- Google TV has been revealed as a new interface for Android TV.
- The new experience unifies content from across your apps, including YouTube TV.
- It premieres on the new Chromecast with Google TV.
Google is introducing a brand new Android-based TV interface, and it’s reviving an old name to do it. The company has introduced Google TV, a new experience for Android TV that aims to harmonize your viewing — no matter what apps you use.
You can use Google Assistant to find movies and TV shows across apps, as you might expect, and a unified Watchlist holds all the content you intend to see later. You can add to the Watchlist from Google Search, too.
Live TV also plays a more important role. A Live tab in Google TV shows both current and upcoming shows, saving you from jumping between apps just to catch major news or sports events. Integration is initially limited to YouTube TV subscriptions in the US, but Google promised that tie-ins with other live TV services are “coming soon.”
Not surprisingly, you can also expect smart home control and an ambient mode to show Google Photos. Google is also renaming Play Movies and TV to (confusingly enough) Google TV.
Any app that works on Android TV will work on Google TV, according to the company. Don’t expect every feature to be available from the outset, though. Crucially, Stadia game streaming won’t be available at launch. You won’t get that experience on Google TV until the first half of 2021.
The new Android TV interface premieres on the Chromecast with Google TV. It’s coming to third-party set-top boxes and TVs as well, although you’ll have to wait until 2021 before it reaches non-Google hardware. This doesn’t replace Android TV, to be clear — it sits on top. Google is just separating the ‘skin’ for Android TV from its underlying platform.
In some ways, this is a parallel to efforts like Amazon’s Fire TV and Apple’s TV app. That is, it’s a content hub that also promotes in-house services. Google wasn’t shy in noting that its new interface unites all its platforms and services, ranging from Android to Nest to YouTube TV. It’s a living room equivalent to Pixel phones, using a common OS customized to represent Google’s vision.