Android TV is receiving some updates designed to improve the speed of finding content to watch and the time it takes to subscribe to premium subscription services. The updates are now understood to be rolling out to Android TV devices, although the subscribe button is currently in a limited test status.
Android TV is Google’s approach to the living room with the TV-optimized operating system bringing together the many video and TV apps available through the Google Play Store. Unlike tvOS, Roku OS, and Fire TV which are primarily deployed through Apple, Roku, and Amazon hardware, respectively, Android TV is largely an interface designed to run on third-party hardware. Even though Google has been dipping its toes in the TV hardware market.
In a new blog post, Google points out that the increasing number of apps available on Android TV can make it hard for viewers to find what they want to watch quickly. As a result, the first update announced results in a preview window appearing at the top of the screen. This will be visible above Android TV’s ‘favorite apps’ row, and according to Google, will provide users with personalized suggestions and/or the option to watch a trailer.
Google says the new feature is first going live in the United States and recommendations will be customizable and in some cases, paid for by a sponsor. As Google explains:
We’re now sharing cinematic teasers for the most popular movies and shows handpicked for you by Google Play’s entertainment experts or sponsored by media partners (starting in the U.S.). You can also add in suggestions from your favorite streaming services by linking them to your Google Account from your phone or laptop.Source: Google
Android TV’s ‘subscribe button’ arrives
Some time ago, it became clear that Android TV was looking to make it quicker for users to subscribe to new subscription services. Essentially, Android TV was planning to add a ‘subscribe and install’ button to the Android TV’s version of the Google Play Store.
Hitting the button will immediately subscribe the user (using the information Google already has on file) and at the same time, download the app. The idea being the user can very quickly launch the service and start watching.
It is this feature that Google is now rolling out as the second main update announced. However, unlike the first one which seems to be more of an Android TV-wide update, the subscribe and install button will only be available in the US and with select apps, although more will be added in time. To begin with, Google has confirmed that Starz, DC Universe, and Epix Now will have the quick subscribe button available.