Android TV gets new Google TV features

A few modern tools are coming to older TVs with Google's OS.


When Google introduced a new TV overlay last year, it promised to bring a modern interface to Chromecast and subsequently launched devices. It also caused a lot of confusion over what would happen to the Android TV operating system, which powers hundreds of models of streaming sticks, TV sets and more. Those older devices didn't get the new Google TV interface, but the company did begin to roll out some updates that made Android TV look more similar to the new layout, including a refreshed appearance and a Discover tab. Today, Google is adding new tools to Android TV to make it feel more like Google TV: Watchlist, recommendation tuning and detail pages.

With this update, you can now add titles to your watchlist across the Android TV system, either by long-pressing on your selection and hitting "Add to Watchlist" or pressing the Watchlist option in the show's detail page. You can also add to the list from your phone or laptop via Google Search or in the TV app. Your saved items will appear in a row on the Discover tab.

The company also tweaked the detail pages of each show by adding trailers that autoplay when you dive deeper into each title, similar to how services like Netflix are set up. You can turn these off in the Settings (under Home Screen in Device Preferences by deactivating "Enable video previews").

An image showing the new Android TV Tune Your Recommendations feature. The screen shows an off-kilter thumbnail of the movie

You'll also find a new way to tell Google what shows you like (and hate) in the Home Screen settings — look for Content Preferences and scroll through the titles that show up. Additionally, there's a card in the Discover tab that says "Improve your recommendations" that will let you tune your preferences too, and you can choose between "More like this" or "Less like this" for each show. Once you're done, the system will update its suggestions for you in the Discover page.

Those already using a Chromecast with Google TV will find these features familiar, and those with older Android TV devices don't have to wait long to get them. Google said the updates will arrive on Android TV devices "beginning this week."