Google used its Google I/O conference last month to announce the latest incarnation of a connected TV platform: Android TV. The first two Google TVs to hit the market did not prove popular, though it appears the company has been lured back to the lucrative pay TV market, hoping it will be third time lucky for its most recent offering.
Google’s new TV features a customised UI for viewing, though still has access to Android apps, including the huge library of games available from Google Play store. Users can rent or buy films, with recommendations displaying on the screen based on earlier rentals and purchases, as well as what the user has watched on YouTube.
Android TV will feature Google Cast, which powers Google’s dongle streamer Chromecast. This allows the user to stream viewing sessions from a mobile device directly to the TV. Users can also sync other content from an Android tablet or smartphone, direct to the TV.
Amongst other features are voice control, which has been integrated into the TV software. This allows users to voice a search query, based on film genre, actors, awards etc. in much the same way as an internet Google search. Android TV will also display reminders when a certain show is about to start, based on viewing habits from the previous week.
Android TV set-top boxes are though to be available from this autumn, though the technology faces tough competition from the like of Apple TV and the new Roku streaming player.