The ADT-1 digital media player, part of the official development kit for Android TV
|Type||Smart TV platform|
|Release date||June 25, 2014|
|Operating system||Android 6.0 ("Marshmallow")|
|Graphics||1280x720, 1920x1080, 3840x2160|
|Online services||Google Play|
Android TV is a smart TV platform developed by Google. Running the Android 6.0 ("Marshmallow") operating system, it creates an interactive television experience through a 10-foot user interface. It was announced on June 25, 2014, at Google I/O 2014 as a successor to Google's earlier attempt at smart TV, Google TV.
Android TV can be built both into TVs and into stand-alone digital media players. Users have access to the Google Play Store to download Android apps, including media streaming services Netflix and Hulu, as well as games. The platform emphasizes voice search to quickly find content or to answer queries (such as which movies were nominated for an Academy Award in a specific year). The TV interface is divided vertically into three sections: recommendations on top (which update based on viewing habits), media apps in the middle, and games on the bottom. The interface can be navigated using a game controller, remote control, or the Android TV mobile app. Android TV also supports Google Cast, the technology behind Google's media player Chromecast that allows a mobile device to be used to select and control media playback on a TV.
Google has partnered with Sony, Sharp, and Philips (TP Vision) to offer the platform in TVs, while Razer and Asus plan to release media players with a focus on gaming. Google and Asus co-developed the first device to employ Android TV, the Nexus Player, released in November 2014. Software developers will be able to use the Android SDK to optimize their apps for use on Android TV.
Android TV allows consumers to use an HDTV set to play music, watch video originating from Internet services or a local network, and play games (Emulators and Android Games). Android TV can be paired with Bluetooth gaming controllers to interact with the system interface / applications, as well as, playing games. Android TV also includes all features and streaming capabilities of the Chromecast device.
- Users can access the Google Play store directly through the user interface to rent / buy movies, TV shows and stream play music.
- Live Channels by Google allows users to stream from media sources including the HDHomeRun TV tuner with TV Guide functionality
- Kodi allows users to access a host of applications and content available through Kodi (formerly XBMC)
- Hulu Plus
- TED (conference)
- HDHomeRun App
- FX Now
- Sling TV
- Disney Movies Anywhere
- HGTV Watch
- PBS Kids Video
- CBS News
- Bloomberg TV+
- HuffPost Live for Android TV
- TuneIn Radio
- Songza TV
- CBS Sports
- Red Bull TV
Digital media players
Shield Android TV
The Shield Android TV by NVIDIA was announced on March 3, 2015, and initially marketed as the Shield Console. The branding was changed because NVIDIA did not want to appear to be competing with eighth generation consoles. Unlike the Nexus Player and the Forge TV, the Shield Android TV has a higher price point of US$200. A primary selling point of the device is the Tegra X1 chipset which is far more powerful than that of any previous Android TV device. The set-top box also has 3 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal storage, USB 3.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet and dual-band WiFi ac. The device ships with a Wi-Fi Direct NVIDIA-branded game controller. Other features include integration with NVIDIA GameStream and GeForce NOW. As with previous NVIDIA Shield branded devices, a small selection of NVIDIA-exclusive Android-ported AAA video games are optimised for the Tegra X1 chipset.
The ADT-1 Developer Kit was released by Google before any commercial Android TV devices were released. The hardware was given to some Google I/O 2014 attendees and later mailed to other developers. The device uses a Tegra 4 chipset and has 16 GB of flash memory.
The Google Nexus Player was the first consumer Android TV device, releasing first in the US on November 3, 2014, featuring an Intel Atom chipset and 8 GB of flash memory. It supports 1080p, but not 4K. Google has not revealed a successor to the Nexus Player and prices have been quietly cut at local retailers shortly after a September 29, 2015 event where Google revealed their next line of Nexus products along with an updated Chromecast leading to questions over the future of the Nexus Player and Android TV. 
Other third-party offerings
The Freebox Player Mini is offered by French ISP Free, and is a 4K capable Android TV set-top-box and accompanying Freebox Server FTTH/xDSL router.
The Forge TV, by Razer, was announced at CES on January 6, 2015. Featuring a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chipset, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of flash storage, a USB 3 port and a gigabit Ethernet port, the Forge TV was marketed as a micro-console rather than a multimedia device. Pre-orders began on April 23, 2015 at a price of US$100 with shipment by April 29, 2015.
The OgleBox Android TV Beta, announced in March 2015, will be focused on delivering Australian based content to that region. Although the device is aimed at serving video content its Octo-core makes it powerful enough to be used as a games console. With an RRP of $150, this device is aimed at taking on the Nexus and Apple TV with enough grunt to play games.
In June 2015, French telecom company Bouygues Telecom announced an integrated set-top-box code named "Miami" based on Android TV. The device launched in October.
Sony, Sharp, and Philips announced that they would release TVs in 2015 running Android TV. All TVs on the Android TV platform will support capabilities such as Google Cast, voice search, and the Play Store app. Sony's Android TVs are currently available; in May 2015, Sony released the Bravia 2015 models running the platform. They include a regular HD model and a 4K-capable model. Sharp's television sets became available June 10, 2015, beginning with the release of two models. Philips announced that 80% of their 2015 TVs will run Android TV, the first two models of which were released in June 2015.
Samsung teased the launch of its first Android TV/tablet hybrid, the Samsung Galaxy View, at the end of the Gear S2 Showcase during IFA 2015, and officially unveiled it on October 28, 2015. Unlike other Android TVs, this device includes an 18.4" touch screen at a 1080p resolution instead of a remote control and runs on Samsung's own TouchWiz UX instead of stock Android. It is also a portable TV with a two-way stand, with its built-in battery lasting for approximately 8 hours of video playback. Samsung has a feature called Family Square, which allows users to connect with family and friends. They can video chat, share photos and memories, and even write notes. The Wi-Fi–only variant will launch on November 6, 2015, in the United States. An LTE variant will soon follow, making it the first Android TV/tablet hybrid to support cellular connectivity.Competition between different manufacturers has led to cheaply made Chinese Android TV Boxes being marketed as 'fully loaded' on various websites. This describes the practice of shipping the product with all the various apps and add ons being pre-installed before shipping.
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