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android tv

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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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ESPN reveals 'major' app update and new ESPN+ streaming service for $5 per month

Based on the results of our Super Bowl poll earlier this year, most of our readers here at Android Police aren't much into sports. And that's fine, neither are we. But for those of you that are interested, ESPN has just announced a new ESPN+ streaming service for only $5 a month, as well as an updated app. The actual selection of live content might leave a bit to be desired, though. 

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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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InBrief
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CNBC now available on Android TV

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[Update: Pricing for more models] Sony announces new 4K HDR Android TVs with Google Assistant built in

Sony's been busy with announcements so far at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, debuting new headphones and speakers, an Android Auto audio system, and some new phones (trademark bezels still intact). There are surely many more new Sony things being launched at the show, but not all of them are relevant to us here. New Android TV sets with the Google Assistant built in? Yep, that's relevant enough.

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Play Movies purchases in HD are showing up as 4K in YouTube for Android TV, though they still play in HD

We're not sure if this is a bug or a sign of things to come, but if you've purchased a movie on Google Play Movies in HD that has a 4K version available now and you open your purchases in the YouTube app on Android TV, you might spot a 4K sign below it. However, when you start playing it, the highest resolution available is 1080p.

Our tipster spotted this 4K label in his library, and Cody was able to confirm it as well. So far it's unclear whether this is a bug or it's a sign of Google upgrading HD Play Movies purchases to 4K for free when applicable - something that Apple did when it launched 4K content on iTunes, but that Google didn't.

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YouTube for Android TV adds manual resolution selection, starts rolling an updated interface

YouTube for Android has had a few ups and downs in the last months as the native app was replaced by what is essentially a web wrapper (you can test it by going to youtube.com/tv) and dumped many features that were later slowly added back. The latest of the features to make it back onto the interface is the resolution adjustment selector that you can see in the screenshot above. Also rolling out is a new interface, but it doesn't appear to be live for everyone just yet.

YouTube usually updates your video's resolution on the fly depending on your connection speed, but if you want to manually choose a specific quality setting, you can do so now.

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Both Google Classroom and YouTube for Android TV pass 10 million installs on the Play Store

Google Classroom first showed up on the Play Store in 2015, as an organization tool for teachers and students. The YouTube for Android TV app is a bit older, as it first showed up in 2014, just one day after the Nexus Player went on sale. Now both apps have passed 10 million installs on the Play Store.

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SHIELD TV gets new Assistant capabilities, including broadcasting and security camera streaming

Since the Nvidia SHIELD TV added Google Assistant support last year, it's been slowly catching up with other Assistant-enabled devices by adding new functionality. It looks like a couple more capabilities are now available. At least we think so, as Assistant features across different devices are so inconsistent that it's sometimes hard to tell what's new and what's not.

According to Nvidia, broadcasting messages and the ability to summon your security camera stream on your TV via the Assistant are both new additions. Apparently, if you tell the Assistant on the SHIELD TV to "broadcast that it’s time to watch TV," it will relay the messages to Google Home devices around the house.

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Android TV streaming boxes: An uneasy start and apparent death

Android TV is very much alive, as was made abundantly clear by the plethora of new Android TV powered televisions with Google Assistant capability shown off at CES 2018. Streaming boxes powered by Android TV, however, are conspicuously missing—the last Android TV set-top box to be released in the United States was the Xiaomi Mi Box in October 2016.

Apple TV and Amazon's Fire TV products both received hardware refreshes last September, while Roku products received hardware refreshes in October. In comparison, the three year old Nexus Player—arguably the flagship of Android TV—last received a software update in November, and will not be upgraded to Android 8.1 Oreo.

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