Posted by Paul Saxman, Android Devices and Media Developer Relations Lead
Android TV brings rich app experiences and entertainment to the biggest screen in your house, and with Android O, we’re making it even easier for users to access content from their favorite apps. We’ve built a new, content-centric home screen experience for Android TV, and we’re bringing the Google Assistant to the platform as well. These features put content that users want to access a few clicks, or spoken words, away.
The New Android TV Home Screen
The new Android TV home screen organizes video content into channels and programs in a way that’s familiar to TV viewers. Each Android TV app can publish multiple channels, which are represented as rows of programs on the home screen. Apps add relevant programs on each channel, and update these programs and channels as users access content or when new content is available. To help engage users, programs can include a video preview, which is automatically played when a user focuses on a program. Users can configure which channels they wish to see on the home screen, and the ordering of channels, so the themes and shows they’re interested in are quick and easy to access.
In addition to channels for you app, the top of the new Android TV home screen includes a quick launch bar for users’ favorite apps, and a special Watch Next channel. This channel contains programs based on the viewing habits of the user.
The APIs for creating and maintaining channels and programs are part of the TvProvider
APIs, which are distributed as an Android Support Library module with
Android O. To get started using these APIs, visit the Android O
Developer Preview site for an overview, and try out the Android
TV Channels and Programs codelab for a first-hand experience building an
Android TV app for Android O.
Later this year, Nexus Players will receive the new Android TV home experience
as an OTA update. If you wish build and test apps for the new interface today,
however, you can use the Android TV emulator or Nexus Player device images that
are part of the latest Android O Developer
The Google Assistant on Android TV
The Google Assistant on Android TV, coming later this year, will allow users to
quickly find and access content using their voice. Because the Assistant is
context-aware, it can help users narrow down what content to play. Users will
also be able access the Assistant to control playback, even while a video or
music is playing. And since the Assistant can control compatible smart home
devices, a simple voice request can dim the lights to create an ideal movie
viewing environment. When the Google Assistant comes to Android TV, it will
launch in the US on Android devices running M, N, and O.
We’re looking forward to seeing how developers take advantage of the new Android
TV home screen. We welcome feedback, so please visit the Android TV
Developer Community on G+ to share you thoughts and ideas!
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