At its Google I/O 2014 developer conference today, Google unveiled Android TV, an embedded platform that will come preinstalled on HDTVs and other devices, allowing you to control your big screen with your Android phone or tablet.
On stage, Google reps showed off Android TV’s voice search capabilities, and its ability to sync with Android phones. You’ll be able to control your TV from your smartphone or Android-based smart watch, tap to search by voice, swipe and navigate search results tailored to your television, and play TV shows and movies downloaded from Google Play or from your own collection.
Apps for Google TV demonstrated during the keynote included Google Play, Plex, Netflix, IHeartRadio and TuneIn Radio. Android TV also supports casting audio and video from your Android phone or tablet, so you or a friend can send movies and music directly to the big screen, in a similar fashion to the Google Chromecast. Single and multiplayer Android-based games from Google Play will also work on the big screen, as long as everyone has an Android device you can cast to the big screen.
The Google Play store for TVs is scheduled for release later this year, as are set-top boxes powered by the platform. In 2015 HD TVs from Sony, Sharp and TPVision expected to offer Android TV support. As with Google’s previous (and failed) Google TV platform and the Chromecast, the initial approach seems highly US-centric; it might be quite a while before we see devices in Australia supporting the platform.