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While smartphones are getting ready to get Android 13, Android TVs are just starting to get Android 12. This is due to the fact that each OEM must optimize the hardware for their device. My TCL TV offered to upgrade just this week, and I did not refuse: however, at first glance, there are not so many differences. However, if you watch TV every day, you notice with the naked eye what has changed. Today I will tell you whether it is worth updating your TV to Android 12 and how to do it.
Android TV 12 – What’s new
As mentioned above, there are not so many differences between Android TV 12 and the previous version, but they are. So, your TV will finally reach its full potential if it has 4K: now the main screen and all other menu items that previously worked in 1080p will work in 4K. Previously, on close examination, the graininess of the menu was noticeable, which is now gone, and all elements have become clear. Added background blur for apps to create a focus effect.
- Additionally, support for switching the refresh rate has appeared: this will allow the device to match the frame rate of the content in order to avoid video delays and the effect of “judder” of the picture.
- Google has upgraded the work with the image: static and dynamic switching of the frame rate is now available. Applications will be able to add them so that the content plays at the optimal frequency.
- The security features have also been updated. Now the user will see the indicator of the turned on camera or microphone in the upper corner of the screen: to know when you have used them, there is a separate setting in the privacy menu. If desired, you can completely prohibit access to them by deactivating the switches.
And don’t forget about games on Android TV : now they will be active as they load, so they will launch at least twice as fast as on the PlayStation.
New features of Android TV
In Android TV 12, menu elements have been slightly redesigned: they have become clearer and more detailed. When you change the volume level, a more compact volume slider appears on the screen. Banners with settings on the screen are now blurry – it looks much more organic. When you turn on the TV, you may notice that the Android TV logo has changed . Android TV was supposed to be almost a twin brother of Google TV , and it did, but it’s unlikely that you’ll like the Google Play-style home screen for TV. The trick is to offer you more content and apps, so it takes some getting used to.
Some menu items have been moved and new ones added to make it easier for users to navigate. Of the new ones – intelligent sound and image settings. I can say that the system is working properly: there are no errors, no lags either. According to personal observations, the interface is clearly a little faster than on Android 11. A rare case when both Google and the manufacturing company tried. In any case, if the TV model is fresh, then the update will definitely not harm it.
How to install an Android TV update
As mentioned earlier, the Android TV update is rolling out gradually. Perhaps even too slowly. As far as I know, most TVs released in 2021 run on Android 10 at all and are not even updated to the next version, so it’s clearly not worth chasing an update. Do not try to download beta versions or reflash your TV – this is a very bad idea.
The update is installed automatically or manually: in the first case, the TV will prompt you to install the update at startup, but will not tell you what version it is. Updates for a TV are an even bigger lottery than for a smartphone, so it’s better to be very careful about installing them. Disable auto update in settings and check it manually.
- Tap Settings on the home screen.
- Select “Device Settings” and click “About Device”.
- Scroll down the screen to “Android TV OS version” – the current version will be indicated here.
- Then find “Software Update”, turn off auto-update and click “Network Update”.
- Select “System Update”, after which the system will check for an update and offer to install it.
Android TV for TVs has some changes in the interface, but more emphasis is placed on improving the quality of the picture. What I am most pleased with is that 4K is getting more and more popular, and Android TV has finally optimized the system picture for this standard.
However, the only problem is the waiting time: even if you paid a tidy sum for a large TV for the home, this does not mean that you will be able to get an Android TV update at all – it is likely that the version that is installed now will be the first and last.