At the recently-concluded “Launch Night In” online event, Google unveiled the all-new Google Chromecast with Google TV. The new Chromecast comes with a dedicated remote that has YouTube and Netflix hotkeys and a dedicated Google Voice Assistant. What’s confusing everyone is the “Google TV” part.
This confusion stems from the fact that Google TV has been around before being (officially) launched in 2010 as Google’s entry into Smart TVs and later on discontinued in 2014. At the time, Google TV was built on top of Android with a Chrome browser bolted-in to power smart TVs from Samsung, Hisense, Vizio, TCL, Asus, and others.
Google shut down Google TV a few years ago, it replaced the platform with something completely different: Android TV. It has been relatively well-received by both developers and manufacturers alike. Google TV had a lack of apps, but Android TV has access to the Play Store, so developers with a mobile app can easily apply some modifications to make an Android TV app. Plus, Android TV has Google Cast support. In a nutshell, Android TV is essentially Android optimized for the big screen.
Android TV would power both Smart TVs and set-top boxes or media streaming devices. Google partnered with Smart TV vendors like Hisense, Philips, TCL, Vizio to release Android TV-powered TVs in the market. Media players such as Xiaomi’s Mi Box S, Mi TV Stick, Nvidia Shield, Razer Forge TV, TiVo Stream 4K, Airtel Xstream Box, Now TV are some of the popular Android TV streaming devices in the market today.
What is Google TV
Google TV is a new software interface built into the newly-released Chromecast of 2020 that sits on top of the Android TV operating system. So any TV or set-top box running Google TV is really running it on top of Android TV as simply a User Interface (UI). This also means that everything running Android TV right now might get upgraded to Google TV.
Google TV is the Google Assistant, which is accessed via the microphone of the Chromecast’s new remote. While Google TV is only appearing on the new Chromecast for now, we can expect to see it roll out across Android TV products in the future, including TVs and set-top boxes.
What is Android TV
Android TV is a smart TV platform from Google built around the Android operating system. Users can stream content to your TV via apps, both free and paid, using your internet connection. It is designed to bring the sorts of things you enjoy on your phone to your TV. It also offers voice control thanks to the integration of Google Assistant and gives you control across other devices.
Difference Between Google TV and Android TV
Rather than being a replacement for Android TV, Google TV is a new user interface that sits on top of it. Android TV is an operating system that works on a range of devices, including televisions and set-top boxes, and includes games and other apps. On the other hand, Google TV is primarily a way to find content from various streaming services, with help from the Google Assistant and the company’s Knowledge Graph.
The new Chromecast is the first device to get Google TV, but the company plans to bring the platform to other TVs and streamers next year. “Google TV is going to be on third-party devices that have been working on Android TV OS over the years,” said John Gildred, Google’s director of product development for Android TV, in an interview. “We are now working with them for 2021 products to include the Google TV experience on their next-generation televisions and OTT devices.”
Google TV can be used to control your smart home devices such as lights right from the TV screen. It has a Watchlist, a feature that makes it way easier to bookmark shows that you want to watch later. It even works with smartphones via the Google TV app replacing the existing Google Play Movies & TV app. So you can bookmark a show/movie on your phone and then watch it later on your TV. Google TV also comes as a stand-alone app available on any Android smartphone right from the Play Store. According to Google, the software will also be coming soon to future Smart TVs.
Chromecast with Google TV
Google’s Chromecast is a household name for streaming devices thanks to affordable hardware and a simple control method. However, in 2020 Google revamped that story completely by introducing the new Chromecast with Google TV.
Unlike past Chromecasts which were only controlled by a smartphone, Chromecast with Google TV runs an Android-based operating system with support for thousands of apps and is controlled by a physical remote control. Supported apps include Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock, and many others.
Google TV also allows the new Chromecast to use its home screen to aggregate content from all of your favorite streaming services in a single place. A watchlist makes it easy to remember what shows and movies you wanted to check out too.