NVIDIA has just taken the stage at GDC for its big "Made to Game" announcement, and guess what... it's another SHIELD. This one is just called SHIELD, though, and it's an Android TV box. NVIDIA has added its own twist on Android TV, just like it does with regular Android. The new NVIDIA SHIELD has support for native 4K 60Hz video signals and NVIDIA GRID game streaming technology.
If you went to Google I/O 2014, you probably treasure the ADT-1, the first Android TV set-top box that was never made available for retail purchase. It's also the first Android TV device to be updated to version 5.0.2... out of an admittedly limited field at the moment. LRX22G contains a few small changes to the core of the system for a few easy performance improvements, but nothing dramatic, so don't sweat it if you aren't part of the initial OTA rollout.
Dedicated technology newshounds have already heard that all of Sony's upcoming BRAVIA televisions will feature Android TV powering their integrated electronics. At CES, the biggest show around in terms of home theater (among other things), they've made good on that promise. Don't believe me? Watch these attractive people over-emote and demonstrate a BRAVIA television's Google Cast feature and ability to play games from the Play Store.
Android TV runs these TVs, including the various inputs and live television, in a manner similar to some Roku-branded HDTVs already on the market. They have a few Sony enhancements, of course. They include built-in apps for convergent activities like photo sharing.
We've known that Razer was working on its own branded version of an Android TV set-top box for more than half a year, but at CES 2015 the well-known gaming peripheral company has given the gadget its coming out party. The Razer Forge TV hopes to be the go-to choice for gamers, with support for up to four simultaneous players, keyboard and mouse input, and (eventually) streaming high-end games from a local gaming PC.
The Forge TV box itself is a nondescript slab that looks something like a blacked-out version of a Mac Mini with Razer's triple snake logo on top.
Google's lone Android TV box is getting some company, but not in the form of a more capable over-the-top box. Sharp has announced three new 4K TV series at CES 2015, and two of them have Android TV built-in. It'll cost you, though.
Ever been to AndroidTV.com? I doubt it! But you probably have been to android.com/tv, which is the official site for Google's new Android TV platform unveiled at Google I/O earlier this year. The former URL, though, isn't owned by Google at all - and that's apparently been cause for friction.
If you're the kind to pay attention to domain name disputes involving major companies (admittedly, boring stuff), you're probably aware that most corporations are very active in fighting what is known as "squatting" - wherein a domain registrant either holds a domain for "ransom" or attempts to use the domain's name to confuse or misdirect customers into believing their product or service is somehow related to another product, company, or service.
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. Simply select any song, episode, or movie, and add it to a playlist. If you haven't created any playlists before, you'll be asked to make a new one.
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. You've now got access to a list of recently played tracks and recommendations, just like you would have on a phone, tablet, or the web.