Android TV Starts Turning into Google TV with Latest UI Update

Google has released an update for Android TV devices around the world that puts their user interfaces more in line with the Google TV operating system that the company is building its longterm video strategy around.

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

Also read: Google TV Chief Shalini Govil-Pai: Pandemic Caused Delay for Some Features

On their home screens, updated Android TV devices now have three main menu items at the top: “Home,” which features the content and apps a user deploys most often; “Discovery,” which is 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 screenshots from featured content on top of the screen, behind the three main menu items. 

Below, we’ve include screenshots of both the pre- and post-update iterations of the Android TV home screens.

Also read: The Chromecast with Google TV Reviews Are In: Roku and Amazon Have a Problem

Google makes clear 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 marketshare 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. 

Android TV - Updated UI

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

Android TV - Old UI

The previous iteration of the Android TV home screen. (Image credit: Google)
Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!