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Android TV speeding up setup process with Android P: Autofill passwords, app suggestions, and more

Android TV is a platform with a lot of potential, but also one that needs a little TLC in order to bring users the best possible experience. We've already told you about some of the ways Google's looking to put things back on the right track, like working with the manufacturers of Android TV hardware to ease software development and see that devices get the latest features as soon as possible. Now we're learning a little more about how some of that upcoming functionality promises to make setting up a new Android TV system a much more pleasant experience.

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Google's new Android TV dongle for developers supports 4K, HDR - and you can't buy one

Google announced a brand-new version of its Android TV developer hardware platform at I/O today. The ADT-2, sequel to the ADT-1, is being given out to attendees of the conference in Mountain View (they'll ship at a later date). The ADT-2 takes on a Chromecast-like dongle form factor, and was first outed in an FCC certification listing around a month ago. The ADT-2 will not be sold to consumers.

Speaking to Googlers on the Android TV team in a briefing ahead of the show, we learned that the ADT-2 is intended to provide developers a "typical" Android TV experience in terms of hardware capability.

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Google promises a renewed focus on performance and updates for Android TV

Android TV has gained a lot of traction in the consumer marketplace - mostly by virtue of being integrated into a ton of TVs and a few set top boxes. And while that's great for the platform, end users aren't exactly being well served: One notable exception aside, Android TVs are notorious for being underpowered, buggy, and extremely slow to get updates (if they even come).

Google says that's going to be changing, though (I know - how many times has Google said this about Android?), and we sat down with some of the leads on the Android TV team yesterday ahead of I/O to talk about it.

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Google hid the JBL Android TV sound bar's best feature: Assistant on all your HDMI inputs

In a private demo yesterday, Google showed us a prototype of JBL's upcoming Link Bar - a high-end sound bar with Android TV and Google Home capabilities baked right in. While they weren't sharing details like the amount of storage it comes with or the chipset it uses (or even if it supports 4K60, though we got the sense it does), they did demo an Android TV feature we'd never seen before.

You see, one of the drawbacks of Android TV has been its inability to provide a "native" control experience for your TV. You can't tell the Google Assistant to switch inputs or adjust the volume if you're not on the Android TV output.

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Google: New Android TV users doubled over the past year

It's a little bit tough to see the big picture when we're stuck looking at the news that interests us as consumers, but Android TV has made large strides away from our observing gaze. In less than a year, ever since hardware from the Android TV Operator Tier started coming to the market, many Pay TV providers around the world have switched their boxes to run Google's software. The result: new Android TV users have doubled in the last year.

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JBL LINK BAR is the first soundbar with Assistant and Android TV built in

I/O kicks off tomorrow, but Google isn't wasting time. Likely the first among many tantalizing announcements, both Google and JBL have partnered to create the first hybrid Assistant/Android TV device, the Link Bar. Not only is it a fully-featured Assistant speaker and soundbar, but it also gives users a complete Android TV experience.

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DISH Anywhere app comes to Android TV

DISH has been relatively fast in adopting new Android-related devices and services, from 4K Android TV boxes to Google Assistant support, but it's only now that the cable box provider has decided to support Android TV properly and release its DISH Anywhere app for the platform.

If you have a DISH Anywhere subscription, you'll now be able to watch your shows and channels from your NVIDIA SHIELD, Xiaomi Mi Box, AirTV Player, and any other Android TV set-top box or integrated TV. The app is the same as the one for your phone and tablet, but with version 2.2.3, it's now installable on Android TV too.

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Android 8.0 Oreo rolling out to some Xiaomi Mi Box owners

The rollout of Android TV 8.0 has been slow, to say the least. The Nexus Player received Oreo as its final update, and the Nvidia Shield won't get it until later this year. The Xiaomi Mi Box was released internationally in 2016, and even though performance was sub-par, it was still a popular Android TV box for a while. In a strange turn of events, the Mi Box might get Oreo before the Nvidia Shield.

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[Deal Alert] 49-inch Sony Android TV on sale for $798 ($150 off)

It used to cost an arm and a leg (and several other body parts) to get a 4K TV, but prices have come down as they tend to do. In some cases, they're a lot lower. It just so happens that Android TV has found its way into some TVs as well. You can pick up the Sony 49-inch Android TV for $798 right now. That's $150 less than usual.

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[Update: Images pulled from FCC] Images of a Google-branded Android TV dongle appear at the FCC - but they look sketchy

What you're looking at above is a photo from an FCC certification for a "4K ATV Stick" manufactured by "Shenzhen SEI Robotics Co." There are a boatload of photos of this apparently Android TV-powered device in the FCC listing, including a very poorly-written manual with sentences like "Set up your TV with Android phone or tablet if you have." And there's a big, fat Google "G" logo plastered on the front.

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