Google is gearing up to change Android TVs starting March 31 and the next big thing for TVs is Google TV. Now, Google TV is not another smart TV operating system. Consider Google TV as a software extension like Oxygen OS for OnePlus phones or Samsung’s OneUI. Android TV is an operating system built by Google for smart TVs, media sticks, set-top-boxes and other devices and Android TV is not going anywhere.
Having said that Google is now setting new standards for Android TVs. To begin with, Google is making it mandatory for all Android TV devices to support AV1 streaming codec. A report by XDA has now mentioned the deadline to offer AV1 streaming code in all Android TV devices including Google TV is March 31, 2021. The report said that this requirement will apply to all devices running Android 10 and above.
What is AV1 streaming codec and why is it important?
AV1 is easily accessible from the Alliance for Open Media and is primarily meant to stream video content over the internet more efficiently. Google is pushing hard for AV1 for quite some time and even YouTube has it now. The reason is simple: AV1 helps in providing better and consistent streaming quality.
The challenge is AV1 requires new hardware and it is not something that brands can push via a software update. While you can expect all new TVs that will be launched this year to come with AV1 codec, the older models will miss out, even Chromecast with Google TV. So, if you are planning to buy any new Android-based content streaming device or TV make sure there’s AV1 codec.
How is Google TV different from Android TV?
The Google TV UI aims to track your viewing choices across your apps and subscriptions and helps you find what you really desire to watch. It is not a separate content streaming platform.
For example, if you want to watch a horror movie, just use voice to ask Google like “find horror movies” and Google TV will hunt down all horror movies across all the apps you have downloaded and the subscriptions you have. This will help you save time, as you will not have to individually open every streaming app and look out whether a particular movie that you wish to watch is included or not.
Google TV works with apps like Disney+, france.tv, HBO Max, Netflix, Peacock, Rakuten Viki and YouTube, among others. It is expected more platforms will be included.
As far as Android OS version is concerned, Android TV runs Android version 9 while Google TV is based on Android 10. So, unless your smart TV gets an Android 10 update, you wont get Google TV.