With Google I/O set to begin this week, it is largely expected that the Android TV team will be making a number of announcements including talking on how Android app developers can port their apps over to Android TV in a much quicker and more streamlined way. An aspect which will likely lead to more apps showing support for the platform and increasing the overall number of apps that are available for devices running on Android TV.
Just ahead of Google I/O and ESPN has today confirmed that Android TV devices will now be able to make use of the WatchESPN service. Although, in spite of a dedicated WatchESPN app being available on the Google Play Store, the announcement details that the Android TV compatible service can only be accessed through the standard ESPN app. As such, it does seem as though you will need to download the ESPN app and not the WatchESPN app to be able to access the WatchESPN live content. Either way, the standard ESPN app has now been updated on Google Play and is currently showing the additional support for Android TV devices for those who prefer to install from a desktop. Likewise, the app should now be showing on Android TV’s dedicated leanback launcher Google Play for those who want to install directly from their Android TV device.
However, it is worth mentioning that not all Android TV devices are currently able to make use of the WatchESPN service, although most will be able to. The announcement specifically states that the service supports Sony 4K HDR Ultra HD TVs, Sharp Aquos Android TV, the Nexus Player, NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV and the Razer Forge TV. While also specifically noting that both Philips and RCA branded Android TV sets are not currently supported, although they will be “at a later date.” One last point which should be made is that this is a subscription-based service so while owners of the listed Android TV compatible devices can download and watch WatchESPN content through the ESPN app, they will need an ESPN subscription service (or as part of an affiliated provider service) to actually be able to consume the content.