Android TV with Google Cast

With the release of Android 5.0 comes Android TV, which supports Google Cast. This document describes what you need to do to set up and test on Android TV when developing Cast applications. Your existing Cast application runs on Android TV with no additional effort. If you are developing a Cast application for the first time, review the Google Cast documentation and develop your Cast application to run on a Chromecast device first before developing and testing with Android TV.

Setting up for development

  1. Set up your Android TV device:
    1. Install the USB cable, but don't connect the master end of the USB cable to your computer just yet.
    2. Connect the Android TV device to the local network.
    3. Sign into your Google account.
  2. From the Settings, in the Device row, select About .
  3. Scroll down to and click on Build several times until a dialog appears with the message, "You are now a developer."
  4. In the Preferences row, select Developer options, select USB debugging, and select On.
  5. Navigate back to the home screen.

    You must do this to apply the settings you just selected. The settings will persist unless you perform a factory reset.

  6. Register your Android TV device on the Google Cast SDK Developer Console, as described in Device Registration.

Debugging

To test and debug your receiver application on your Android TV device, do the following:

  1. Register your Android TV device and your application on the Google Cast SDK Developer Console.

    See Registration for more information about registering devices and applications.

  2. Start your sender application and cast to the Android TV device.
  3. Connect to your Android TV device via ADB, as described in Using Android Debug Bridge.
  4. On your development machine, open a Chrome browser window and navigate to chrome://inspect .
  5. Click the inspect link to bring the receiver into the debugger.
  6. In the Chrome Remote Debugger console, enable debug logging by entering the following:

    cast.receiver.logger.setLevelValue(cast.receiver.LoggerLevel.DEBUG);

See Debugging for more information.

Integrating your application with the remote control

The Google Cast receiver running on the Android TV device translates input from the device's control inputs (i.e. hand-held remote control) as media playback messages defined for the urn:x-cast:com.google.cast.media namespace, as described in Media Playback Messages. Your application must support these messages to control the application media playback in order to allow basic playback control from Android TV’s control inputs.

Guidelines for Android TV compatibility

Making your Cast application compatible with Android TV requires very little additional work. Here are some recommendations and common pitfalls to avoid in order to ensure your application is compatible with Android TV:

  • Be aware that the user-agent string contains both "Android" and "CrKey"; some sites may redirect to a mobile-only site because they detect the "Android" label. Don't assume that "Android" in the user-agent string always indicates a mobile user.
  • Android's media stack may use transparent GZIP for fetching data. Make sure your media data can respond to Accept-Encoding: gzip.
  • Android TV HTML5 media events may be triggered in different timings than Chromecast, this may reveal issues that were hidden on Chromecast.
  • When updating the media, use media related events fired by <audio>/<video> elements, like timeupdate, pause and waiting. Avoid using networking related events like progress, suspend and stalled, as these tend to be platform dependent. See Media events for more information about handling media events in your receiver.
  • When configuring your receiver site’s HTTPS certificates, be sure to include intermediate CA certificates. See the Qualsys SSL test page to verify: if the trusted certification path for your site includes a CA certificate labelled “extra download”, then it may not load on Android-based platforms.
  • While Chromecast displays the receiver page on a 720p graphics plane, other Cast platforms including Android TV may display the page up to 1080p. Ensure your receiver page scales gracefully at different resolutions.

Using Android Debug Bridge

The Android TV platform is featured on many kinds of consumer electronics devices: televisions, set-top boxes, gaming consoles and so forth. Each may be configured differently. If you are having difficulty accessing the Android TV system resources through the device's user interface, you may use the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) to obtain your device's serial number for registration, as well as to debug your application. See Android Debug Bridge for more information.

Using ADB with a USB cable

To connect to your device via ADB with a USB cable connection:

  1. Set up your Android TV device for development, as described in Setting up for development.
  2. Connect the master end of the USB cable to your computer.
  3. In the Allow USB debugging? dialog, select Always allow from this computer, and select OK.
  4. On your computer, open a terminal and enter ADB commands.

    You can verify the connection is established and that the Android TV device is communicating across the network with the following command:

    adb logcat

Using ADB over TCP/IP

ADB works without a USB cable, over TCP/IP, but you must first get the Android TV device's IP address. Developer-issue devices, like the ADT-1, listen for ADB port connections automatically and can be connected without initializing the port. Standard retail Android TV devices do not listen for ADB connections automatically; for these devices, you must first connect to ADB with a USB cable and initialize the port.

  1. Set up your Android TV device for development, as described in Setting up for development.
  2. On Android TV, in the Device row, select Network > Wi-Fi, and select the connected network.
  3. Select Status info and note the IP address.
  4. If your device is a standard, retail Android TV device, do the following:
    1. Follow the steps under Using ADB with a USB cable.
    2. Be sure your computer is connected to the same network as the Android TV device.
    3. On your computer, in a terminal, initialize the port for TCP/IP by entering the following:

      adb tcpip 5555

    4. Remove the USB cable, and enter the following in the terminal:

      adb connect <Android TV device IP address>:5555

  5. If your's is a developer-issue Android TV device, do the following:
    1. Be sure your computer is connected to the same network as your Android TV device.
    2. Open a terminal and enter the following:

      adb connect <Android TV device IP address>:4321

  6. On Android TV, in the Allow USB debugging? dialog, select Always allow from this computer, and select OK.

    You can verify the connection is established and that the Android TV device is communicating across the network with the following command:

    adb logcat