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Android TV gets a much needed update, but it doesn’t go far enough

Following the launch of the Chromecast with Google TV streaming dongle, the standard Android TV interface is beginning to look a little old hat.

So it’ll please those with Sony Bravia TVs, the Nvidia Shield set-top box and others running Android TV to hear it’s getting a much needed update. They’ll be less pleased to realise it doesn’t go the whole hog by adopting the full Google TV interface.

So what’s new? Well, Google is distilling the interface into Home, Discover and Apps tabs. The Home app features your favourite apps, recently played content and picks from YouTube. There’s no Watch List though, which is a popular Google TV feature.

Related: Best set-top boxes

The Discover tab will feature personalised recommendations as well recommendations from your favourite apps, trending content and new additions from a wide scope of apps. There’ll also be a live TV guide. It’s as close to the Google TV “For You” tab as you can hope for at this stage. An Apps tab serves-up access to the services installed, as well as quick access to the Play Store

Google had previously said some features from Google TV would be coming to Android TV and this is probably as close as we’re going to get for a while. This update doesn’t appear to include Android 11, either. Right now it appears as if the Google TV and Android TV will co-exist until Google eventually makes the transition. It’s a shame for Android TV owners, but the Google TV interface is not without flaws.

Our reviewer wrote: “In general the interface works well enough if you’re just casually looking, but over the last week I’ve found myself increasingly just using the self contained app interfaces.

The new Android TV interface isn’t yet rolling out in the UK yet, but Google promises more countries will get update in the coming weeks. Right now it’s only for Australia, Canada, France, Germany and the United States.

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