Google has struggled in recent years to tempt people with its Android TV interface. When the OS first launched it received a tepid response and in recent years it hasn’t exactly taken off. Sure, Sony use the software for its TVs, but Android set-top box sales still trail that of the Amazon Fire TV.
Could Google Assistant be the saviour for Android TV? Probably not but it will be a useful feature for those who want to control their smart home from their TV or just get the answer to a burning question they have.
Using the Google Assistant, users will have a whole host of features at their disposal. Assistant can help people keep track of their diaries, showcase the latest weather update, check out traffic on the commute and even play videos.
Google Assistant on the Home is already pretty robust when it comes to streaming video, but it requires a Chromecast connected device in order to display the content it finds. With Google Assistant baked into the Android TV experience, it can find and play videos without any fuss.
Android TV has had voice control for several years, but this upgrade is a welcome addition, as it makes the voice control a little more conversational and not just a tool for finding content.
Google says that the Assistant update will be available to any Android TV device that can run either Android 6.0 Marshmallow or Android 7.0 Nougat. That includes Sony’s Bravia TVs and Xiaomi’s Mi Box. The Nvidia Shield will also be getting the Google Assistant, although it will work hands-free with a wake word, much like the Amazon Echo and Google Home.
Despite having confirmed the update at CES 2017, Google has yet to say when it will roll-out.