When Android TV launched with the Nexus Player back in 2014, it was a bit of a rough start. In the years following, Google has kept working on the platform. The company has improved Chromecast audio support and announced that Casting content in general will soon be a much better experience. Now Google is announcing more new features like simple subscription sign ups and personalized highlights on the home screen.
According to a survey conducted last year, TV viewers spend an average of 11 minutes trying to figure out what to watch. In an effort to lessen that number, the Android TV team is unveiling two new features today. The first is a new section above the favorite apps row that highlights "cinematic teasers" like suggestions, trailers, and sponsored content. Users can see suggestions from streaming services linked to their Google accounts as well. It looks a little bit like some of the changes previously spotted with the upcoming Sabrina dongle, and some folks might find it a bit obtrusive. We aren't sure if it can be disabled, either.
The new section helps you find your new favorite movie, series, or sponsored content.
The second addition, and probably the more interesting of the two, is a simplified subscription sign up process with select partners in the US. We wrote about this a few months ago, but now it's being officially announced. With this feature, customers can just navigate to a streaming app on the Play Store and click "Subscribe and install" to download the app and automatically create an account using their default email address and subscribe. It's only being piloted with a few apps right now like Starz, DC Universe, and EPIX NOW, but it still sounds much preferable than typing out details yourself.
Shortening the subscription process to just a few taps seems really convenient.
We may still have major complaints about Android TV, but it's nice to see smaller updates like this. There may be no user-facing changes to Android TV in the Android 11 release, but that doesn't mean the company isn't working to improve the service. Google is gearing up to launch its own Android TV dongle before too long, but since that could be months away, check out our recent guide on selecting the best Android TV box for you.