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What’s the Difference between Google TV and Android TV?

android tv google tv logos

Google TV is the company’s platform for smart TVs and set-top boxes. But wait, didn’t Google already have a TV platform called Android TV? And what about the Google TV app? Let’s dive into another Google naming mess.

First and foremost, Google TV is still Android TV. The simplest way to think about Google TV is to imagine Android TV with a fresh coat of paint.

Google TV is similar in concept to overlays like Samsung’s One UI. A Samsung Galaxy phone with One UI is still running Android. In the same way, devices with Google TV are still running Android TV underneath. The difference here is One UI is exclusive to Samsung devices, while Google TV will run on Android TV devices from all companies.

google tv about settings
Still Android TV underneath.

The latest version of what we know as “Android TV” is based on Android 9, while Google TV is based on Android 10. Upgrading from Android TV to Google TV is no different than upgrading from Android 8 to Android 9. There’s just an extra layer on top.

android tv home screen
Android TV Home Screen.

Name aside, the biggest change with Google TV is the Home screen. Google completely revamped the Home screen experience to be based around recommendations. Movies and TV shows are pulled from the streaming services you subscribe to.

google tv home
Google TV Home Screen.

The entire setup process for a new device has been revamped as well. Instead of taking place on the TV itself, set up now happens through the Google Home app.  During the setup process, Google asks you to choose your streaming services so it can customize the Home screen recommendations.

RELATED: How to Set Up Your Chromecast with Google TV

Another key component of the Google TV Home screen is the “Watchlist.” You can add movies and TV shows to your Watchlist from Google Search on your phone, tablet, or computer. They will then be easily accessible from the Google TV Home screen. The content is also available in the Google TV app.

add to watchlist

That’s right, there’s also a Google TV app. The Google Play Movies & TV app has been renamed to Google TV. It’s still the place to rent and purchase movies and TV shows in Google’s ecosystem, but now it also includes your streaming services and Watchlist. Search for anything and Google TV will tell you where it can be watched.

RELATED: How to Get the Google TV UI on Android TV Devices Right Now

The important thing to know is Google TV is still Android TV. It may look very different, but at the core they are the same. The Home screen is where most of the changes lie, and older devices will eventually get the same experience.

Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has close to a decade of experience covering consumer technology and previously worked as a News Editor at XDA Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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