Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
Android 14 is on its way in the near future, but what about Android TV 14? Google has reportedly canceled its plans to roll out Android TV 13. It seems Google is moving on and focusing on the next iteration instead. Typically, Android TV updates are relatively minor compared to standard Android releases. It seems likely that will be the case this year as well. Let’s jump in and discuss everything we know about the upcoming Android TV 14 release date, features, and more.
Android TV 14 was officially announced earlier in 2023, but Google has yet to release the Android TV 14 stable build. We already know Google plans to launch Android 14 in October, around the same time as its October Pixel 8 event. It’s very possible we could see Android TV 14 shortly after this for select devices like the Chromecast with Google TV family. At the very least, you can expect it sometime in Q4 2023.
The Android TV 14 stable release might still be a bit off, but the Android TV 14 beta is already available. The catch is that it can currently only be installed using the Android Studio emulator. In fact, it is really only designed with developers in mind and isn’t recommended for average users. Furthermore, we don’t expect it to be available on physical hardware until after the official release.
While Apple’s tvOS 17 looks like a pretty big release, we don’t expect nearly as big of a change for Google’s Android TV 14. Of course, Google has yet to release a full change log for the final build. Everything we know is based on a deep dive into the beta release from Android Authority contributor Mishaal Rahman via X. The good news is there is at least one cool new feature: Android shortcuts. There are a few other interesting smaller changes as well.
You might remember reading about the leaked video discovered by Rahman last week indicating a new Chromecast with Google TV could be on its way. Or at least a new remote. The new remote has a unique star button on it that can be customized with an app shortcut of your choice. The only catch is you’ll need the Android TV 14 with Google TV software to do it.
Adding app shortcuts isn’t the only thing you can use the new star button for. Alternatively, you can use the custom button on the new remote for device inputs.
The beta has a new Call Notifications feature for Android 14 and Android 14 with Google TV devices. Simply put, you’ll be able to receive call notifications right from your TV as long as you have a compatible device.
What’s less clear is if this is just a notification or if you’ll be able to fully take a call right from the big screen. Either way, this is a pretty exciting feature. Hopefully, there’s also the ability to receive messages, too. Worried about your calls showing up when someone else is watching? The good news is the calls are tied specifically to your profile.
There are a number of new accessibility features heading over to Android TV 14. Google is adding a new shortcut for text scaling, a bold text setting that makes it easier to read, and a new color-correct setting for those with color blindness. There’s also a new feature called Audio Descriptions, which will read what’s happening on the screen but only for supported movies and shows.
Lastly, the accessibility menu is much more prominent now. You’ll find it as a top-level sub-menu in the Settings instead of buried deep in the System sub-menu.
Android TV 14 is set to introduce some small performance tweaks, such as the ability to covert HDR formats or keep the standard dynamic range. Don’t want to specify how it handles this? The System Preferred setting will pick the right choice for you.
While not directly related to performance, there are even new energy efficiency settings: Low, Moderate, High, and Unrestricted. Using low turns off the network connection when you’re not using the TV. Moderate leaves on just enough features to wake your TV via Wi-Fi. Of course, high leaves on almost everything. As you might guess, unrestricted keeps all network features running constantly. Keep in mind these new features will only work with supported hardware. Maybe we will see it on the rumored new Chromecast with Google TV? Hard to say, but it would make sense for Google to showcase this feature on its own hardware.
Mishaal Rahman / Android Authority
For now, we can’t say what Android TV 14 compatibility will be like with any certainty. After all Android TV 13 never arrived on a single device outside of the ADT developer hardware. Interestingly, it looks like the upcoming ADT-4 developer box won’t even be available to developers outside of Google and its direct partners.
It seems certain that the Chromecast with Google TV series will eventually see the update, especially since it skipped Android TV 13 altogether. Any new Android TV hardware may also ship with it as well, such as the rumored Chromecast with Google TV. Just don’t expect it to roll out to every Android TV box or TV set, even newer models. Typically, Android TV devices focus more on security patches and fixes over full OS software updates. After all, there’s only so much to add to the platform and as you see in the Android TV 14 features list above, the updates tend to be fairly minor.
While we don’t know much about Android TV 14, there are at least a few things we’d like to see come to the platform eventually.
David Imel / Android Authority
I really love the Android with Google TV interface, particularly the Continue Watching feature. Simply put, it lets you resume shows no matter what streaming service they come from. While I prefer it over the Fire TV equivalent, it can be pretty finicky. I’ll get ready to resume a show I was just watching, only for it to fall off the list for no reason. There will even sometimes be random shows I haven’t watched forever that are sitting there indefinitely.
A more robust streaming history would be very welcome. Imagine if you could click a “more details” button and look back at what you watched with the date last watched. It would be great to see features like how much time spent and other details on your viewing habits. As someone who watches a lot of shows and then forgets about them forever… this would be amazing.
VPN by Google One already comes built-in with your Pixel devices, but what if it also was supported by Google TV devices or even just the Chromecast series? A VPN can be very helpful for watching geo-restricted content. For example, I’ve used it to watch Bluey episodes straight from ABC (Australia Broadcasting Company), though I live stateside.
As much as I’d like to see this, it’s probably not likely but it sure would be awesome.
Yes, there are Android TV games on Google Play, but the selection is pretty limited, to say the least. Running games on the Chromecast with Google TV can also be pretty frustrating. Not only does it have relatively weak specs but there’s also limited storage space. The easiest way around this would be better streaming video service support. Previously, Google had Stadia, but official support for Xbox Game Pass or NVIDIA GeForce Now would be a welcome addition.