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Everything you need to know about Google’s Android TV dongle!

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Google Android TV Sabrina

Google Android TV SabrinaSource: XDA Developers

Android takes a lot of different shapes and forms. We primarily know it for being the operating system that powers our smartphones, with it also existing on smartwatches, tablets, televisions, and even infotainment systems in automobiles.

Google's used in its Pixel series of phones to promote its vision of what an Android handset should look like since 2016, and very soon, it plans to do the same thing for Android TV.

All signs are pointing to Google finally launching a self-branded streaming device that's powered by Android, and based on what we know so far, it looks pretty darn good. From the latest rumors, reports, and more, here's everything you need to know about it!

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NVIDIA Shield Android TV

A great streamer you can buy right now

If you can't wait for Google's Android TV dongle to come out, consider picking up the NVIDIA Shield Android TV. It has 4K HDR streaming with AI upscaling, Dolby Vision and Atmos support, and even works as a gaming device thanks to its integration with GeForce NOW.

How much does Google's Android TV device cost?

Right off the bat, let's talk about one of the most important aspects of Google's Sabrina device — price.

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Although nothing is set in stone until Google officially announces it, rumors are heavily pointing to this being a budget-friendly product. Specifically, we're expecting a retail price of around $80.

That's more expensive than Amazon's Fire TV Stick 4K which costs just $50, but compared to the $69 Chromecast Ultra that currently holds the spot as Google's most powerful streaming device, it's not too bad. It's also a good deal cheaper than the NVIDIA Shield TV, which currently holds the top spot for Android TV gadgets.

On that note, we're expecting Sabrina to be more similar to the Shield TV than the Chromecast Ultra. Where the Ultra doesn't have its own user interface and only shows content that you cast from your phone or tablet, Sabrina will have a fully-fledged Android TV interface with a remote that you can browse through on the big screen. We're also expecting 4K HDR streaming, Google Assistant integration, and likely support for Stadia game streaming.

When can I buy Google Sabrina for myself?

Google Android TV Sabrina Remote

Google Android TV Sabrina RemoteSource: XDA Developers

Unfortunately, it's hard to say when you'll be able to go out and actually buy Google's new streaming device.

There's a good chance it would have been announced at Google I/O this year, which is also where we were expecting the Pixel 4a to get its unveiling. Seeing as how I/O never happened given everything going on in the world, what's Plan B?

Word on the street is that Google may announce the Pixel 4a in July, but the phone won't go on sale until late-October. We may see a similar thing happen for Sabrina, or Google could wait until the Fall to announce and launch it all at once. It's also possible Sabrina will debut with a press release at some point before then. At this point, we honestly don't know.

Does Sabrina have a special Android TV interface?

Android TV

Android TVSource: Android Central

One of the more interesting aspects of Sabrina is that it's anticipated to usher in a brand new user interface for Android TV. What you see in the picture above is how Android TV currently looks. The top row houses your favorite apps, and below that are "channels" through which apps can showcase recommended content on your home screen. It's a good setup and one that works quite well, but Google is cooking up quite the revamp.

On June 2, the folks at XDA shared a massive leak for the Sabrina dongle — revealing its hardware, remote, and new software. Looking at the pictures below, you can see that the updated interface now has six distinct pages — For you, Movies, TV, Live, Apps, and My Library. For you looks to be the new home screen, and on this page, you'll get recommended shows and movies to watch based on your viewing history. Movies and TV may also show content from your various apps, but they could also be places for Google to push its own Play Movies and TV service. The Live page is where you'll be able to access YouTube TV, which is fully integrated into this new take on Android TV.

Another cool feature is that this version of Android TV will integrate with your Nest security cameras and video doorbells, allowing you to see a live view of your cameras right on your television.

Android TV New UI

Android TV New UISource: XDA Developers

Google Sabrina Youtube Tv Integrated

Google Sabrina Youtube Tv IntegratedAndroid TV New UIAndroid TV New UISource: XDA Developers

There's still a lot we don't know about what Google's doing with the software, specifically, whether it'll be exclusive to the Sabrina dongle or expanded to existing Android TV hardware via an update.

Can you tell me about the specs that Sabrina has?

Chromecast Ultra With Pixel

Chromecast Ultra With PixelSource: Andrew Myrick / Android Central

Sure! There was a massive specs-focused leak on June 13, giving us a good idea of all the tech Sabrina will bring to the table.

The Sabrina streaming device is expected to have 2GB of RAM and an Amlogic S905X2 processor, which basically means it's powerful enough to support 4K streaming at 60 frames-per-second. HDR10 and Dolby Vision should also be included, allowing your movies and shows to look as good as possible.

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What's especially interesting is the mention of a low latency mode for Sabrina, which is a strong indicator that it'll support Stadia gaming.

What's this I hear about Google TV?

Google TV logo

Google TV logoSource: Android Central

Android TV has been the name of Google's custom Android interface for televisions ever since June 2014, but with the launch of its Sabrina device, that could be changing.

Rumor has it that Google is planning on rebranding Android TV as "Google TV," likely in an attempt to make the marketing of the software clearer to consumers. We'd argue that the Android name carries plenty of weight, but Google TV does more clearly convey that it's an interface for your television that's from Google (just like Apple TV is a TV interface from Apple).

What makes all of this especially interesting (aka hilarious) is the fact that Google TV was the name of Google's old smart TV platform from way back in 2010. It was discontinued in 2014 to make way for Android TV, but from the sounds of it, it'll be making a comeback before you know it.

Is "Sabrina" the actual name of the gadget?

Made by Google sign at CES 2018

Made by Google sign at CES 2018Source: Android Central

If you've been reading through this and keep thinking that "Sabrina" is an awfully odd name for a streaming device, fear not. This is just the internal codename for the product, meaning it'll most definitely be called something else when it goes on sale.

As for what that final name is, we aren't sure. "Nest TV" seems like a strong contender seeing as Google is lumping all of its smart home devices under the Google Nest brand, but it could also go the route of "Pixel TV."

Google could also throw us a curveball and call the device "Google TV," tying the hardware and software under a single name. Stranger things have happened, folks.

What if I need to buy an Android TV streamer right now?

The redesigned NVIDIA Shield TV (2019)

The redesigned NVIDIA Shield TV (2019)Source: Phil Nickinson / Cordcutters

We can't wait to get our hands on Google's new streaming device, but if need a new Android TV streamer right now, what should you do? If you ask us, the NVIDIA Shield Android TV is your best option.

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NVIDIA has been carrying the Android TV platform for the past couple of years while Google has seemingly ignored it, and its latest model of the Shield TV is pretty darn great. It gives you native 4K HDR streaming, AI upscaling to make non-4K content look as good as possible, and supports both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos for unmatched picture/sound.

For those times when you'd rather play a video game than watch a movie or TV show, the Shield TV has you covered there, too. It gives you access to NVIDIA's GeForce NOW game streaming service, which allows you to play popular titles such as Fortnite, Destiny 2, Paladins, World of Tanks, and plenty more.

Watch and game



NVIDIA Shield Android TV

A great streamer you can buy right now

If you can't wait for Google's Android TV dongle to come out, consider picking up the NVIDIA Shield Android TV. It has 4K HDR streaming with AI upscaling, Dolby Vision and Atmos support, and even works as a gaming device thanks to its integration with GeForce NOW.

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