Google is giving Android TV its biggest update in years with a plethora of new features set to roll out for smart TVs, gaming consoles and set top boxes running Android TV. This comes at a time when more and more TV makers globally are turning to Google’s Android TV as the versatile solution for their new line-up of smart TVs. And this includes the fact that almost all popular video streaming apps are available on the platform. Google says these new features will roll out in future builds of Android TV, but the exact timelines aren’t yet clear. At this time, popular TV makers in India are using Android TV as the very foundation of the smart TV experience, including Sony, OnePlus, Xiaomi, TCL and the recently launched Hisense TVs, to name a few. These TVs are available across price points, and yet offer a consistent smart TV experience as far as the interface, navigation, features and apps are concerned.
The new feature set includes the ability to test apps without fully downloading them, more functionality for the on-screen keyboard, reduced need to punch in Google account password and low latency mode for gamers. Most definitely, the most interesting of the new features is the ability to try an app without having to actually install it. In a way, Google Play Instant on TV replicates a similar functionality we have had on Android phones and should be very interesting for those who want to simply get a taster of what an app can or cannot do before they commit to fully downloading it. And perhaps even paying a subscription fees at some point for content.
And as for downloading new apps, Android TV will soon get the functionality to authenticate these purchases and downloads with a pin, instead of having to type out the complete password for your Google account every time. This will be a four-digit pin. Typing passwords on TVs can be quite cumbersome, to be honest, because the spread-out on-screen keyboard isn’t exactly designed for speed or convenience. And speaking of keyboards, the Gboard TV app will also get the speech-to-text mode that will let you fill certain fields on an on-screen form much quicker by simply saying out what you need to fill there.
Gamers will be happy to note that Android TV will also get a low-latency mode that will turn off post-processing of visuals for smoother gameplay. Every TV handles image processing in a different way, and often, it leads to slightly choppy gameplay depending on how fast the processing happens.
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