Google Assistant TV guide: Which models to pick from and what you can control

Everything you need to know about using the smart assistant on your set

Google Assistant TV guide
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Google Assistant is making its way into an increasing number of smart devices within the home, and that includes smart TVs.

Now taking on speakers as the central hub of the smart home, televisions are changing thanks to smart assistants. But with Android TV undergoing some cosmetic changes recently, and only a select amount of brands and models to choose from with built-in Assistant, it can be difficult to know what to look for.

Below, we'll be outlining which smart TVs currently house Google Assistant, what exactly you can do with it, and what's new to the platform.

Which TVs have Google Assistant?

LG

Google Assistant TV guide: Which models to pick from and what you can control

LG offers a stack of smart TVs that come with Google Assistant built right in – look for the "ThinQ AI" label that appears on LG sets from the last couple of years, as this indicates full support for Google's digital assistant app (the label might appear in the name of the TV or further down in the description.

So, that means sets such as the LG C9, LG B9, and the stunning 77-inch OLED monster that is the LG Signature W9 Wallpaper all come with Google Assistant support out of the (very spacious) box. Sets unveiled at CES 2020, including the LG Nano 9 Series, all come with Google Assistant on board too.

In fact, if you're shipping at the newer end of the market, it's probably harder to find an LG television that doesn't come with Google Assistant ready to go on it. The same televisions work with Amazon Alexa as well, in case you were wondering...

Samsung

Google Assistant TV guide: Which models to pick from and what you can control

As well as hosting Alexa and its own voice assistant Bixby, Samsung now also plays nice with Google Assistant – since the start of 2019, its range of TVs have worked with the digital helper, and that's continued through into 2020 and brand new sets such as the Q60T, Q70T, Q80T and Q90T ranges.

Anything with Samsung Smart TV on board will work with Google Assistant, though the integration functions in a slightly different way – these TVs are able to respond to voice commands, though not through the TV directly. In other words, Bixby is the built-in assistant, but the sets will still respond to Google Assistant commands, if you've got a Google speaker on the same Wi-Fi network.

So, what can you control? Well, providing you've got a speaker or display running Google Assistant, you'll be able to tell it to turn on the TV, change volume/channels and switch between inputs. It's not the full integration that sets from other manufacturers have, but it's better than nothing.

Sony Bravia

Google Assistant TV guide: Which models to pick from and what you can control

When it comes to Sony Bravia TVs and Google Assistant, it's a fairly straightforward equation: since 2015, the company's smart TVs have run on Android TV with Google Assistant voice controls built right into the OS, so you can start issuing your voice commands as soon as you've set up the TV.

The newly unveiled Sony A8H and Sony A9G 4K models both support the Android TV platform with Google Assistant, as do the 8K television sets that Sony has been showing off at CES 2020. If you're buying a Sony TV that launched in 2015 or later, including the more expensive Master series, it'll come with Google Assistant installed.

Android TV has its own successive versions, just like Android on mobile devices, and Sony TVs are usually updated sooner rather than later – look for improvements in Google Assistant on televisions to come to Android TV (and thus to Sony sets) first.

Philips

Google Assistant TV guide: Which models to pick from and what you can control

Philips is the same as Sony: all of its sets from the last few years run Android TV, so unless you're coming into possession of an older Philips TV, you'll find Google Assistant baked right into the hardware (alongside all the other goodies that Android TV brings).

Something we haven't mentioned yet is that all Android TVs have Chromecast functionality built in, so you can also beam audio and video over from your phone as well, if it's on the same Wi-Fi network. When it comes to Google Assistant, you just press the microphone button on the remote and start talking.

From the Philips OLED 9000 Series to the Philips 7304 Smart TV, to the next-generation OLED+ sets that Philips has started to roll out, you'll find Android TV built into all of them – and where there's Android TV, there's also Google Assistant.

Sharp Aquos

Google Assistant TV guide: Which models to pick from and what you can control

Another big name in the Google-Assistant-on-your-TV business is Sharp, which offers TVs in a host of sizes at a variety of price points (and which is leading the push into 8K too). As with Sony and Philips, the latest Sharp TV range runs on Android TV, and that gets you Google Assistant out of the box, whichever set you decide to buy.

The affordable Aquos sets are among those that are running Android TV and Google Assistant – take a look at the Sharp 40BL5EA TV, the Sharp 50BL5EA TV, the Sharp 55BL5EA TV and the Sharp 65BL5EA TV, for example (those first two digits refer to the screen size, though they all offer a 4K resolution and come with Android TV, Google Assistant and Chromecast functionality on board).

Older Sharp television sets don't come with Android TV on board, so just double-check before buying – it should be listed fairly prominently on the specs for any of the TVs that you're looking at. Considering the recent switch to Android TV, we'd expect more Sharp models to follow suit in the future.


What can you control?

Google Assistant TV guide: Which models to pick from and what you can control

Once you've got Google Assistant on your TV, what can you actually do with it – and how do you go about controlling everything? The capabilities on offer are fairly similar to that of your smart speaker or your smart display, which is why the TV is quickly becoming a rival as ultimate controller of your wider smart home.

Ask about the weather, or your upcoming schedule, or the date of a famous event, and so on. You can also talk to Google Assistant to control smart lights, cameras, speakers and more – with the added benefit, of course, of the visualisation right in front of you. On the TV side, it's possible to control the action being shown in front of you – if you want to save time skipping through menus or trying to navigate through an app, just talk it out instead.

You could say "play Stranger Things on Netflix" for example or "pause" or "next episode" (after saying "hey Google" first of course). You can also get the Google Assistant to discover different movies, TV shows and music as well, just by speaking out your search for a particular show, a particular film, a particular actor or whatever it is.

You'll be able to interact with Assistant via the microphone in your TV remote – either through the traditional "hey Google" prompt or by pressing a specific button on the remote to produce the card on the bottom of the TV. Both generally work well, and you'll find yourself pressing the action button on the remote much more frequently than you would the physical buttons on a speaker.

Some of the functionality varies between apps, with Netflix, YouTube and Google Movies & TV among those offering the best experience. Google has put together a comprehensive support document on supported apps and how they can be controlled here.

Don't forget that your smart TV and Android TV will keep on getting updates in the future, just like your smartphone – that should mean more functionality for Google Assistant and better integration with your TV's apps as time goes on. We'll update this guide as necessarily to include the latest functionality.

TAGGED    televisions    google

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