Android TV simplifies video subscriptions, adds live TV to voice search

During the annual Google I/O developer conference, Android TV got some love in the form of updates to its app store and Google Assistant voice search.

Google said that it will soon make it easier for Android TV users to sign up for subscription services. According to Variety, this means combining steps including signing up, downloading an app and logging in with credentials, and allowing users to make purchases by entering a four-digit pin.

The simplified subscription feature is coming as part of a refresh for the Google Play store on Android TV, which will also include an updated user interface.

Google Assistant voice search is also getting an update on Android TV. Google Assistant was added to Android TV years back, and it works with on-demand video surfaces, but according to Engadget, the voice search will soon be able to surface live TV as well. Virtual MVPD Philo is an early taker on the integration, and was demonstrating Google Assistant search for live TV during the event.

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Google also used the event to present some concrete numbers on Android TV adoption. The smart TV platform is now being used by more than 140 pay TV operators internationally and six of the top smart TV makers are working on Android TV devices. The platform now has more than 1,000 streaming content providers and more than 5,000 apps.

Android TV product lead Anwar Haneef told Variety that the volume of apps on Android TV is a reason the company is working to make discovery more effective on the platform.

The latest Android TV updates arrive as more pay TV operators and vendors are using the platform for product launches and services. AT&T is building a proprietary streaming box for DirecTV using Android TV. In the past year, suppliers including Espial, Evolution Digital, TiVo and Vewd have all launched Android TV operator services.