Google is rolling out 'cinematic teasers' with recommendations and sponsored content on Android TV. It is also introducing features like auto game mode, instant apps, and a revamped keyboard.
Cinematic teasers on Android TV
The new 'cinematic teasers' will live above your favorite apps row to highlight recommendations and ads from partners. Google thinks that it will help you "find something to watch". It cannot be deactivated.
- "Next time you pick up the remote, pop above your favorite apps row and scroll through suggestions or catch a quick trailer to help you find something you’ll love to watch," Google announced in a blog post. "We’re now sharing cinematic teasers for the most popular movies and shows handpicked for you by Google Play’s entertainment experts or sponsored by media partners (starting in the U.S.)."
There are currently around 7000 apps available on Android TV, which is an increase over the 5000 apps available in April 2019. The company was also quick to point out that HBO Max and Peacock are available on Android TV - unlike Roku and FireTV.
The Android TV operating system is used in select TVs from Sony, Philips, TCL, Hisense, and Sharp. It is also used in media players such as Nvidia Shield and Xiaomi Mi Box.
New Android TV features
Google will make it easier to try out, subscribe to, and log in to new services or apps on Android TV. "Subscribe and install" lets users subscribe and pay via their Google Play account while 'instant apps' lets you try an app or a game before you install the full package.
A revamped on-screen keyboard, Gboard TV, now uses QWERTY layout and has speech-to-text, predictive typing, and more. Users will also be able to set a PIN code for easier payment, as opposed to entering a full password.
Furthermore, Google is introducing support for Auto Low Latency Mode, also known as HDMI ALLM. With ALLM support on Android TV, developers can let their games automatically put the TV into game mode for reduced latency / lag.
Google provided an update on the Android TV ecosystem saying that there are 80% more active monthly Android TV devices compared last year.
The new features outlined above are rolling out globally now, although it is not clear if all devices will support them. The majority of Android TV devices are running Android 9.0 or earlier, despite Google recently releasing the Android 11 preview for TVs.
The company is rumoured to soon launch an Android TV dongle, codenamed 'Sabrina', and we hope to get an update on new features in Android 11 at the same time - perhaps even Stadia for Android TV.