Android TV OS 13 Is Ready For Prime Time, Here’s What’s New And What To Expect

android 13 for tv arrives with performance and accessibility updates
Android TV OS drives billions of displays worldwide, allowing people to watch content across platforms, play games, and enjoy all the other features of a smart TV. Now, Google is updating the OS with Android 13 for TV. This release brings improved performance and accessibility for developers, which should help make Android TV a better experience overall.

Released on December 2nd, Android 13 for TV is the latest version of Android TV OS, which first and foremost brings performance and quality enhancements to the platform. Namely, Google made improvements to the AudioManager API so developers can “anticipate audio attribute support for the active audio device and select the optimal format without starting playback.” Further, users can change default resolution and refresh rates on HDMI source devices to improve the playback experience. Finally, HDMI state changes can now be used by HDMI source devices to “save power and pause content in reaction to HDMI state changes.” Therefore, if you have a Chromecast but switch to an Xbox or other console, the Chromecast could sleep knowing that you are no longer on that HDMI input.

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On the accessibility and input side of the house, the first thing of note is that the InputDevice API supports different keyboard layouts, so you may be able to use a Dvorak keyboard now if you wanted. Also, a new audio descriptions API allows apps to determine what users’ preferences are toward audio descriptions, making the captions experience seamless across the board.

Finally, with the HDMI and tuner features come a few new additions and changes. This includes better HDMI state changes, improved HDMI-source language selection, Tuner HAL 2.0 performance optimizations, and a “Framework for interactive TV use cases as an extension to TIF.”

If you are a developer looking to tinker with any of these new features, you can only get them through the ADT-3 developer kit or the Android Emulator for TV. To get started, you can follow the instructions and learn a little more about what Android 13 for TV has to offer.