Most Android TV owners don’t think about version numbers or hunt for updates as slavishly as Android phone owners, but that doesn’t mean software changes aren’t buzzing in the background. And the latest is upon us: Android TV 13 – based on the same Android 13 software that powers your handheld – is coming soon, and it offers several key improvements to your couch experience.
According to an in-depth analysis of the upcoming OS, which reads like an unofficial user guide to the new OS, Android TV 13 will include several new features. TechRadar contacted Google to confirm the feature list, but given the links to Google’s developer site and the source (the author, Mishaal Rahman, is the former editor of the XDA Developers site), we tend to believe it. .
First, there’s a magnified image in frame mode, allowing developers to create PiP windows of custom aspect ratios, as well as the ability to dock these new windows. Imagine you tune into a live event and a second window appears, smaller and pinned in the corner, with live commentary about the event. Or a small popup with running stats on a sporting event.
Second, a new “low-power sleep” mode is coming to Android, which Rahman says could have implications for owners of Android OS-powered TVs. Indeed, “this feature is intended for Android TV devices and is disabled by default on other configurations,” he notes. Why? The mode apparently disables network access except during specified “sleep maintenance” times, ostensibly preventing your TV from waking up randomly and making your TV more efficient.
The features may well be unveiled at Google I/O, coming May 11 and likely to spotlight the upcoming Android 13 operating system.
What does all this mean?
Although the changes are relatively limited, it’s good to see improvements coming to Android TV, which powers a huge number of TVs and has huge untapped potential.
That said, the limiting factor for today’s TV audience isn’t so much the operating system as the chips that power your TV. Even the best-looking display on the market – and we’re looking at you, the Samsung S95B – will frustrate the user if it’s driven by an outdated, underpowered processor.
Increasingly, it’s the chips that power our entertainment devices that we need to watch out for, not just the caliber of screen technology or overall version number. Also, Android TV updates suffer from the same manufacturer dependency as phones. In other words, you won’t just get Android TV 13 even if you search manually. Your game provider should verify it and push it to your TV.
Still, the new features mean your next set will be even better than today’s, right? So browse the best TVs without fear: the wheels of progress keep turning, don’t they?