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18 May 2021

What's new in Android TV (and Google TV!)

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Posted by Ben Serridge, Director of Product Management - TV Platforms and Dan Aharon, Product Manager

Android TV

Today at Google I/O 2021, we announced a significant milestone for our team: we have over 80 million monthly active devices on Android TV OS, with more than 80% growth in the US alone. We would not be here without the hard work of the developer community, so a huge and heartfelt thank you to you all.

Android TV OS is the operating system that powers a number of devices around the world including the new Google TV experience launched last fall. Google TV has generated a lot of excitement from consumers, developers, and industry partners alike, offering a content forward TV experience that helps the user discover more of the movies and shows they love. Google TV is available on streaming devices like the Chromecast with Google TV, smart TVs from Sony (and soon TCL!), and as an app on Android devices. Check out this presentation on how to get your app ready for Google TV.

Our goal is to always enable you to build better and more engaging experiences on Android TV OS. One example of this is the widely utilized Watch Next API which increases app re-engagement by ~30% in certain cases1. Well over 100 major media partners are already using WatchNext API and you can learn more about how to add your app here.

We are also announcing several new tools and helpful features to make developing for Android TV OS easier and enable you to create engaging experiences for your users. Some are already available and some will be available soon:

  • Cast Connect with Stream Transfer and Stream Expansion: Cast Connect allows users to cast from their phone/ tablet or Chrome browser onto your app on Android TV. Stream Transfer and Stream Expansion allow users to transfer media to other devices and/or play audio on multiple devices.
  • Emulator updates: To help you make your app work better on Google TV without requiring new hardware, we are now making our first Google TV Emulator available, running on Android 11. There will also be an Android 11 image with the traditional Android TV experience. You can now also use a remote that more closely mimics TV remotes directly within the Emulator.
  • Firebase Test Lab: Firebase Test Lab runs millions of tests every week on behalf of developers. Following requests from developers, we are excited to share that Firebase Test Lab is adding Android TV support. Firebase Test Lab Virtual Devices run your app in the cloud on Android TV emulators and allow you to scale your test across hundreds or thousands of virtual devices. Physical Devices will be coming soon.
  • Android 12 Beta 1: We are making the Android 12 Beta 1 available for TV on ADT-3 today. With this release the developer community will be able to take advantage of many of the changes and improvements coming with Android 12. We encourage you to try it and provide us with feedback.

Thank you for your continued support of the Android TV OS platform. The future of TV is bright and we can’t wait to see what you build next!

1 Average gain in number of days active in the app in a 28-day period amongst app 28DAUs, based on 3 apps analyzed during the 11/2020 - 2/2021 period.