Moving from Android TV to Google TV brought a massive change to the home screen. The focus is on recommendations and the surfacing of content from your streaming services. We’ll show you how to customize the home screen on devices like Chromecast with Google TV.
There are three ways you can customize the Google TV home screen experience. First of all, you can rearrange the order of your apps and games to put your favorites in the spotlight. Second, you can tell Google what streaming services you are paying for. Finally, we can turn off recommendations entirely.
Rearrange and organize your favorite Google TV apps
Your installed apps and games will be listed in a row on the For You and Apps tabs. Only 12 apps and games can be viewed without expanding the full list. It’s a good idea to put your favorites at the top.
To rearrange your favorites, navigate to the “Your Apps” line and highlight the app or game you want to move. If you don’t see your app, choose “Show All” for the full list.
Now press and hold the Select or Enter button on your remote for a few seconds.
A pop-up menu will appear with some options. Choose Move.
You can now use the directional pad on your remote control to move the app shortcut left or right. Drag it left to bring it to the top of the list.
When the app shortcut is where you want it, click the “Select” or “Enter” button on your remote control to confirm. You are still in app reorder mode. Select another app to move, or tap the back button on the remote to complete the process.
If you move apps from the full app list, note that the highlighted lines indicate the apps and games that will be shown without selecting “Show All”.
Get better recommendations for movies and TV shows on Google TV
The recommendations on the Google TV home screen take a few things into account. First, the services that you selected when you set up the device for the first time. Second, the movies and TV shows that you added and rated on your watchlist. Lastly, the suggestions from Google that you cannot control.
To make changes to the services you have subscribed to, go to the “For You” tab at the top of the home screen.
Now scroll all the way down and select “Get Better Recommendations”.
You can now turn the switches on or off for the various services available. Streaming services at the top of the screen are linked to your Google account and can be removed from the Google website.
Next, we can add movies and TV shows to your watchlist and rate titles. Adding content to your watchlist can be done via a Google search on any device.
CONNECTED: How to add movies and TV shows to your Google Watchlist
To add something to your watchlist using the Google TV device itself, first highlight a movie or TV show and hold down the “Select” or “Enter” button on your remote control.
This will bring up a menu with a few options, one of which is “Add to Watchlist”.
In the same menu you will see options for “Watched It”, “Like” and “Dislike”. You can also use these to tweak the recommendations.
If you do this enough over time, the recommendations will get better.
Enable apps-only mode in Google TV
The Google TV home screen is mostly filled with recommendations, but it can be turned off nearly Completely. The “apps only mode” reduces everything to the lines “highlights” and “your apps”.
First, select your profile icon in the top right corner of the screen.
Choose Settings from the pop-up menu.
Then click in the menu on “Accounts & Sign in”.
Select your Google account (the account responsible for the home screen).
Scroll down and toggle the toggle for Apps Only Mode.
A confirmation screen indicates that this mode will hide Google’s recommendations and your ability to use the watchlist features. You also won’t have access to any content you’ve purchased from Google Play Movies or the Google Assistant. Select “Next” to continue.
Your Google TV home screen will now look like this:
The Google TV home screen may not be as customizable as Android TV, but the more you use it, the better it can get. Hopefully these customization options can help.