Google Android TV Gets New Features To Lower bandwidth For Users Who Use Mobile Data To Stream Content

Google is introducing new features for Google Android TV, an optimized version of the Linux-based Android Operating System (OS) that is installed on most of the Smart Televisions. These new features appear to be primarily meant for users who regularly rely on their metered connections or mobile data to stream content on their Smart Televisions. The features work to optimize the video quality to minimize bandwidth consumption, alert users about data limits, and even allow playing multimedia content saved locally on the connected smartphone without using any data.

Smart TVs with Google Android TV To Get New Features To Optimize And Manage Mobile Data Consumption

Traditionally, Google’s Android operating system has always cautioned users if they are about to download large files while being connected to their mobile data. Moreover, there are specific settings in most stable releases of Android that simply prohibit the device from relying heavily on mobile data while executing processes that require a lot of data. If that’s not enough, the OS also throws up a warning while users are connected to the internet through mobile data, to switch to WiFi for a better experience.

Some of the abovementioned features weren’t available on Android TV, a parallel version of core Android OS that’s specially designed to work well on Smart TVs. The Android TV version apparently always assumed that users would connect the device to a local wired or wireless connection. Accordingly, the multimedia streaming was always optimized for quality. These Smart TVs would switch to the best available quality of the content being streamed which could be supported by the data connection. Needless to add, this method consumed a lot of data. Starting with an update which will soon be sent out to Smart TVs across the globe, that will change.

Several Smart TV users have been connecting their devices to the internet using mobile data. While the reasons could be many, this resulted in quickly exhausting the data quota. Hence, the new features appear focused on users who wish to conserve their mobile data, while still preferring to consume content on their large screen Smart TVs.

How To Save Mobile Data While Streaming On Smart TV?

Google promises that the new set of features, collectively called the Data Saver feature, can reduce the data usage by up to 3x when streaming HD videos. Android TV will also be able to warn users when they have crossed a certain data limit. Incidentally, this limit can be easily altered as per the tariff or plan that the user subscribes. Following are the new features coming to Android TV soon:

  • Data Saver reduces your data usage on mobile connections, increasing watch time by up to 3x
  • Data Alerts help you monitor your data usage while watching TV
  • Hotspot Guide helps you set up your TV with your mobile hotspot

It is not immediately clear how Google will allow streaming HD quality videos while still saving on mobile data. However, it is quite likely that Google may be optimizing the delivery mechanism and tweaking the final output to maintain quality while lowering data consumption. The settings to switch on Data Saver is a simple “On or Off”.

In addition to the aforementioned bandwidth optimization and data consumption reduction features in Google Android TV, the search giant is ready to deploy one more feature that works well within the Google’s official “Files” app. The significantly optimized File Manager and Local Data Optimization app in Google Android, has been steadily gaining users owing to its streamlined and simplified layout and ease of operation. The new feature, called ‘Cast’ in the Google Files app, lets users view downloaded media from their phone on their TV without using any mobile data. Google Files app users who have signed up for the Beta testing program will receive access to the new feature first. Google is expected to roll out the Cast features to the stable version of the Files app in the coming weeks.

One of the first companies who make Smart TVs will receive the new features includes Xiaomi, TCL, and MarQ by Flipkart. The rest of the Smart TV manufacturers should receive the feature in the next few months.

Alap Naik Desai
A B.Tech Plastics (UDCT) and a Windows enthusiast. Optimizing the OS, exploring software, searching and deploying solutions to strange and weird issues is Alap's main interest.