Google Publishes Maintenance Updates for Live Channels and Remote Control – APK Teardown

Two of Google’s Android TV-related applications, the Remote Control mobile app and the Live Channels app, have received small updates today. Live Channels gets a bump from 1.13.011 to 1.13.015. The remote app also received a trivial change in its version.

What’s changed? Not much. The differences in files are minimal. The Live Channels changes seem to stem mostly from code clean-up, with new library .so files being created relating to FFMPEG and video resampling. This is found using Android Studio’s APK diff tool. This could allow the app to record video streams on its own instead of relying on other parts of the operating system. Using a USB tuner already allows the app to record video and audio, but providing a library could allow for more consistency in how the recording performs on each device. This is only a comparison from the ARM version, not the x86 version.

File sizes from older version (left-column) to newer version (right-column).

Remote App

In the remote app, basically nothing seems to have changed. However, taking a deep look into the app’s manifest has revealed some interesting tidbits.

    android:name="android.permission.GET_PACKAGE_SIZE" />

This new permission has been included. According to the documentation, the GET_PACKAGE_SIZE allows the app to “Allows an application to find out the space used by any package.” and is considered of normal protection. Why would the remote app need to know about the space of other packages? Will they try to integrate an app launcher directly into the Remote app? That would make it easier to open up Netflix or a game of your choice. (Of course, to do those things you don’t need to know phone storage.) Would this be used for sideloading of apps?

The app seems to be updated as the team is working on updating Android TV to Android O, as seen with this metadata inclusion.

    android:value="26.0.0-alpha1" />

We can gleam an idea of what’s changed by taking a look at the decompiled dex. While we can’t see the code, we are able to see packages and method counts using the same APK Analysis tool shipped in Android Studio.

This new version of the app adds in Firebase for crash reporting, something announced last year at I/O and useful for the team to get automatic, in-depth crash data.

After continuing to scan the list of methods, I could not find any other noteworthy changes. Likely most changes were bug fixes.

You should be able to update both versions soon. You can also visit APK Mirror to download the latest Live Channels and TV Remote apps.

Nick Felker

Nick Felker

Nick Felker is a student Electrical & Computer Engineering student at Rowan University (C/O 2017) and the student IEEE webmaster. When he's not studying, he is a software developer for the web and Android (Felker Tech). He has several open source projects on GitHub ( Devices: Moto G-2013 Moto G-2015, Moto 360, Google ADT-1, Nexus 7-2013 (x2), Lenovo Laptop, Custom Desktop. Although he was an intern at Google, the content of this blog is entirely independent and his own thoughts.

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