to Amazon, for example. One device can have PlayStation Now, while others use a spot on the Android TV interface for an app from another manufacturer. (LeEco, for example, has a space for its LeTV on the home page of Android TV.)
These are generally small differences and not the ones to lose sleep.
So which devices do Android TV use? Let's examine.
Nvidia Shield (2017)
Our favorite streaming box for Android TV
4K HDR streaming
Integration with Google Assistant / Home
Amazon Instant Video on Android
A bit pricey for a 4K streamer
The Nvidia Shield is the best box for wannabe Android TV owners. Not only does it stream content in 4K HDR, it also plays a whole series of games that you will not find on any other streaming device thanks to Nvidia's GeForce Now streaming service. On top of the games and 4K content you will find Amazon Instant Video (the shield is the only Android TV device with Amazon) and Google Assistant integration. It is a bit pricey, but it is worth it.
Read our full review: Nvidia Shield
Sony Bravia smart TV & # 39; s
The Sony X900F TV is the first new TV of the big brand in 2018 to support Android TV
Unfussy but elegant design
Great for 4K HDR streaming
One of the best TV's in 2017
Limited effective viewing angle
Sony continues to use the Android TV platform to provide smart features on mid-range and premium TV's. This means a number of things. First, Android TV means you get a lot of content: hundreds of games, information, music and video streaming apps – including the main Netflix, Amazon and YouTube platforms. For 2018 this also means that Google Assistant is built-in. All in all, if you are looking for the most comprehensive Android TV package, you will find it on a Sony TV.
Read our full review: Sony Bravia X900F review
Sony Bravia A1E OLED TV (XBR-55A1E)
Sony's premium OLED does justice to Android TV
Beautiful image quality
Fast and responsive user interface
Wide viewing angles
It is relatively expensive
If the price has not deterred you, the Sony A1E OLED is an absolutely phenomenal television. It has the best contrast everywhere and treats sound in a completely innovative way that immerses you in the content. All in all, the A1E is one of the best portals for Android TV – although it is probably one of the most expensive. But if you're looking for 4K HDR streaming TV with the deepest blacks and incredibly high contrast ratios, this is it.
Read our full review: Sony Bravia A1E OLED TV
JBL link bar
A soundbar and an Android TV player merged
It's a soundbar!
Built-in Google assistant
4K video passthrough
It's $ 400 …
Do not go out until October
When the store is in stores in October, the JBL Link Bar will be one of the first of its kind – a soundbar with an integrated Android TV operating system. That gives you the ability to not only stream video, but can also help them make their best sound.
In addition to the obvious benefits here, the JBL link bar also supports the Google Assistant, which means it can replace your traditional Google Home speaker and your streaming video player.
It's a great package on paper – yes, although the price tag of $ 400 seems a bit steep – and one that we really want to check later in the year.
That's it for now. We continue to update this list as more Android TV devices come out and the system continues to have new functionality.
- Looking for cheaper access to Smart TV functionality? Checking out Chromecast