What’s the Difference Between Google TV and Android TV?

Android TV and Google TV are both great smart TV platforms, and choosing between them can be difficult. Both platforms were developed by Google and provide a range of features and capabilities that take home entertainment to the next level. 

We’ve used both platforms extensively and now we’re here to tell you everything we’ve learned, so you can make an informed decision. Even if it may seem like there are enough similarities between Android TV and Google TV to make them almost indistinguishable – there are some clear differences you should know about. 

Once you get your new smart TV, a VPN can take your streaming experience to the next level. You can discover a whole world of global content, all while keeping your connection secure and private. 

Android TV vs. Google TV

Android TV and Google TV have the same fundamental operating system and other core similarities, as you’d expect of smart TV platforms created by Google. But there are plenty of features that make them distinct.

User Experience

One noticeable difference between the two is the user interface. For the majority of Android TVs released before 2021, the user interface is divided into three horizontal rows or channels. You’ll find a row for your favorite apps, one for what the platform thinks you should watch next, and one for new movies and TV shows. 

Screenshot of Android TV homepage from Android TV website
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The apps on the home screen are customizable, and you can adjust the settings to further personalize your Android TV. For later versions of Android TV, the user interface is notably much more Google TV-like.  

Google TV’s interface eliminates the rows, replacing them with content tabs along the top of the home screen. It uses a carousel of photo-based highlighted recommendations that are based on your preferences, the content you watch, info from the streaming services you use, and Google machine learning algorithms.

Screenshot of Google TV homepage from Google TV website
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Ease of use and convenience seem to be a priority as well with Google TV. You’ll also find that it displays your subscriptions, movies and TV shows, and watch history on the home screen. Recommendations for you, categorized by genre and niches, are under the For You tab. 

Google TV also has a tab for live TV on the home screen which pulls live feeds from more than 800 free channels and paid sources. You can peek at live news, movies, and sports right there on the home screen.

Both platforms have voice command capabilities with Google Assistant. You can use voice commands to conduct searches, manage playback, ask questions, and interact with other smart devices (more on this below).

For households with multiple users, Google TV provides more convenience as it supports multiple adult and child user profiles. For Android TV, each user in your home will have to sign in with their own separate Google account.

App Ecosystem

Both Google TV and Android TV let you access the Google Play Store – after all, they’re both created by Google. And you’re not limited to navigating the Google Play Store on your smart TV. You can also add apps to your Android TV or Google TV device from any web browser or mobile device. 

Both platforms also support VPN apps. In fact, you can install the most reliable VPN for smart TVs, CyberGhost VPN, directly from the Google Play Store. 

Content Discovery and Recommendations

Android TV recommends new content based on the streaming apps and subscription services you have. To get even more tailored recommendations, you can add more streaming services and rate the content suggestions listed under the Content Preferences tab on the home screen.

Google TV has essentially automated content recommendation, providing you with curated recommendations. It uses machine learning algorithms, Google Assistant, and Google’s Knowledge Graph information base to learn your viewing habits and adjust the home screen accordingly. The more you use Google TV and watch content, the better the platform will get at presenting you with tailored recommendations under the For You tab.

Integration with Other Devices

Mobile Devices

Android TV lets you use your smartphone or tablet as a remote. Google TV does as well, and takes it a few steps further by adding customized watchlists and content browsing on your smartphone.

You can also cast your Android screen to both Google TV and Android TV. With their built-in Chromecast support, you can display content from your mobile device on the television screen.  

Smart Home Devices

Both platforms can also integrate with smart home devices using Google Home app. You can manage compatible smart devices like lights and cameras directly from the platforms using Google Assistant-powered voice commands or by using manual controls.

Gaming Capabilities

You can play Google Play games on your Android TV with a controller or remote. Popular games include Real Racing 3, The Bard’s Tale, and The Wolf Among Us.

However, when it comes to gaming friendliness, Google TV has Android TV at a disadvantage. It has a gaming area set aside on the home screen so it’s easy to locate and start games. It also provides support for cloud gaming and a more powerful processor. Because Google Play Store is so integrated in Google TV home screen, in order to search for some games, you have to do so via word or voice search.

For cloud gaming, you can use both platforms with cloud gaming services like Nvidia GeForce Now, Boosteroid, and Blacknut. 

Ready to take your cloud gaming to the next level? Use a gaming VPN to boost your performance. Connect to a VPN server near your game server’s location to get a smoother connection, lower your ping, and reduce lag.

Android TV vs. Google TV: Which Is Better for You?

The best smart TV platform for you will ultimately depend on your specific needs and preferences.   

Android TV is the more established smart TV platform, and it has plenty of convenient functionalities. It could be a good choice if you like a no-frills user interface and plenty of apps. 

Google TV provides many extras, namely more personalization capabilities and a more content-focused home screen if you prefer a platform that tells you what it thinks you should watch. 

Why CyberGhost Is the Best VPN for Smart TVs

CyberGhost VPN is a great choice for smart TVs because we have streaming-optimized servers for popular streaming services from around the world. We routinely check these servers to make sure you can always access your favorite platforms securely, with no glitches.

Our global network of servers provides extremely fast speeds. In our busiest locations, we install 10-Gpbs servers so that you’ll never have to deal with a slow connection due to server overcrowding. This means that you can enjoy the amazing picture quality smart TVs are known for, without having to compromise your security.

We also provide unlimited bandwidth and VPN data transfer. Binge movies, play data-heavy games, and stream music as long as you want on your smart TV without having to worry about hitting an annoying VPN data limit.

CyberGhost also has a native app for Android TV and Google TV in the Google Play Store. Installation is easy and requires no adjustments to your router settings.

You can see how well CyberGhost VPN works with your smart TV risk-free with our 45-day money-back guarantee.


What is better, Google TV or Android TV?

Google TV provides more personalization capabilities, and Android TV has a straight-foward user interface and access to plenty of apps. What you consider to be the better smart TV platform will depend on your personal preferences. 

What are the pros and cons of Google TV?

Google TV has made personalized content recommendations a priority and has a dedicated section for live TV on its homescreen. One of the main cons of Google TV is that it obtains a ton of data about you and your habits to make its recommendations. 

What are the pros and cons of Android TV?

Android TV provides great support for your smart home devices and supports Chromecast. However, its content recommendations are not as personalized as they could be, and although it’s undergone some evolutions, its user interface is not specially designed for content discovery. 

Can you install Android apps on Google TV?

Yes. You can access the Google Play Store directly from your smart TV to install Android apps on the device. This includes the CyberGhost VPN app for smart TVs

Is Google TV also Android TV?

Google TV is an updated version of Android TV. While they essentially share the same Android operating system and capabilities, like Google Assistant support, integrated Chromecast, and voice search, Google TV provides more personalized features and a better user experience.  

Does Google TV support all Android apps?

Yes. Google TV, which has an Android-based operating system, supports the entire library of Android apps in the Google Play Store. 

Is there a monthly fee for Google TV?

No, there’s no monthly fee to use Google TV. The software is built directly into your smart TV as part of the product. You also don’t have to pay to use  the Google TV mobile app which you can download for free from the Play Store or App Store.

Can I watch Netflix on Google TV?

Yes, but only if you have Hisense or Sony Google TV devices manufactured in 2015 or later. Most of the devices will work wherever Netflix is available, but some older devices will only work in the country where they were bought.

Why do you need a VPN for streaming?

A VPN is a great tool for expanding your access to content on your smart TV. In addition, VPN encryption can prevent third parties from snooping on your activities. This means it can stop your ISP from monitoring your online activity and slowing you down when you’re streaming. 

What’s the best VPN for smart TVs?

You won’t find a better smart TV VPN than CyberGhost. We use streaming-optimized servers that are regularly tested to ensure quick and seamless connections to popular streaming platforms. We provide easy-to-install native apps, like our Android TV VPN app. Also, our unlimited bandwidth lets you stream securely on your smart TV for as long as you want.

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