Google TV launched with a new interface, which was a big departure from the old-fashioned Android TV UI. While the spruced-up design is a nice touch, Google TV’s biggest strength lies in its content-centric approach. It reduces the steps required to find a movie or watch your favorite show where you left off without opening the app.

As some of the best Android streaming boxes and TV sets have started to adopt Google TV, the new interface is quickly reaching more living rooms. If you recently treated yourself to a new TV running Android, here’s what you need to know about using Google TV and making the most out of it.

What is Google TV?

Google TV is a launcher with a revamped UI that runs over the old Android TV. The Chromecast with Google TV 4K was the first device to give us a taste of this interface, and we instantly became fans of the new layout. While Android TV focuses on streaming apps, Google TV puts content front and center on the homescreen, among other improvements it brings over Android TV. Everything you need is in a single place, so you don’t have to jump between apps to find something to watch while sitting on your couch.

Another way Google TV saves you the hassle is by bringing together the Continue watching list from participating apps to the homescreen. You could jump to the next episode without going into the app first. And the same goes for Google TV’s watchlist feature. You can create one watchlist (similar to what apps like JustWatch offer) that syncs to your Google account and works across all your devices. So, if you add a new movie to your watchlist from a Google Search, it instantly appears on your Chromecast — easy-peasy.

Google TV exists alongside Android TV (which got its own facelift) for now. But more brands like Sony and Hisense have started to adopt Google’s new TV interface. Hopefully, Google will gradually replace its old TV software with Google TV and make it your default living room streaming hub.

How to use Google TV?

The only way to get Google TV is to buy a TV set or a streaming box that comes preloaded with it (unless you want to load it onto your existing Android TV with a process that is quite involved and not meant for everyone). Your best option is Google’s Chromecast or one of the recent TV sets from Hisense, Philips, Sony, or TCL.

Use the Google Home app on your phone to seamlessly set up your new Google TV device. Follow the guided setup process and link your device to your Gmail account when prompted to get your watchlist and content synced across all your devices. Soon, you will see the new Google TV homescreen.

All your personalized recommendations on Google TV’s homescreen

From the main For you tab, you’ll notice that content is the focus on Google TV. The prominent carousel is updated regularly to feature top releases (like a new show available on your streaming services), themed content (like Christmas specials), and sometimes ads.

Below that, you will see the Top Picks for you strip filled with movies and TV series that Google thinks you will like based on everything it knows about you.

Select a title to learn more about it via Google’s Knowledge Graph and jump straight to the movie on the streaming service it’s available on. You don’t need to fiddle with individual apps anymore.

Under the apps list sits your aggregated Continue watching list. It brings together your Continue watching lists from various apps on the TV and puts them in one place. Depending on your region and app support, the list could fetch your stuff from Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV+, Hulu, and more. If one of your apps doesn’t play nice with Google TV’s integrations, you can use them the traditional way by going into the app first.

To manage which apps are allowed to show recommended content on the homepage, follow these steps:

  1. Scroll to the bottom of the homepage and select Manage services.
  2. Toggle on all the apps you want to see and turn off the rest.

Access live TV and your watchlist on Google TV

The top menu shows a dedicated Live section for live TV content. Google TV integrates popular linear TV services like Pluto TV and its own YouTube TV into this section for quick access. It cannot get better for people who like their live broadcast channels as much as their streaming services.

Meanwhile, your Google Watchlist is available under Library, along with your rented and purchased movies from Play Movies & TV (now Google TV). While it’s convenient to have a universal watchlist, we wish Google offered better filters and sorting options to manage the list on the TV better. Without any segregation, your watchlist can quickly get cluttered if you have hundreds of films on your list.

How is the Google TV app different?

The Google TV app for Android and iOS phones is a rebranded and redesigned version of Play Movies & TV that now works well with the Google TV interface on your TV. The For you tab on the app mimics what you get on your TV, including the main carousel and your top picks.

A uniform interface makes you feel at home when picking something to watch after dinner. And the app makes it easy to manage your watchlist from your phone instead of typing long movie and TV show names on your smart TV with the remote’s D-pad. Google also added a Highlights section to the app that shows a stream of entertainment news articles to keep you engaged while you browse your watchlist.

Source: Google

While you can buy and rent movies from the same app and find your previous purchases, the app’s best feature is its excellent new virtual remote that is quick to set up and easy to use.

Make the best of Google TV on the big screen and your phone

With Google TV, the company is giving you a truly multi-platform experience. When looking up a movie in Google Search, you can tap the Want to watch button, and it automatically shows up on your connected TV set. Or you can rent a movie or series you want to watch from Google TV’s phone app and instantly start watching it on your living room TV. It’s that simple.

And the company has now made it easy and affordable to upgrade your old TV set by plugging in the new Chromecast with Google TV (HD), leaving you with no reason but to switch to Google TV.

Conclusion on Everything you need to know

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