Android TVs are meant to be leanback experiences. You don’t use a mouse, and there’s no touchscreen. Instead, you can use a remote control to navigate a simplified interface, occasionally using voice. With the introduction of remote controls comes a number of different ideas for what that means. On Android TV there are many different ways to control the device. We took a straw poll of readers on the site to see how they interact with their devices.
64% of users primarily used the remote that came with the device. Some Android TVs, such as the Nexus Player, include a small Bluetooth remote which contains a few buttons for navigation. There is also a microphone which can capture a user’s voice when prompted.
14% of users primarily used a gamepad. Android works natively with a number of game controllers, such as the Snakebyte:VR. This can usually provide a much better gaming experience by giving one a more ergonomic object to hold and more buttons for richer games. Most do not have a microphone, although the gamepad for the NVIDIA Shield does let you record audio and make voice searches.
Android TV Remote App
With the Android TV Remote App on Android or iOS, you can control your TV from your phone. The app is limited in functionality, but about 19% of users still use it. It lets you navigate and make voice searches, and has the advantage of being on your person already.
Mouse & Keyboard
Android TV contains all of the functionality of the Android OS, including built-in support for keyboard and mice peripherals. It’s easy to pair a keyboard using Bluetooth or just over USB. Searching can be a lot easier than trying to use the on-screen keyboard.
Mice don’t work especially well in Leanback apps. Technically they do work, although not as well as using a remote (or even the arrow keys on a keyboard). Still, if you have sideloaded a lot of non-Leanback apps, this may be a better solution. It’s the primary use for 3% of users.
Android TV is available on a number of different devices from many OEMs, giving users choice over what features and hardware they want. Along with the hardware of the device itself, there’s many ways to interact with the device. While the included remote was the most popular, one cannot discount the many other types as well.
Are there any other thoughts on controlling your TV? Let us know in the comments below.
A new poll is going up asking you what activities you do on your Android TV. This one will be available for a few weeks.