Android TV vs Google TV: what’s the difference?
These days the world of TV entertainment has evolved significantly, with technological advancements paving the way for smarter and more interactive viewing experiences. Two prominent platforms that have captured the attention of consumers are Android TV and Google TV. While these two may sound similar, they have distinct features and functionalities that make them different.
It’s no secret that Android and Google are two of the most popular brands in tech. So, it only makes sense that they’d be the first to try partnering up to make a TV operating system… right? Well, sort of. While Android TV has been around for years, it just wasn’t very good when it was first launched. But with the help of Google, things have changed!
Let’s dive into the distinct features of Android TV and Google TV, helping you make an informed decision about which platform suits your needs.
What is Android TV?
Android TV was first introduced in June 2014, it is an operating system developed by Google specifically for television sets. It’s based on the Android operating system, known for its flexibility and extensive app ecosystem. It provides users with a seamless blend of streaming, gaming, and app usage. The user interface boasts simplicity, featuring rows of content recommendations and app icons.
One of Android TV’s strengths is its extensive app ecosystem, accessible through the Google Play Store. Users can install a wide range of apps, including streaming services, games, and utility tools.
Additionally, Android TV often includes voice-enabled remote controls, allowing users to navigate and control their TV experience using voice commands.
What is Google TV?
Google TV was introduced in 2020, as a software layer built on Android TV framework, while introducing a more refined and personalized content discovery experience. It was launched alongside a new version of Google’s streaming dongle, pertinently named Chromecast with Google TV. The interface is designed to seamlessly integrate content from various streaming services, creating a unified platform for accessing shows and movies.
One of Google TV’s suitable features is its powerful content recommendations, driven by Google’s powerful search capabilities. It analyzes viewing habits, search history, and Google Photos content, Google TV offers suggestions that align with individual preferences.
The “Watchlist” feature enables users to bookmark content across different platforms and also makes it easier to keep track of their favorite shows and movies.
The remote control includes a dedicated Google Assistant button, allowing users to interact with their TV using natural language commands and further enhancing the overall experience. Android TV is still quite functional, getting updates as recently as December 2022.
The main similarities between Android TV and Google TV?
Both Android TV and Google TV are TV operating systems from Android that allow you to watch and interact with content. Both platforms offer the same massive selection of smart TV apps, streaming services, and games. They also feature support for voice commands with Google Assistant, smart home controls, casting with Chromecast, and media streaming.
Both Android TV and Google TV offer support for a wide range of popular streaming services. However, the availability of specific apps may vary based on regional restrictions and updates. Here’s an overview of some of the popular streaming services supported on both platforms:
The Differences between Android TV vs Google TV?
Android TV and Google TV have many similarities, though, there are differences when getting down to the nitty-gritty details. Android TV runs on Android, while Google TV runs on ChromeOS. Take a look at some of the main differences between the two TV operating systems.
Dedicated Google Assistant Button
Google TV devices come with a dedicated Google Assistant button on the remote control. Users can use voice commands to control a wide range of smart home devices that are compatible with Google Assistant.
Android TV and Google TV come with user profiles and parental controls. Unlike Android TV, Google TV supports multiple accounts for kids under an adult’s Google account, with personal recommendations for each profile. While content restrictions on Android TV are handled via its system-wide parental settings, Google TV allows you to create child user profiles with their own set of boundaries for the content, which can be managed via the Google Family Link service.
Streaming YouTube Videos
One can stream YouTube videos on both platforms. Both platforms can build collections of your favorite YouTube channels. But Android TV only allows one to put together a collection from subscribed channels, while Google TV enables one to build collections from any channels of one’s choice.
Android TV’s recommendations are based on streaming apps instead of personal interest.
While Google TV uses Google’s machine learning algorithm, Google Assistant, and Google’s Knowledge Graph information base to learn your viewing habits. This data will be used to make suggestions on the home screen dedicated to you. The tab highlights popular content in your area and shows relevant promotions.
User Interface and Experience
One of the most notable differences between Android TV and Google TV lies in their user interfaces.
Integration with Google Assistant
Both Android TV and Google TV are equipped with Google Assistant integration, enabling voice commands and hands-free navigation. Users can use voice commands to search for content, control playback, adjust settings, and even ask general questions. This feature enhances the convenience and accessibility of both platforms.
Android TV Interface
Android TV typically presents a more traditional and app-centric interface. Users can navigate through a grid of apps and icons, similar to the layout of a smartphone or tablet. This approach may appeal to those who are already familiar with the Android ecosystem.
Android TV allows users the flexibility to customize the home screen layout, rearranging rows and app icons to prioritize their preferred content and apps. This allows for a personalized experience tailored to individual preferences.
The overall design and layout of Android TV’s interface resemble the familiar Android aesthetic, creating a sense of continuity for users already accustomed to Android devices.
Google TV Interface
Google TV adopts a content-first approach. The home screen is dominated by a customizable row of content recommendations, highlighting shows, movies, and videos from various streaming services.
Google TV’s interface aims to simplify the process of finding something to watch by aggregating content from different sources and suggesting recommendations based on the user’s interests.
Google TV introduces the “Watchlist” feature, where users cannot only stream shows and movies but can also bookmark and organize their favorite shows and movies, regardless of the streaming service they are on. This feature streamlines content discovery and bookmarking.
Google TV employs advanced algorithms and user data to offer highly personalized content recommendations. These suggestions appear prominently on the home screen, making it easy for users to find content that aligns with their interests.
Google TV’s user interface integrates voice commands more prominently, with a dedicated Google Assistant button on the remote control. Users can search for content, open apps, and control playback using natural language commands.
Android TV vs Google TV Connectivity Options
Android TV Connectivity
Wired Connectivity: Android TV devices typically offer HDMI and USB ports for connecting to other devices such as gaming consoles, Blu-ray players, soundbars, and more.
Wireless Connectivity: It supports Wi-Fi connectivity for internet access, Bluetooth for connecting peripherals like remote controls and game controllers, and Chromecast functionality for casting content from mobile devices and computers.
Google TV Connectivity
Wired Connectivity: Like Android TV, Google TV devices offer HDMI and USB ports for wired connections to external devices.
Wireless Connectivity: Google TV supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. Additionally, Google TV’s Chromecast functionality allows users to cast content from their mobile devices and computers to the TV.
Performance and Hardware
Android TV and Google TV share some common hardware requirements and specifications, but Google TV introduces certain enhancements and optimizations to provide a more seamless and advanced user experience. Here’s a comparison of the hardware requirements and specifications for both platforms:
Processor: Android TV devices typically use quad-core or higher processors to ensure smooth performance while running apps, streaming content, and handling multitasking.
Connectivity: Android TV devices offer HDMI and USB ports for connecting to TVs and external devices. They also support Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
Storage: Storage capacities on Android TV devices vary, typically ranging from 8GB to 64GB or more. Sufficient storage is necessary for installing apps, storing media, and system operations.
RAM: Android TV devices usually have a minimum of 2GB RAM to ensure efficient app execution and smooth navigation.
Video Output: This device supports various video output resolutions, including Full HD (1080p) and 4K Ultra HD (2160p), depending on the capabilities of the device and the user’s TV.
Audio Output: These devices support various audio output formats, including stereo, Dolby Digital, DTS, and Dolby Atmos, providing immersive audio experiences.
Processor: Google TV devices typically feature more advanced processors to ensure smooth performance, especially when handling content aggregation, recommendations, and voice interactions.
Chromecast Ultra: Google TV devices include built-in Chromecast Ultra capabilities, ensuring smooth casting of content from mobile devices to the TV.
Storage: Storage capacities on Google TV devices are similar to Android TV devices, but the emphasis on content aggregation may require more storage for efficient caching and quick access.
RAM: Google TV devices usually have a minimum of 2GB RAM or more to support seamless multitasking and optimize content discovery.
Video Output: Google TV supports the same video output resolutions as Android TV, including Full HD (1080p) and 4K Ultra HD (2160p).
Audio Output: Google TV devices provide similar audio output options as Android TV, including support for various audio formats and immersive sound experiences.
Google Assistant Integration: Google TV’s hardware specifications may be optimized to support Google Assistant’s voice recognition and natural language processing, allowing for seamless voice interactions.
In summary, the distinction between these two TVs lies in their user interfaces, content discovery strategies, and focus on personalized recommendations. Android TV offers a more traditional app-centric approach, while Google TV prioritizes content recommendations from various sources to simplify the viewing process.
Both platforms leverage Google Assistant for voice control, but their device ecosystems differ.
Ultimately, the choice between Android TV and Google TV depends on the user’s preferences and priorities. Those who value a familiar app-based interface and a wide array of compatible devices may prefer Android TV. On the other hand, users seeking a content-centric experience with seamless content aggregation and recommendations may find Google TV to be a more compelling choice. As technology continues to evolve, both platforms are likely to shape the future of television entertainment in their unique ways.