Squaring the Circle on Google TV | by Michelle Clark | Medium
Michelle Clark
Android Developers

Starting today, Google TV will require developers to provide a square app icon asset as part of the submitted TV app package in addition to the existing banner asset.

With over 10,000 apps on Android TV OS, it can be difficult to pick favorites. That’s why we’re making it even easier for Google TV users to find apps by creating more space with distinctive round icons on the “Your apps” row.

Coming early 2024, apps in Google TV’s “For you” tab will be displayed in a circular format to make better use of the space. These icons are derived from the andrdoid:icon resource, and if you aren’t already, you will need to begin providing them to make sure your app looks great in this new UI. Read on to learn more about the specific requirements.

New Google TV interface showing circular icons

What’s changing for TV developers?

If you’re developing an app for Android TV OS, you must adhere to our updated TV app quality policies (TV-LB). Moving forward, be sure to submit an updated APK which includes the square app icon assets as defined in the TV App Icon Guidelines.

Common issues with launcher icons on TV

We took a close look at how TV app developers are providing assets in their TV apps today, and while many already include TV launcher icons alongside the 320×180 banner asset, there’s still work to be done. We’ve found these common problems with the launcher icons:

  • Aspect ratio is not 1:1 (the icon is not square)
  • The icon overflows the safe space as defined in the guidelines
  • The icon size provided at xhdpi is not at least 160×160
  • The icon is not designed as per spec

To make sure Google TV showcases your high quality icons that render as expected on TV, please follow the TV App Icon Guidelines.

As always, adhere to some do’s and don’ts to consider when designing a TV app icon.

Examples of do’s and don’ts, recommending to avoid including padd, excessive crops or use of badges and text

Best practices for launcher icons on TV

The best way to make sure your icon and banner adapt well to different shapes and screen densities is by using adaptive icons.

Your foreground asset can be a vector drawable to render crisply at any resolution while simultaneously reducing the size of your binary. For some great insights into how to tweak the appearance of your adaptive icon, see Implementing Adaptive Icons.

Adaptive icon recommendations, stipulating a square foreground icon at 72px and background at 108px
Adaptive icons provide two layers for the icon: one for the foreground, and one for the background.

If you are using a rasterized icon as the foreground or background, be sure that these assets are provided at the correct minimum dimensions as stipulated in the guidelines.

What happens if I do nothing?

If your app’s square assets are not in the required resolution, the Google TV launcher will try to use the highest available resolution available. For example, if the xhdpi asset has an insufficient resolution, it will use a higher resolution xxxhdpi asset if available. The icon might appear aliased or blurry if this resolution does not meet our guidelines.

Your icon might also be presented in unexpected ways if the guidelines aren’t met. For instance, if your icon is not contained within the safe zone as illustrated above, it may become cropped in an undesirable way. If a square icon is not declared at all, but a 16:9 banner icon asset is available, the banner asset will be used, albeit cropped in an potentially undesirable way. Finally, if neither icon or banner assets are available, a default Android icon will be used.

Do I still need to provide the 320×180-pixel app banner asset?

Yes, and the new graphic design requirements for the banner include higher resolution versions as well. We recommend taking a similar approach as before to use adaptive icons for the banner as well:

Note: Make sure you add a minimum of 18% inset for the foreground to get adjusted in the safespace.

Adaptive banner recommendations, stipulating a 16:9 aspect ratio with a foreground height of 280px and background height of 360px
Adaptive icons with two layers can be used for the banner as well: one for the foreground, and one for the background.

You may want to provide a legacy icon and banner to support platforms lower than SDK level 26; Asset Studio will conveniently take care of all this for you.

Screenshot of Android Studio’s Asset Studio where the “TV Banners” icon type is selected
Android Studio can help you create adaptive banners with the “TV Banner” option in the Asset Studio

These rectangular banner assets will continue to be displayed throughout other areas of the UI (like the “Apps” tab) so please ensure to include both the square and rectangular assets in your submission.


We’re making this adjustment easy with these helpful resources: