What you need to know
- Google has released Android 12 Beta 3 for the Android TV platform.
- The update includes improvements to UI elements and more.
- New privacy controls have been added to manually turn off microphone and camera access to Android TV apps.
Earlier today, Google released Android 12 Beta 3, which includes the long-awaited arrival of native scrolling screenshots and more. But the Android TV platform is also getting some love as Android 12 Beta 3 also has arrived.
The update primarily focuses on improving UI elements when viewing the interface on the best 4K Android TVs. Google has also included some new privacy controls for those who don't want the microphone or a connected camera always being active.
Starting with the 4K UI elements, this has been a big complaint for a few years, as the main interface is only rendered in 1080p. It's not until you select something to watch that the UI switches over to 4K, which tends to cause some "lag" from time to time. This update also includes new background blurring tools for developers to "easily enhance the visual separation of different UI layers."
One of the big focuses of Google I/O 2021 was the company's renewed commitment to privacy and giving users control over what apps can and cannot access things like the camera and microphone. This has spilled over onto the Android TV platform, as Google is implementing microphone and camera indicators that appear on your TV. These are practically the same indicators found when an app uses the camera or microphone on a smartphone with Android 12 installed.
To go along with this, Google has added two new "global privacy settings" for Android TV that's not unlike the new Privacy Dashboard. From the settings menu, you'll not only be able to view what apps recently accessed the camera or microphone, but there is also a new toggle at the top of the page. This is an all-or-nothing approach, as the toggle will simply remove access for any apps installed on your Android TV.
A few other features have been added to Android 12 Beta 3 for the Android TV. Among these is a new refresh rate settings for a "smoother viewing experience." Applications can also check playback settings and change the frame rates based on what's being viewed. Finally, we're getting a new "Tunnel Mode" for developers so that apps can be more "consistent and efficient" when it comes to watching content on Android TV devices.
The only hardware device capable of using Android TV Beta 3 is Google's ADT-3 developer device. However, Google also stated that the preview version of the Android 12 emulator will be available "in the coming weeks." Until then, we just have to hear about all of these changes from the outside looking in, at least until we can get Android 12 on our Android TVs.
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