Smart TV interfaces provide the necessary portal for streaming, smart home control, cloud gaming, and many other apps and services, but they tend to be cluttered with unwanted content recommendations, ad-supported free TV deals, and now more often than not, direct ads.
Google TV that powers Google Chromecast with Google TV Streaming Stick and is also used as a smart interface on best 4K TVs from Sony, TCL, Hisense, and Philips is one of the more familiar third-party streaming options for TV makers. But he’s also been blamed for screen clutter, and most recently for leaning heavily on advertisements. The company occasionally tweaks its interface to make it more user-friendly, however, the latest improvements will be rolling out to Google TV users this week.
Citing research that the average household now subscribes to more than five different entertainment apps, Google TV has launched four new content pages to help viewers find the shows they want to watch without having to jump from app to app.
- The Cinema The site allows viewers to browse selections by genre, title or topic, as well as displaying new and emerging releases. It provides personalized recommendations, something I’ve found Google TV does with a higher level of accuracy than other Smart TV platforms.
- To introduce shows you new versions of the services you’ve subscribed to, along with popular and emerging services you might want to check out. And when you’re done watching an episode, Google TV will suggest others that Google thinks you’ll like.
- new Spanish offers a central place to check out Spanish-language shows, from movies to soap operas. Here you can also access the app in Spanish and find a collection of movies and shows dubbed and subtitled in Spanish.
- Family Not surprisingly, it bundles a range of PG-rated or lower movies on one page, making it easy for families to access wholesome entertainment that kids and parents can watch together.
The new pages that will be available to Google TV users in the US are located below the app row in the For You tab. Google TV is also getting navigational improvements, with the profile switcher moving to the top left of the screen so multiple users in the same household can easily access their personalized settings, and the search button moving to the top right. These specific changes are being rolled out around the world.
Analysis: Smart TV clutter is a problem, and Google’s new pages could be the solution
As a TV reviewer, I’ve accepted that Smart TV interfaces are generally cluttered and that finding something specific I want to watch will take work. The increase in the number of ads on the main screen has only made things worse, as have ad-supported free TV portals, something that all TV brands now offer that push notifications urging me to check out shows I have absolutely no interest in watching.
Ad-supported free TV portals and recommendation engines can take up a good chunk of the smart screen interface, and while viewers who are simply looking for something to watch without paying for a streaming service have some benefits, not everyone fits into this category.
By offering specific page links in the Smart TV interface, Google TV makes it easier for viewers to find the TV shows and movies they’re looking for faster, and even better, it allows them to somewhat limit lists to specific services they already subscribe to. This is a definite step in the right direction when it comes to reducing clutter on your smart TV screen.
I like Google TV – it has good personalized recommendations, and being able to connect to Google Photos to view slideshows from this service is something I appreciate. But Google TV also lacks the clean, sleek interface you get from the Apple TV 4K, let alone the Roku found on TVs like TCL’s Series 6 models.
Adding specific pages for viewers to discover movies, TV shows, and more, especially from services they already subscribe to, is a definite improvement that will make Google TV a more competitive and compelling option in the smart TV world.