Android TV and similar set-top boxes are incredibly popular with the cord-cutting crowd. But if you still subscribe to cable, the various networks included with your package are finally getting their respective acts together and creating decent online options for streaming shows and movies. EPIX, a channel that's mostly focused on playing older and second-run movies, has finally made its way to Android TV. The app went live back on June 9th, but for some reason the company is just announcing it now. Read More
The second Android TV device to be available directly from Google is also the second Android TV device to be sold, period: the Forge TV from gaming peripheral maker Razer. The Forge TV bundle is now on sale in the Google Store. This $149.99 USD package includes the Forge TV itself and one Serval Bluetooth controller. Oddly, the stand-alone Forge TV (which sells for $100 and requires an Android phone, since it has no remote) isn't listed on the Google Store. Read More
You want the internet on your TV? There are several ways to go about that, but the latest is to use Android TV and the Opera TV Browser app. It's free to download, but compatibility is a bit odd. It doesn't seem to support the Nexus Player right now, but it will install on the Shield and ADT-1 just fine.
Android TV has a serious app discovery problem, and it's the built-in "leanback" version of the Google Play Store. Before today, the Play Store on your TV only showed curated apps selected by the powers that be at Google, so between the video, audio, and game sections, there were less than two hundred apps on display for users. You might get the impression that these were the only Android TV apps available - the rest had to be manually searched for in the search function of the main leanback launcher.
With version 5.5.15, that finally changes. New sections of the Android TV Google Play Store are now visible beneath the curated portion, and based on a quick run-through, it looks like every compatible app for your ATV device is exposed. Read More
Even with a major infusion of horsepower with devices like the NVIDIA SHIELD and Razer Forge TV, the biggest thing holding back the Android TV platform is a scarcity of apps compared to more mature alternatives like Roku. It looks like Google is quickly trying to close the gap: in addition to the announcement of HBO Now (currently exclusive to Apple hardware) at Google I/O, a handful of high-profile and formerly unavailable apps are also making their way to Android TV in the near future.
NVIDIA's SHIELD announcement post makes explicit mention of HBO Go (which is essentially the same thing as HBO Now, but for more conventional cable subscribers), FX Now, Fox Now, Fox News, EPIX, WWE, UFC, Vimeo, Qello, Vudu, and Twitch. Read More
Hey Android TV fans: have you checked out our review of the NVIDIA SHIELD? You should. We worked really hard on it, and it's kind of being blown away by all this Google I/O news. Two things that the SHIELD Android TV can do that the Nexus Player can't are accessing external storage via USB and broadcasting audio over Bluetooth (with the extra remote). But if you flash the Android M developer preview to your Nexus Player, you can access both of those things! Neat!
The Android M build of Android TV will support using external drives for app and app data storage (which the SHIELD also does, by the way) with a formatting option. Read More
When you hear the name "NVIDIA," the first thing that comes to mind is most likely graphics cards, or at the very least the company's Tegra chips that have been powering Android devices for several years now. Either way, it's probably not "the company that makes the killer Android TV box that's hanging out in my living room."
But after today, it honestly might be.
We've spent the last week or so playing with both the base model SHIELD and storage-laden SHIELD Pro, which at this point are unquestionably the best Android TV boxes that money can buy. Read More
Google's remote application for controlling Android TV with your smartphone is... OK. It's adequate. It beats inputting passwords letter-by-letter with a physical remote, and that's about all you can say in praise of the app. While it lets you perform a voice search, it won't launch TV apps without going back to the home screen, and its trackpad isn't a cursor (as some apps might benefit from), it's just a gesture pad. But that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement, specifically on Android tablets. Here's what version 1.0 looked like on a tablet:
Ugh. Version 1.1, just released on the Play Store, fixes this rather embarrassing formatting and adds a little polish as well. Read More
Are you ready to watch ALL THE PIXELS? You certainly are if you've got a fancy 4K TV - the new top-of-the-line industry standard is begging for content, and Netflix is at the front of the queue. The streaming service has been offering some of its home-grown shows like House of Cards and Daredevil in 4K resolution to subscribers of a premium $12-a-month plan. Now you can access that sweet "UltraHD" video on Android TV... if you've got compatible hardware.
At the moment, the only Android TV devices capable of outputting in 4K aren't Android TV devices at all, they're Sony's latest batch of high-end smart TVs, which use Google's latest set-top box as an embedded operating system. Read More
Amazon, cut this crap out. Seriously, I'm getting really sick of it. As someone who pays you for media on a regular basis, to say nothing of my recurring Amazon Prime payments, I feel like I'm more than justified in telling you to stop sabotaging your own damn products.
Ahem. A little backstory, before we get to the central point here. After years of pretending that their customers simply didn't want to watch Amazon Instant Video on non-Fire devices, while concurrently giving iOS owners free access to their bought-and-paid-for video libraries, Amazon finally relented and released an Android app. Not a great Android app, mind you. Read More