The new Android TV update looks and feels a lot like Google TV

Mike Wheatley

Google said this week it’s rolling out an Android TV update that will make the operating system look and feel a lot like its new “Google TV” skin.


The Android TV update brings a fresh lick of paint to the user interface, and it will make it much more similar, but still not quite the same as Google TV, which debuted with the launch of Google’s newest Chromecast device late last year.

The old flat and boxy home screen has been done away with, replaced by a four tabs at the top and a more dynamic background than before. The main focus now is on the actual content rather than services, with the Discover tab at the top showing content in sections such as “Top picks for you” and “Trending TV shows”. Content is displayed regardless of the service that provides it. It’s all very similar to the “For You” section of the new Google TV skin, which provides cross-service content recommendations.

"The Discover tab brings together movie, show, and live TV recommendations from across your apps and subscriptions and organizes them just for you," Google said in the announcement.

There are other tabs at the top for Search, Home and Apps.

At present, the Google TV skin is only available on the new Chromecast device, but TV makers such as Sony and TCL have both announced they will bring Google TV to some of their new 2021 televisions.

The update, which brings Android TV in line with Google TV, may therefore be a welcome one for those who own a TV from a company like Philips, which has decided against adopting the Google TV platform, for now at least.

The only things that are missing are the new live TV integration and Watchlist features on Google TV.

Google said the refreshed Android TV UI will roll out now to devices using the “standard Android TV homescreen” in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Germany and France. It said more countries will get the update in the “coming weeks.”

Of course, the update raises the question of what Google is planning for Android TV and Google TV going forward. It was initially thought that Google would slowly push the name “Android TV” into the background, with the Google TV branding coming to the forefront, but today’s update suggests that the company will instead continue to push both versions of the operating system.