Google announced a slew of updates at its I/O developer conference today, covering software for all sorts of devices like phones, wearables, foldables and more. One of these platforms is Android TV, and in addition to a bunch of developer-centric improvements, the company is also introducing new Cast Connect, Stream Transfer and Stream Expansion tools. These should make it easier to play things on Cast devices, once developers build the functionality into their apps.
Cast Connect will let you send content from your phone, tablet or Chrome browser onto an app on Android TV. Right now if you cast to an Android TV device, it's not targeted to specific apps on the bigger screen. This might also allow for some control around what you're casting and possibly some interaction with the TV app.
Meanwhile, Stream Transfer will let you move playback between supported devices and Stream Expansion adds speakers to boost what you're watching or listening to at the moment. That last feature sounds the most useful since it could help those who are hard of hearing or simply need a louder sound system by adding more output devices.
To get developers onboard with the new tools, Google is making the Android 12 Beta 1 available for TV today. It's also introducing the first Google TV emulator running on Android 11, as well as Android TV support for its Firebase Test Lab. The company said some of these features are already available, while the rest are coming soon, though it's not yet clear which ones are here now. With more than 80 million monthly active devices using Android TV, plenty of people could potentially benefit from more useful apps and improvements coming to the platform.