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YouTube TV could gain much tighter integration with an upcoming Android TV redesign. The question is whether that tight integration will be just for Google’s hotly-anticipated new Android TV device and if not, whether Android TV will offer the same level of integration for other live TV streaming services or simply, use the platform to prioritize YouTube TV.
One of the major selling points with Android TV is its open nature. Unlike operator devices that strongly encourage and direct users to a specific live TV service, the general version of Android TV makes it equally easy to use any live TV streaming service that’s compatible and available on the platform. However, a new Android TV leak has not only revealed plenty of new information, but also raised one or two questions.
In a detailed leak, XDA-Developers provided images of a device currently understood to be going by the codename “Sabrina.” This is believed to be the same device that was previously rumored as an Android TV-powered Chromecast. With Google’s TV optimized system on board, the new device differs from a traditional Chromecast by doing away with the need to cast from a smartphone, while adding a remote control to the equation.
With the new device, comes a new Android TV
While the device leak is interesting enough, what is more interesting is the Android TV redesigned UI as this provides some insight into some of the more functional changes that could be coming to the platform as a whole. For example, the report included screenshots from a marketing video that show Android TV adopting a heavier content-first design where movies and shows are promoted over everything else.
In addition, the screenshots also showed YouTube TV as being accessible directly from the home screen. For example, instead of launching the YouTube TV app, and then navigating through the interface, the user could simply click on the “Live” tab on the home screen and directly access YouTube TV.
While this is already an approach used by some devices, including AirTV players and the new Tivo Stream 4K player, this is not one of those third-party products, but a first-party device running what many might consider the generic version of Android TV. The same version that could possibly be used by third-party device-makers to launch over-the-counter players.
YouTube TV central to Android TV?
If it is assumed the next version of Android TV will come with this level of live TV streaming integration, the question then becomes whether it is limited to just YouTube TV. For example, while owners of devices not affiliated with a live TV streaming service will still be able to download their preferred live TV app, will they also be able to activate the integration and access live TV content in the same way? Or will Android TV in general become a service that attempts to encourage YouTube TV, similar to how third-party devices prioritize their partnered (or “preferred”) live TV streaming service?
While that question remains unknown right now, there is always the possibility that the Android TV UI shown here is a slightly tweaked version, specifically designed for Google’s new Chromecast device. The company already utilizes a tweaked version of Android mobile for its own Pixel smartphones, so it wouldn’t be out of place for it to also add some extras bonus features to its own Android TV device.
Providing the details in this latest leak are correct, it seems highly likely the next Android TV redesign will result in the platform playing even nicer with YouTube TV than it already does. Whether that’s good news for any individual household likely comes down to whether they are a YouTube TV household or not.
Then again, maybe that’s the point. YouTube TV has been growing rapidly since its launch and maybe Google now feels it is time to help it along a little further with Android TV.