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Home » Software » Android TV: Introduction and How It Works

Android TV: Introduction and How It Works

We know about Android smartphones, we know about Android tablets and laptops. But people are beginning to talk about Android TV, and we really want to know what this new technology is all about.

The way we understand that enjoy television has changed with time. And these days, if you want to get the most out of your TV, it means you must be able to interact with streaming applications such as YouTube, Amazon Prime, and of course, Netflix.

And you would also want the ability to download the best of applications and utilities that have now become available in today’s television technology.

Smart TV technology is the in thing at the moment. If you’re familiar with streaming boxes or streaming sticks such as Amazon Fire stick, Apple TV, and Roku, then you most definitely will like what Android TV has to offer.

When you hear about Android TV, you already can guess that Google has a hand in it (Of course, they own the Android technology).

Android television is the tech giant’s way of turning your TV into a smart device that allows you to do a whole lot more than just watch your favorite videos and shows.

Android television has so much in common with other smart TV Solutions. However, it boasts of some specific features that make it different from every other thing you have heard of or ever seen when it comes to TV technology.

If you are interested in knowing everything about Android TV, what it can do, and the reason why you probably would need to get one, then this is the right place to get all of this information.

We guarantee that at the end of this article, you would be on your way to the next television dealer, or probably place an order for an android TV online.

What is android TV?

As we have hinted earlier in this article, Android TV is a version of Google Android mobile OS that has been specially modified for television. This should give you an idea of how this television would work.

Nonetheless, this description does not give the right information about what sets Android TV apart from other smart televisions.

Unlike other smart TVs that greets you with a large screen packed with widgets and applications, the Android TV has a home screen that focuses on helping the user discover the right content that they can enjoy on their television.

This is possible either through all of the services you have subscribed to, such as Google Play Music, or Netflix or even from your personal media collection through media center software such as plex.

All of your favorite applications on this television are displayed as ribbons. That is a horizontally scrolling set of recently viewed content and recommendations from within a specific app.

With Android television, you can gain access to the Google Play store, where you would get thousands of applications that are specially designed for Android TV.

This means that you will not have to struggle to read tiny texts or even battle with navigating applications that only function when you can swipe with fingers.

The Google assistant is nicely embedded in every single version of the Android TV, and that gives you total control of your televisions content using your voice as well as every of your Smart home products.

Included in your Android television is also Google’s Chromecast technology, which allows you to cast videos and also initiate screen sharing from browsers, applications, and compatible smartphones.

A lot like the Amazon Fire TV OS, or Roku OS, or Apple’s tvOS, the Android TV supports a wide range of television features such as HDR, 4K UltraHD, and Dolby Atmos.

Whether you can take advantage of this feature or not is also mostly dependent on the device in which the Android TV has been installed. The hardware of your device must support all of these features before you can use them.

How do I get Android TV?

On select TVs from Hisense, Sony, Philips, and sharp, the Android TV comes pre-installed as the device default Smart TV user experience.

You can also include Android TV to a smart TV that you already have that features an HDMI port using an Android TV set-top box from companies such as Xiaomi and NVIDIA. This device cost between $60 to $200.

As you probably have already heard, it is better late than never, so you can finally purchase the JBL link bar, which is a $400 soundbar that was announced back in 2018 and support both Google Assistant and Android TV.

You may be wondering why we have not mentioned Amazon’s Fire TV is an Android television, probably because you have seen articles all around the web that suggests that it is an Android television, but do not be fooled by any of those articles.

What Amazon did was to make use of an open-source Android operating system to create its Fire TV operating system, and it has nothing similar to the Google Android TV operating system.

You also need to be very careful about purchasing an Android TV from brands that you do not know, or brands that are not so popular because you just might be disappointed at what you end up with when you get home and unbox your new device.

These kinds of televisions from unknown brands are most likely devices that feature the older version of Android and cannot do the same things that up-to-date Android users can do.

It is, however, very possible for you to use the basic Android TV features without using a Google account. However, if you would like to download any additional applications or even use Google assistant, you must have a Google account.

You will be required to type in or enter your Google account when you set up your Android TV device for the first time. If you already possess another Android device such as a tablet or a smartphone, you can speed up the setup process using this device.

You will be required to choose a Wi-Fi network (that is if you do not have an ethernet connection), and then you would need to answer a couple of questions about preferences and locations, some of which will be different according to the device type.

Once you’re done with this short process, you will be launched to the Android TV home screen. Android TV devices, whether they’re TVs or external set-top boxes, come with voice-capable remote controls.

Once you turn the device on and the home page displays on your screen, you can navigate the interface using the remote’s directional and enter buttons.

A back button lets you return to a previous screen or menu, while the home button returns you to the home screen.

The top ribbon always shows your list of installed apps for quick access, with a link to the Google Play Store so you can go get more apps at any time.

However, for you to get the best from your Android TV and it’s many features, you will want to seek the aid of Google assistant.

Depending on the device you use, you might be able to say “Hey Google, do….. “, but then there is always the option of using the mic button on your remote control.

However, if you want to use the remote, there will be no need saying “Hey Google” because immediately you tap on the button, your device waits for a voice command.

What are some Android TV voice commands?

To some extent, the things you can request your android TV to do greatly depends on the specific streaming service you have subscribed to and also have access to.

Take, for example, you can only say “Play Stranger Things on Netflix” if you have subscribed to Netflix. Nevertheless, there are many commands that are considered universal, and some of them are:

  • Saying, “Play some jazz music.”
  • Saying “Play,” “pause,” “stop,” and “resume” while watching a video
  • “Softer” and “Louder,” to control your volume
  • “Open [app name]” to open any of your already installed apps
  • “Show me the cast of *specific movies *. “
  • “Tell me things about Game of Thrones. “

In addition to all of these universal commands, you can make use of any Google Assistant’s smart home commands, which may vary depending on which smart home devices you have on your home network.

What are some popular Android TV apps?

It is pointless to mention Netflix as it is no doubt, one of the most popular applications on all streaming media platforms, and that includes Android TV.

You will discover that just about every streaming service that is famous works well with Android TV, but there may be occasional compatibility problems. Take, for instance, the standard Hulu app works perfectly.

But right now, you will be unable to access Hulu’s live TV service on Android TV. You may also discover some lesser-known applications that are worth installing on your Smart TV.

We have put together a few choices that you might find useful when you are getting started;

Kodi

Kodi is one very famous powerful media center application that can find and organize all of your Media into an interface that is very easy to navigate. Kodi comes with support for almost every media file that you can imagine.

The app is highly customizable, and it also has a reputation as one application that allows you to stream Hollywood movies at no cost.

However, you must be warned that Kodi does not officially support this kind of streaming activity. This is why you have to be extremely careful, so you do not find yourself in trouble simply because you want to see Hollywood movies for free.

Plex

Just like Kodi, Plex makes use of client/server arrangements to allows you to view and play all of your personal media files and a lot more.

This is one of the most potent and most enjoyable ways you can experience your music, movies, and even photos just by making use of a USB stick at the back of your TV or set-top box.

You can use this application on an Android TV and some other devices that support it, and there is no doubt that you will enjoy the experience.

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime TV has been absent from the Android TV platform for several years. But right now, it has returned on the 9th of July 2019 and is now available for download on Google Play store.

All of your Android TV devices can enjoy the service is available on this platform and more to come later in 2019.

AirScreen

Android TV currently supports screen mirroring from other Android devices through Chromecast, but it will only be fair that iOS users get a solution as well.

This is where AirScreen comes to Save the Day. You can start it off, and your Android TV will immediately show as a Spectre bill AirPlay device in your iOS control center.

Puffin TV Browser

Surprisingly even though Google is a driving force behind Chrome as we already know as one of the most popular browsers on earth, Android TV does not come with an inbuilt browser of any sort.

Puffing browser is one of the apps featured on the Google Play store that you can use to replace the absent Chrome browser, and this browser comes with an interface that is just perfect for your TV.

In the exception of all of its vital functions, the puffin browser is a fantastic way to quickly jump on the web to carry out occasional tasks that your Google assistant cannot take care of.

Games

If you are a game lover, then it is appropriate to let you know that there are tons of fantastic games for Android TV that we cannot even begin to list.

There are many big titles such as zen pinball, Grand Theft Auto, Asphalt8:: airborne, and even Final Fantasy, as well as some other amazing titles that you can download via Google Play store.

Is Android TV the same on every device or TV?

The same way no two computers running on windows are precisely the same, there are several differences from one Android device to another.

Take Sony TV, for instance, where you can find picture calibration settings such as Sony’s proprietary reality creation image processing.

You can also find the option for watching over the air HD TV or watching live channels that are enabled by the TV in-built tuner.

If you have the Nvidia Shield TV, you will get access to Nvidia’s very own GeForce Now gaming store, simply because that specific Android TV device is designed to double as a good gaming platform.

You may also discover that due to a difference in the processing power, not all Android TV devices would give you the same speed when it comes to response.

The first set of Sony TVs with the Android operating system was kind of sluggish because their under-powered chips had to struggle to offer the interface and also respond to many choices.

However, the current Sony televisions available for sale are better improved. And if you’re going for the gold standard, the Nvidia Shield TV remains the best when it comes to speed in android TV performance.

This variation in the processing power of different Android TV is unlikely to have an impact on the device’s ability to stream content from a service such as Netflix, but it will most likely affect an application such as Kodi, as it requires the device’s processor to offer different media files. Games will likely be affected as well.

Android TV is great for you and your family. Though getting an Android TV may cost you a lot of money, when you think about all the entertainment you can enjoy while using it, the investment is totally worth it.

Do well to leave your thoughts, questions, and suggestions in the comment section provided below.


Emmanuella Ekokotu
Ella Romena is a content writer, sociologist and Anthropologist who lives in Benin-city.

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