Google Assistant already supports more than 60 device types, from smart lights and thermostats to more eccentric ones like dehydrators, pergolas, or fireplaces. Now it's officially adding three new ones: TVs, media remotes, and set-top boxes.
You may be thinking that Assistant has already been able to control these for years, and you're right. Support for the Nvidia Shield, Logitech Harmony remotes, DISH Hopper DVRs, Android TVs, Sling box, and more has been rolling out since 2018. The only new thing here is that the documentation has finally been added so that any device maker could check it and know how to implement this properly. This isn't the first time Google has allowed some devices to be added before their type was officially documented (Nest Secure before security systems, August Lock before smart locks, etc...), so it doesn't surprise us.
For all three device types, Google offers several common traits: devs can choose to let users select apps, change input methods, control playback, set volume, and obviously turn the device on/off, all with voice commands. Hopefully, these controls will soon be accessible within the Google Home app as well. Currently, my Shield and Harmony remotes don't allow for any real controls beside on/off from the Home app, despite being recognized properly as TVs and remotes. However, on my Lenovo Smart Display, I can see a better UI for each, with plenty of controls. It's an inconsistent experience and I always wonder why the app doesn't have it.