Android TV is still in its infancy, but now Google has a way to tweak the UI easily without a system update. The Android TV launcher is now in the Play Store, and it apparently comes with some bug fixes.
If you have a lot of media files on your computer or server and you like the freedom of streaming them to your mobile phones, tablets, TVs, and other screens, chances are you're either using XBMC or Plex. For fans of the latter, there's some good news waiting for you in the form of a major update to the Android app.
Playlist support has been added to Plex on both the mobile layout and Android TV.
While it's possible to create a TV platform that doesn't deal with live channels, smart TVs and game consoles alike generally try to integrate the content as best they can. Google intends to as well. The company made an effort with Google TV, and these days it's trying again with Android TV.
Today Google has released an app for accessing live channels into the Play Store. The "Live Channels for Android TV" app is unsurprisingly incompatible with phones and tablets, and while it shows up as already installed on one of our Nexus Players, it doesn't appear anywhere on the device.
Anybody who owns an ADT-1 has noticed the inexplicable absence of a Play Music app, something that became even more apparent after the Nexus Player began shipping with it. Well, the wait is finally over! An update to the Play Music app began rolling out earlier today, and it includes a banner on the Leanback Launcher for those of us with Google's development hardware. If you've got a Nexus Player, you haven't been left out with this update.
In a somewhat surprising, but completely understandable, move, Google has added a pretty large caveat to Play Store app submissions for Android TV. According to the Android developer documentation page on submitting apps, the company will pre-screen and approve all Android TV apps before making them available for download via the platform's marketplace.
It looks like Google isn't wasting any time laying down a support infrastructure for its new set-top box push. Just one day after the shiny new Nexus Player officially went on sale, the YouTube app for Android TV has been published in the Play Store to enable easy updates without a firmware upgrade. If you happen to be one of the few people with an ADT-1 developer unit from Google I/O or you got lucky with an early delivery of the Nexus Player, you should see the update automatically.
Android TV, and by association Nexus Player, are the evolution of Chromecast. It essentially eliminates the need to use a middleman device like a phone or tablet if the user chooses, and allows them to interface directly with the device and TV in many cases. While it still retains all the functionality of Chromecast, a dedicated box allows for a much more robust and feature-rich system, as well as more room for future enhancements.
When Android runs on a TV, it's still Android, there are just a few checks in place to make sure users aren't installing unprepared phone apps to their big screens all willy-nilly, creating the kind of awful UI experience that could make a techie cry and any one else scrunch their face in confusion. In a way, Google's only trying to protect us from ourselves. Most TV viewers will want nothing to do with such shenanigans, so only apps that have been updated and declared compatible with Android TV work with the platform out of the box.
You may cease panicking—the Nexus Player is available for pre-order in the Play Store again after paying a visit to the FCC over the weekend. Google stopped taking orders for the device shortly after it went live on Friday when someone realized the FCC hadn't actually approved the device. The wait wasn't long, though.