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Android TV Starts Turning into Google TV with Latest UI Update

Android TV
Google’s updated home screen for Android TV. (Image credit: Google)

Google has released an update for Android TV devices around the world that brings their user interfaces more into line with the Google TV operating system that the company is building its long-term video strategy around.

Starting in early February, smart TVs, OTT players and dongles and other Android TV devices have a new UI. The update changes the home screen to look more like that found on the new Chromecast with Google TV device. 

On their home screens, updated Android TV devices now have three main menu items on top of their home screens: “Home,” which features the content and apps a user deploys most often; “Discovery,” which very similar to the “For You” tab on Google TV, surfacing user recommendations; and “Apps,” which includes whatever applications the user has downloaded to their device.

The update now features a scrolling carousel of snapshots from featured content on top of the screen, behind the three main menu items. 

Google said that this is not an OS update. Google TV, which overlays search and discovery features on top of Android TV, is generally designed to run on Android 10 and above platforms. This latest UI update can run on lower iterations of Android TV. 

Ultimately, Google’s expressed strategy is to slowly migrate the global base of Android TV devices to Google TV, including the brand name, and make a major push for market share in the global OTT device ecosystem, now largely controlled by Roku and Amazon. 

The update started rolling out Wednesday in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Germany and France. It will expand to more countries in the coming weeks, Google said.