Google Assistant Arrives on Android TV

Posted on September 28, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Music + Videos, Smart Home with 12 Comments

As was earlier promised, Google Assistant has begun arriving on Android TV, starting with the NVIDIA Shield. It will then come to Android TV-based Sony Bravia TVs in the coming months, Google says. It’s not clear when/if other Android TV devices will get this capability, however.

“With your Assistant on Android TV, you can jump right into your favorite show, find the latest blockbuster, check the score of the big game, dim the lights and more, all with just your voice,” Google’s Jian Leong writes. “To get started, accept the Google Assistant system update on your SHIELD and press your remote’s mic button after the device restarts. From there, you’re ready to sit back and relax with the help of your Assistant.”

Google Assistant integration on Android TV works as you’d expect. You can say things like “Play Game of Thrones,” “Play business news,” “Turn off,” and even “order more popcorn,” which works with Google Express.

NVIDIA Shield users can update to Google Assistant immediately. Plus, they’ll get a free three-month YouTube Red for ad-free videos and music.

Google announced that it would bring its Google Assistant to Android TV way back in January at CES 2017. But aside from the obviousness of this move, I’m starting to realize the true benefit here, as it provides voice control and Google Cast capabilities in a single device. And that means it can help overcome what I see as Chromecast’s biggest problem, its lack of a remote control. Obviously, Android TV devices do have remotes. But I’m wondering now if this capability could come to some future Chromecast models too.


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Comments (12)

12 responses to “Google Assistant Arrives on Android TV”

  1. tbsteph

    Sounds like a canned statement from GOogle.

  2. Nicholas Kathrein

    Depending on what Google shows at it's Oct 4th event around Android TV I may buy a Shield TV. The only reason I haven't yet is the processor in it while really fast is almost 2 yrs old and I'd love for it to be refreshed with current processor and gpu tech. Other than that the Shield is the clear winner as it has some many things it can do. I was starting to wonder where Google Assistant was since it was announced in Jan.

  3. maethorechannen

    I've just started the SHIELD Experience Upgrade 6.0, looked at the "What's New" and all the Google Assistant features are US only.

    One (other) thing not mentioned - the Shield's Controller can be used for "OK/Hey Google" instead of pressing a button. Again, US only.

    • maethorechannen

      In reply to maethorechannen:

      I've had a quick play. When set to US English, the microphone icon in the top left corner changes to the Assistant icon. Questions like "What's the weather like" works in either UK or US English, "Play business news" only worked in US English, and things like "Play Star Trek Discovery" didn't work in either regional setting (maybe I should try something that is on both US and UK Netflixes instead).

  4. cb3431

    Android TV is the worse thing about the Sony Bravia. I would love the announcement allowing me to remove it. Android TV is painfully slow, buggy and unreliable.

    The only pre-loaded app that works is YouTube.

    Android TV is like a rash that won't go away.

    • maethorechannen

      In reply to cb3431:

      I've got an NVidia Shield hooked up to a Bravia. The Android TV experience is as different as night and day. I'd remove Android TV from the Bravia in a heartbeat if I could. And as it's a UK model I'd do away with the pointless YouView layer as well - the YouView apps make the Android apps look fast.

    • wright_is

      In reply to cb3431:

      Ours is fine. We use Amazon Prime, ARD, ZDF, RTL, Sat-1, VOX and Kabel1 apps without any problems. I've had to restart the TV twice this year, because the satellite TV image started started to stutter.

      The only real problem has been the CI+ card slot, I've had to remove and reinsert the card a couple of times, because it is no longer recognized.

      • maethorechannen

        In reply to wright_is:

        I have to restart mine about twice a month (I've now plugged it into a smarthings switch to make it easier, as I have to do it so often), and it randomly reboots itself as well. The satellite functionality is almost useless in the UK (the epg only provides now and next) and if you enable YouView (which you need to do to use the terrestrial TV provider's apps) the recording functionality is disabled (it also disables satellite input). If I attach a Roku, control of the A/V Receiver (also a Sony) and the Audio Return Channel to it gets nuked. Amazon Video basically doesn't work (video play starts out stuttering and stops completely within a minute). And the home screen is painfully slow.

        Great screen, useless software.

        • wright_is

          In reply to maethorechannen:

          On mine the Amazon app runs fine, even with 4K content, like The Grand Tour. It is low-res for the first 15 seconds or so, whilst it buffers up the 4K, but then it seems to run fine.

          We don't do terrestrial, just freeview satellite. We also don't have YouView.

  5. nbplopes

    I find it funny that people are drooling over Google Assistant coming to premium Android TV setup boxes justifying even more close 200 dollars shield boxes, and finally solving the shortcomings of chrome cast from an interaction point of view ... yet when it came to Apple TV, it was sistematically compared to Roku and Chromecast and none of the now touted new Android TV capabilities, that Apple TV had for years, mattered in such comparisons. All that mattered before is that it was more expensive and did not support 4K. And now that does ... I am glad they seam to matter now.

    • wright_is

      In reply to nbplopes:

      It isn't just set top boxes. I have a Sony TV with Android. It also has built in terrestrial, satellite and cable tuners (DVB-T2, DVB-S2 and DVB-C), so I have done away with the satellite receiver, the FireTV and now there is just the Sony TV on its own, which can do everything. One remote, one UI.

      That said, Google Assistant isn't something I really need - we rarely / never use the voice features it already offers.

      • nbplopes

        In reply to wright_is:

        Yes. For embedded Android TV along with satellite and cable tunners is for me the biggest selling point for the platform in the living room compared to Apple TV. No one likes to jump between boxes in the TV, no one. Both Embedded Android TV and XBOX One are the closest I have used that solve such a problem.

        But that it’s not the only solution. Android TV, Apple TV and XBOX provide an app infrastructure that allows stuff like TV Guides composed of app content. Within this I would be glad to pay Vodafone (or whatever) the price of a setobox/receiver rent to have such an app that does the same if not better through integration and get rid of this nuisance and the single purpose hardware altogether. it’s a better solution in all regards for the user. And it seams to be a less costly and more flexible solution for cable/providers ...

        But they seam to be going in the other direction ... only providing mobile apps lacking in IQ comparatively. Netflix, HBO and services alike are not giving this guys enough pressure to adopt the app/service model.