Google Assistant for TV Control
Google Assistant, in essence, serves as Google’s counterpart to Apple’s Siri. It’s a virtual assistant seamlessly integrated into your Android phone, readily activated by a long-press of the home button. Introduced in 2016, Google Assistant has emerged as a resounding success, unlike its predecessor, Google Now. You can find it on most Android phones, Android TVs, and tablets. You can interact with it through both voice and text queries, encompassing a wide array of tasks, from seeking directions to checking weather forecasts. So, how can you employ Google Assistant to enhance your TV-watching experience? Let’s break it down step by step.
Getting Started: Begin by identifying the type of TV in your home. Is it a smart TV or an Android TV with internet connectivity, or does it lack these capabilities? Before rushing out to purchase a new, state-of-the-art TV, let’s explore how you can make the most of your current setup. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll consider three different television scenarios.
Non-Smart TV: These TVs lack internet connectivity, making them unable to connect directly with Google Assistant. However, fret not; in today’s tech-savvy world, almost anything is achievable. To use Google Assistant with your non-smart TV, you’ll need to acquire a Chromecast dongle, readily available for online purchase. Be sure to select the one that suits your needs.
The Chromecast dongle is a compact device that plugs into the HDMI port at the rear of your TV. Once connected to your Wi-Fi network, it transforms your TV into a smart TV. To initiate streaming, you’ll typically need to press the Cast icon on your smartphone within most streaming apps. This action sends a link to Chromecast, prompting the streaming process. From here, you can employ Google Assistant on your smartphone to issue basic commands such as adjusting volume or changing channels.
Smart TV: These TVs are labeled ‘smart’ due to their internet connectivity and pre-installed apps like YouTube and Netflix—a convenient feature, right? However, one drawback is their limited ability to update available apps, making it challenging to keep them up-to-date. Another limitation is the relatively fewer app options available. It’s important to note that not all smart TVs run on the Android OS, a prerequisite for accessing Google Assistant. Smart TVs that do run Android OS include brands like Sharp, Sony Bravia, Hisense, and Philips, while those that don’t include LG, Samsung, Vizio, and Panasonic.
Most smart TVs come with remote controls equipped with microphones, enabling you to control the TV via voice commands. If your remote doesn’t support voice control, you can still use Google Assistant on your smartphone to manage your TV.
Android TV: Android TVs offer internet connectivity and built-in apps, but they have a distinct advantage over regular smart TVs: they come with integrated Google Assistant, much like your Android phone. This feature allows you to control the TV using voice commands through the remote control, provided it has a built-in microphone. Alternatively, you can use your smartphone to communicate with the TV.
Another perk of Android TVs is their ability to receive regular updates for built-in apps and the option to download new apps from the Google Play Store, mirroring the experience on your Android phone. Overall, Android TVs provide the most advanced integration with Google Assistant.
If you’re considering upgrading to an Android TV, conduct thorough research to ensure you get the best value for your investment.