Android TV unboxing and first look: specs, pictures, and more [VIDEO]

Say goodbye to Google TV and hello to the wonder you see us groping in the video above. Android TV is a renaissance of Google’s first stab at the smart TV market. While we won’t be seeing any consumer products until we head closer to the end of this year, developers have already been treated to units of the ADT-1, Android TV’s first development platform device.

Specs

One of the things early Google TV devices were chastised for was under-performing specs. The lackluster internals made for sluggish experiences (so much so that some of them became flat-out unusable after a while). Thankfully Google has looked to remedy that as they came out the gate strong with some pretty impressive specs:

  • Tegra 4 chipset
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16GB of internal storage
  • 2×2 MIMO dual-channel WiFi
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Ethernet Port
  • HDMI port
  • Android L Developer Preview

The device is fully unlocked out of the box, natch, so Google’s inviting developers to go nuts and come up with anything they can to help get this platform ready for launch later this year. It’s far too early to tell what the result of such openness will be, but we have a feeling it won’t take long for developers to pour their heart, soul and code into these boxes.

Software and Features

Android TV appears to be quite simple at its core. It takes on a lot of the same qualities Google TV had: it combines live television with internet video sources such as Netflix, Hulu and YouTube to give you access to nearly anything you’d want to watch at a moment’s notice.

android-tv-pic2

All of that will leverage voice commands, search and Google’s Knowledge Graph to help you find what you are looking for and learn everything about it with ease. Not lost on us is the much improved user interface that presents all your content in a way that’s very pleasing to the eye, and it’s easy enough to zip around said interface thanks to the capable hardware sitting inside.

Where Android TV steps things up a notch — nay, a ton — is the department of games.  One of the important things they wanted to do from the starting gate was build games into the platform in a way that developers won’t even have to think about porting their wares over to the big screen.

This includes integration with the Google Play Games platform for access to achievements, leaderboards and multiplayer gaming. We saw examples of gaming with controllers to give folks a console-esque experience, and with that powerful Tegra 4 chipset inside this could turn out to be a very versatile piece of equipment.

android-tv-game-remote11

Google also mentioned that the platform would have “Cast” capabilities, so the ability to beam music, movies, photos and even mirror your Android phone or tablet’s display should add a lot to the experience. Needless to say this should prove to be a much more useful, usable and exciting package than Google TV was in its infancy, and it’ll be exciting to see what future iterations bring us.

Photos

In case you were wondering how the ADT-1 and its controller looks from every angle this handy photo gallery should do the trick:

Will you buy one?

So after Google’s second (and seemingly successful) attempt at the smart TV game — will you buy one? Granted, you won’t be able to get the ADT-1, but we should see manufacturers start to push out set-top boxes and televisions with Android TV built-in by this holiday season. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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  • jnt

    It’s cool to see the improvements – it at least appears to be on par with others now. But unless you’re big into gaming on Android or mostly invested in movies / TV via the Play Store, I can’t see any compelling reason to ditch Roku or even Fire TV for this.

    • harold

      Sure there is it’s a google android device

    • Jason E Perkins

      I like how Android TV puts content first, a la Plex. Roku, Google TV, and others put apps first, requiring users to drill in to find what they want to watch.

      If the price is right, I’ll make the switch. If developers can make it so new-episode cards get pushed to the main screen so I can instantly know when new content is available (and this seems to be the case), it’ll be an instant buy for me.

  • Dominic Powell

    I thought it was a tegra K1 chipset?

    • renz

      maybe they don’t have definite spec for it? all i know this android TV will come from partner and they can use whatever ARM SoC that they think will fit their needs. T4 is about as fast as snapdragon 800. the much more expensive one might use TK1

  • yobbei

    Shut up and take my money NOW!

  • Phaz0n

    Let’s see that Gear Live Rob Jackson!

  • ac

    I’m assuming it’s just HDMI input port, not output. I purchased a Vizio CoStar because of the HDMI input and ouput ports, so that I could integrate with my HD cable box. Makes it much easier to use, when not needing to switch inputs all the time.

  • Moroni Granja

    So sometime soon my favorite ROM may have a “android tv mode” that will turn my phone connected to a tv and paired with a controller into a replica of this?

  • Medion

    I currently use a WDTV Live because it allows me to play my DVD/BD rips via an external USB HDD. But it’s online streaming options are limited and clunky. If Android TV allows me to replace the WDTV, then I’ll get two or three. Otherwise, I’ll stick with the WDTV/Chromecast combo.

    And no, Plex is not a desirable option. Why transcode when you can have local full quality rips that don’t require using my internal network and don’t require that a separate PC be turned on for transcoding?

    • Luxferro

      Plex is much more than just a plan old media player. If you think it’s only feature is transcoding, it’s your loss.

      • Medion

        Plex is amazing software. But the need to transcode is a limitation, not a feature. By putting my rips on one HDD per TV, I get local streaming at max quality without overhead on my main PC.

        WDTV live will play anything you throw at it. If you feel the need to transcode, well, that’s your loss :)

    • average linux user

      I absolutely agree with you. Connecting an external HDD is an absolute must. Equally important is the ability of the box to play all possible formats. I currently own a WD box and it can play almost all codecs i have thrown at it. But my WD is getting old and I am evaluating my options. If Android TV does not play a lot of codecs, I think I’ll just install XBMC on a set top box.

  • Bob Omb

    wait, so does this have HDMI bypass? Input Directv-DVR output through Android TV so it will overlay over top of it correct? Otherwise you need to change tv inputs every time you want to use this?

    • Lee Winkler

      Sure doesnt look like it….that sucks…cmon google….

    • HeatFan786

      Xbox One does have it.

    • Scott Stafford

      It does, it says it overlays on top of your existing TV experience. There is no way it doesn’t have HDMI passthru. You have to realize this is just a developer model with the most basic of functionality. The consumer devices will certainly have it.

  • Darren1

    Any chance of the Google Cast Receiver apk?

  • John Wayne McClung

    I definitely plan on getting one. I’ve been waiting for this announcement ever since Fire TV was released.

  • Scott Stafford

    I have the Logitech Revue and the second gen Sony GTV device. I’ll def be getting Android TV. I really hope this technology just becomes industry standard in every living room. It has so much potential, it just needs users to go to the next level.

  • Charles Payton

    I am lost Nvidia’s site claims that the android tv is powered by the K1 but you say tegra 4???

    http://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2014/06/25/android-tv-nvidia-tegra/

    http://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2014/06/25/tegra-k1-at-google-io/

  • ianken

    Give me cable card support and a real DVR solution and I’m in. Otherwise it’s a weak game console.