NIXsolutions: Google Released Android TV 14 after a 2-Year Hiatus

For the first time in two years, Google has released a major OS update for smart TVs. After Android TV 12, Android TV 14 has been launched, skipping over Android TV 13. Initially planned for last year, Android TV 13 was abandoned in favor of releasing the first beta version of Android TV 14.

Android TV 14 introduces three power consumption modes. The “Optimized” mode will be relevant in most cases, allowing users to wake the TV from standby mode using a voice assistant or network broadcast. Low energy mode disables all but critical network functions when the TV is in standby mode. The “Increased energy mode” supports Google Home, Google Assistant, and Cast connections even in standby mode.

Several new accessibility settings have been added, including color correction, advanced text options, and alternative navigation options. Google has not provided specific details on how these features work but mentioned they can be quickly toggled on and off using shortcuts. Additionally, the picture-in-picture feature has been optimized, allowing developers to enable its support for their applications. While this feature was technically available since Android 7 (2016), it was underutilized due to the limited processing power of average smart TVs. In Android TV 14, it only works on “qualified” models, which might increase its adoption among developers.

The picture-in-picture feature will be particularly useful for streaming service applications, video conferencing, and smart home clients. For example, users can display a broadcast from CCTV cameras in the corner of the TV screen. The new implementation includes a “preserve legibility” API, ensuring that overlaying one image over another does not obscure important content.

AI Integration and Development Tools

A notable addition to Android TV 14 is the Gemini artificial intelligence integration. This AI will offer “personalized” descriptions of movies and TV shows on the Android TV home screen, likely including mentions of feeds or artists that the user likes. It will also fill in missing or untranslated descriptions, making the platform much more user-friendly.

Although there are no major design changes for Android TV 14, Google has released a beta version of the Compose for TV development tool, which was previously available in alpha. This tool includes a set of pre-configured modules that will accelerate app development and ensure a consistent user experience across Android TV apps.

The first TVs running Android TV 14 are expected to be released this year, notes NIXsolutions. However, it is worth noting that TV software generally fares worse than phone software, as manufacturers rarely release major updates for TV devices. Therefore, existing models running Android TV 12 are unlikely to receive Android TV 14.

We’ll keep you updated with the latest developments and release schedules for Android TV 14.