Android TV devices are in the process of receiving an update that adds a number of Google TV-inspired design changes. Even before the Chromecast with Google TV was released, it was clear Google planned to alter the look and feel of Android TV, and this appears to be a major step in that direction.
Android TV has been around for some time now. While it has gone through many interface changes over the years, the switch to a channel-first design was arguably the most impacting. Although Google TV is also based on Android TV, it radically changes the look of the interface with a much greater focus on recommendations.
Now, Google has confirmed that Android TV is in the process of getting an update that brings the design more in line with the Google TV experience found on the company’s latest Chromecast dongle. According to Google, the new design has started rolling out today, so device users should expect to see it arrive soon, if they have not already. The company did not specify devices, suggesting the device or OS version might not matter.
For reference, the new home screen update is currently rolling out to Android TV devices in the US, Australia, Canada, Germany and France. Google says it plans to also start rolling out the same update to devices in more countries over the next few weeks.
What to expect after updating
The images above and below provide clear examples of the new look and style Android TV devices users can expect after updating. The biggest change will be the addition of the Home, Discover and Apps tabs at the top. This replaces the left-side menu that is currently in use on Android TV prior to the update.
The Home and Apps tabs might not make a massive difference to the user experience, with them simply redirecting to places the user already has access to through the existing Android TV design. However, the Discover tab is completely new to Android TV and is designed to provide a place where more recommended content is surfaced. This not only includes shows and movies the user might like based on their viewing habits, but also content that’s popular in general.
Whether users find the Discover tab worthwhile or not, this is part of a much larger decision by Google to bring its Android TV and Google TV interfaces together. Which, mostly means upgrading the Android TV experience to eventually be the same as what current Chromecast with Google TV users currently get.