Difference Between Android TV and Google TV

Difference Between Android TV and Google TV

There can be some confusion regarding the difference between Android TV and Google TV. Both represent two different generations of the same operating system for smart televisions and television consoles or set-top boxes. However, with regard to more modern usage in branding, one refers to the operating system while the other represents a user interface layer over an operating system. This article highlights the difference between the two.

Explaining Android TV vs Google TV: What is the Difference?

Previous Branding for Smart TV Operating System Generation

Google TV was the branding used for a smart TV operating system developed by Google and its partners which include Intel Corporation, Sony Group, and Logitech International. It was launched in October 2010 and was based on the Android operating system with an integrated Google Chrome web browser. However, in June 2014, the branding was dropped.

The Android TV branding succeeded Google TV in 2014. It is still based on the Android operating system and it is available for smart television sets, soundbars, set-top boxes or consoles, and digital media players. It also features the same user interface based on content delivery, voice search, app management, and integration with other Google services and technologies.

Nevertheless, based on the aforementioned, the main and somewhat outdated difference between Android TV and Google TV is that the former represents a newer generation of an Android operating system for smart television sets and other related devices while the latter pertains to an older operating system based on the same Android operating system family.

It is also important to highlight the fact that the difference between the two is a matter of branding. The Android TV operating system is essentially a rebranded Google TV operating system. However, in terms of more modern usage, it is important to note that the Google TV branding is still around but it is used to represent a specific user interface layer.

Newer Branding for User Interface Layer and Distribution Service

Google TV is now a user interface layer placed on top of the Android TV operating system. It was introduced in September 2020. It is fundamentally a modified version of the Android TV operating system that is customized to focus on content discovery and tighter integration with relevant Google services and technologies to declutter the smart TV user interface.

It is also worth mentioning that Google TV is also the same brand name for the digital distribution service of Google. It distributes television and movie content across multiple streaming services such as Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, HBO Max or HBO Go, and YouTube. The app is available on Android and iOS or iPadOS and as a web-based app.

The user interface of Android TV is app-focused. It also has some resemblance to traditional rows of app icons that bear some resemblance to most Android tablet devices. There is also a lot of customization options but less built-in or out-of-the-box integration with Google services and technologies. These represent its main difference with Google TV.

Another notable difference between Android TV and Google TV is the content discovery feature. The former is dependent on individual streaming apps for recommendations. The latter uses machine learning for a more personalized content recommendation. Google TV also centralizes content from various apps or sources and presents them on the home screen.

In a Nutshell: The Difference Between Android TV and Google TV

Nonetheless, considering the above, remember that the prevailing Android TV vs Google TV confusion stems from branding decisions made in the past. The latter was once the brand name for an Android-based operating system before it was rebranded into the former. It is now the brand name for a custom and streamlined user interface placed on top of Android TV and a digital distribution service of movie and television content.