Google plans new Android TV features: Customisable shortcuts, calls and more

Mike Wheatley

Google has decided not to bring Android 13 to TVs and will instead go directly to Android 14, with new features including a Shortcut remote button, Energy Modes, call notifications, simpler headphone pairing and more.


This week, Google announced it will be retiring Android 13 for Android TV and move directly to Android 14 for its TV operating system. The company hasn’t said anything more, but journalist Mishaal Rahman revealed on Twitter that he has had a first look at the Android TV 14 beta and discovered a bunch of new features.

Those new features include call notifications for TVs that allow users to receive phone calls from supported applications via their television or media player.

"When enabled, you can receive calls from supported apps on this device,” Google explains in a feature description on the Android TV 14 Git. “To adjust preferences for call notifications for individual apps, please refer to the settings in the respective apps. Call notifications only show while you are in your personal user profile on this TV. You can adjust this setting in other profiles, to also receive calls when those profiles are active.”

Also new is a “Magic Button” that will allow users to create a shortcut to a specific application or HDMI port. Users can customise what this shortcut will be for and then enable it by pressing the star key on their Android TV remote control. At present, Android TV remotes do not have a star key, and it’s not clear if there is going to be one on future remotes. Mishaal speculated it may even be that Google is planning to make it possible to reassign “sponsored” buttons on remotes for services such as Netflix.

Elsewhere, Mishaal found references to a new feature that will make it faster to connect Bluetooth headphones. This could well show up as a button in the control centre, but for now it’s not yet ready, with Mishaal saying the software crashes when trying to enable it.

Then there are the new Energy Modes, available to TV and set-top box manufacturers, which can be implemented based on their hardware’s capabilities and presented to users as standby options.

According to Mishaal, the Low energy mode will switch off the TV’s network connection when it’s not in use, while Moderate will switch on features that wake the TV over the network, and High will allow users to switch on additional features when the TV is not in use. There’s also an “unrestricted” option without any restrictions. The hope is that these new Energy Modes will put an end to certain instances where devices wake themselves up at strange times.

Mishaal found a few other tweaks too, such as “Accessibility” being switched to a top-level menu in Settings rather than hidden away. Under the Display settings, there’s a new option to “always force conversion” to HDR formats such as Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+, HLG and SDR.

It should be reiterated that this is a very early beta version of Android TV 14 and many of the new features are currently a work in progress, with no guarantees they’ll find their way into the official Android TV 14 update.