Google has announced new features coming in Android 12 for TVs. These include refresh rate switching, 4K UI support, microphone and camera indicators, and more. Let’s try to figure out how Android TV 12 differs from Android TV 11 – its predecessor.
Android 12 TV and Android 11 TV: Differences
Some Android TV devices, such as the Nvidia Shield, provide frame rate matching systems, but their functionality leaves a lot to be desired. Starting with Android 12, Google will offer “refresh rate switching” support at the Android level.
This will allow the device to match the video output to the content’s frame rate (24fps, 25fps, 50fps, 60fps, etc.) for lag-free video playback. The new settings will be available in the user menu.
“For a smoother viewing experience, Android 12 TV now supports static and dynamic frame rate switching over Android 11. Apps can now add these settings to play content at the optimal frame rate.
The ‘Content Frame Rate’ custom setting has been added to enable users to control this feature, ”said Wolfram Klein, product manager for Android TV. However, it is not yet known how broadly switching will be supported in streaming applications.
Android TVs also have support for 4K UI, compared to the 1080p screen seen on all 4K and even 8K Android TVs today, as well as background blur that apps can use to create focus effects.
In addition, Google detailed the new security and privacy features that will be available on TVs running Android TV 12. This includes the microphone and camera indicators in the upper corner of the screen.
Users will now see an indicator on the TV screen every time applications access the microphone or camera. For better visibility of recent applications to the microphone and camera, users can open their privacy settings in the TV menu.
Two new global privacy settings are now available, allowing the user to easily toggle microphone or camera access. When these switches are disabled, applications will not be able to access microphone audio and camera video.
Play as it loads
At a separate event, the Google for Games Developer Summit 2021, Google announced that the Play on Load option will allow the game to start immediately after the first fragments are loaded. This option is very similar to those found on Apple TV, PlayStation, and Xbox. According to the company, games are “ready to open at least 2 times faster.”
In Google’s own words: Beautiful and smooth media playback is at the heart of the TV experience. In the US, users spend over 4 hours a day watching media on TV. They always ask for the highest resolution possible.
In Android 12 TV, Google is releasing three new features to better support the ever-improving picture quality. One of them: the settings for switching the refresh rate. For a smoother viewing experience, Android 12 now supports both static and dynamic refresh rate switching.
You can now add these settings to applications to play content at the optimal frame rate. A custom Match Content Frame Rate has been added to allow users to control this feature. Apps can use Display.getMode to see if the user’s device supports fade-free frame rate switching.
The second option is improved reporting of display modes. The company is improving the option in which TV devices report display modes and making hot-plug mode more consistent. Application developers no longer need to use workarounds to pinpoint display modes or handle HDMI hot plug events.
A wasting new feature is the tunnel mode update. Android 12 makes it easier for app developers to support consistent and efficient playback across devices by reducing the media overhead of the Android Framework.
For more convenient multimedia control, the user interface has been changed in the new version. Android TV contains two new user interface additions to help developers deliver richer visual experiences to users on high-performance devices.
So, for example, blurring the background with RenderEffect (for blurring in an application) and WindowManager (for blurring between windows) can now be used to easily improve the visual separation of different layers of the user interface.
Android TV OS now officially supports 4k rendering of UI on compatible devices. 4K user interface support for added visual fidelity. 4K resolution can be tested in the upcoming Android 12 emulator for TV.
This way, app developers can prepare their apps for higher-resolution devices. Android TV 12 OS continues to focus on giving users more transparency and control while keeping their devices and data safe. Beta 3 for TV includes many new privacy features.
Android TV 12 release date
In May 2021, Google announced new broadcast and remote control features coming to OS Android TV 12. Android 12 for TVs is expected to be publicly released in late 2021. However, you will have to wait for the device manufacturer containing the Android TV to make the software available.
This update can take a long time. For example, the Nvidia Shield is still running Android 9 since 2018, while newer devices launched in 2021 usually ship with Android TV 10 .