At the beginning of the month, Google surprised us with its new generation of Chromecast, namely the “Chromecast with Google TV”. Unlike the other versions, the launch is accompanied by Google TV, which is, a complete operating system. Right next to this product, is Android TV, a system designed exclusively for TV Stick and TV Box. But, what are the differences between Google TV and Android TV? Why hasn’t Google directly opted for Android TV instead? Let’s look at it.
Google TV is Android TV, but Android TV is not Google TV
That’s right. Google TV is nothing more than a customization layer that runs on top of Android TV. Beyond the differences between versions, the biggest difference between Google TV and Android TV can be found in the user interface.
The layer superimposed by Google is based on a system of recommendations that uses Artificial Intelligence algorithms, according to the company. Google TV’s homepage consists of a catalog of series and movies that is not subject to any streaming service. The interface will allow choosing the streaming service to be used to visualize the content when certain titles are clicked on. YouTube Premium, Netflix, Disney+, and so on.
On the other hand, the main page of Android TV only shows a list of the applications installed on the TV Box. It also shows a series of recommendations based on the streaming applications that have previously been installed. As for the rest of the sections of the interface, the two systems are frankly similar.
Google TV is based on a More Modern Version of the Android
Although Android TV in its version 10 has already been released to the public about a year ago, the truth is that most TV Boxes have been stuck on Android TV 9. The same happens with manufacturers of TV sets with Android TV as standard: most brands have chosen to keep the system version in the ninth version of Android. Google TV, on the other hand, is based on Android TV 10, with all the updates that the tenth version includes.
Security improvements, support for encrypted data, the arrival of the TLS 1.1 standard for websites, native support for Playstation 4 and Xbox One controllers, faster security updates, system improvements, and menu flow.
System Updates are Provided by Google
The third difference is directly related to the second. Since it is a device developed by Google, software updates will be provided by the company, which should have an impact on the longevity of Chromecast in the long term. In the case of devices based on Android TV, the upgrading process is managed by the manufacturers, which ends up delaying the upgrading process.
Installing External Apps on Google TV is Complicated
Although Google TV is based on Android TV, installing applications from external sources, i.e. from outside the Google store, is somewhat more complex. This is probably because Google TV is based on Android 10.
And unlike the current version of Android TV, the installation permissions must be assigned to each of the applications we want to install, either a third-party file browser or a browser with download support. The Developer Settings will have to be activated through the Settings application.
On Android TV, this process is much easier, since we will only have to activate the box for Installing Applications from unknown sources in Settings after activating the Developer Settings.
The Fluidity of the System is Higher
It’s no secret that most TVs and TV Stick with Android TV have a bit of a problem with performance. This is due, in part, to the fact that most devices have a very limited technical section: dual-core processors, 1 GB of RAM, etc.
On Google’s device, the technical section of the device is made up of a quad-core processor, a Cortes A55 at 1.9 GHz, along with 2 GB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage. Not only that, the device is capable of taking images in 4K at 60 FPS, plus support for HDR10+, Dolby Atmos 5.1, DTS-X, Dolby Vision, and H.265 standards. Also, Google’s optimization, not to mention that the Google TV layer on Android TV is even lighter than the operating system. There is a total space of 4 GB to install applications from Google’s store.
Is Google TV the Substitute for Android TV?
At the moment, nothing seems to indicate that Android TV will end up turning into Google TV. The company will probably limit the development of its customization layer to its products to compete with the rest of the options on the market. After all, the layer is directly associated with Google, which could end up confusing the rest of the users.
At present, Google TV is nothing more than a software layer that the company applies to Android TV to differentiate it from the native Android interface, although it is not ruled out that the company will in the future force the installation of this layer as standard to obtain homogeneity throughout the ecosystem.