Google announces first release of Android 12 for TVs

Mike Wheatley

Google has made the final version of Android 12 for TV available to developers, with new features including refresh rate switching and a 4K resolution user interface. However, the release is currently only available on the ADT-3 device, which is a dongle aimed specifically at software developers. It’ll likely be some time before the updates arrive on any TVs.


Still, Android TV users will be pleased to know the updated version offers some nifty new features, with the most important being that there’s a new framework in place for refresh rate switching. That should ensure stutter-free video playback at 24 frames per second, 25fps, 50fps and 60fps etc. Though it should be mentioned that individual streaming apps, such as Netflix, will also need to implement support for the feature to work.

The other highlight is the upgrade to 4K user interface. While Android TV has supported 4K content on compatible TVs for years already, the actual menus on the TV are currently just 1080p resolution. The update will ensure the menus can be shown in 4K on displays that support it.

Other updates include interface tweaks around blurring and focus, plus the addition of microphone and camera indicators, so users will know when the TV is watching and listening. The release also adds support for HDMI CEC 2.0 to enable better device interoperability. Furthermore, Google says it has added customisations to Android 12 for TV to improve the experience on, and compatibility with, more TV devices.

“Some of the highlights coming with Android 12 for TV are media playback improvements, more refined user interface capabilities, and privacy and security enhancements,” Google said. “In addition we are introducing better standards support an improvements for HDMI and tuners.”

Google has also promised better support for high dynamic range and surround sound formats with the release.

It’s not clear which TVs and devices can expect to receive the Android 12 upgrade first. Googe’s Chromecast with Google TV, as the company’s flagship device, would seem like an obvious candidate. That dongle currently runs Android 10, but Google hasn’t officially said anything about updating it.

There are though, separate builds of Android 12 for both Google TV and regular Android TV hardware, so that suggests the update will arrive on at least some Google TV devices – so if not the Chromecast, then maybe some of Sony’s or TCL’s TVs are a candidate.

In any case, most TV brands tend to be a bit slow with operating system updates, so we probably shouldn’t expect anything until at least a few months after the Android 12 for TV update is officially made available, expected early next year.