Google TV gets a new TV recommendation system, courtesy of Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox laughing
(Image credit: Getty / The 32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards)

Google TV is offering a different take on TV recommendation algorithms, with a new 'Watch With Me' series that introduces viewers to the favorite films and TV shows of artists, celebrities and "cultural icons".

The first guest on the series will be the actor and activist Laverne Cox (Orange Is The New Black, Disclosure), with her suggested watchlist and a behind-the-scenes interview delving into her choices – including the Amazon Original Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Barry Jenkin's Best Picture Oscar-winning drama Moonlight, and The Matrix.

"I guess my watchlist says... these films have shaped me or helped me understand myself better, understand humanity better, understand the craft of acting or filmmaking better," says Cox in the video below.

We're yet to see what other stars will feature, but it does give more of a hook to TV recommendations, which largely tend to be based on prior content you've watched on the device, and can take a while to start feeling accurate (anyone who's started a new Netflix account and had to train its algorithm all over again will know what I mean).

It's early days for Google TV as a platform, but it's clear that Google is taking a different tack, aiming to make finding the content you want to watch a bit more direct. 

"We built Google TV as an entertainment experience designed to help you easily browse and discover what to watch," says a press release for the new Watch With Me feature.

Google it

Of course, with Google TV still be a relatively new platform, you might be unsure where to actually get it.

The smart TV platform's debut was on the Chromecast with Google TV, a revamped plug-in streamer with a sleeker and simplified platform compared to the Android TV devices that preceded it.

You'll also find Google TV on a number of new Sony TVs, with the manufacturer opting for the new platform over Android TV for its premium screens – including the 4K OLED flagship Sony A90J, the step-down Sony A80J, and LCD champion Sony X95J.

The Nvidia Shield TV streaming box has got an update to bring it more in line with newer Google TV devices, with an updated interface that removes app shortcuts and adds a Discover tab with content recommendations – but still while retaining the underlying Android TV software. In the next iteration of the Shield TV, though, who knows?

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.