Android TV’s “expanded” picture-in-picture mode is here with Android 13 Beta 2
During the excitement of a new Android 13 beta release, it’s quite easy to forget that phones (and tablets) aren’t the only things getting upgraded. While the initial Android 13 beta for Android TV was a bit underwhelming, the latest version includes something that users have been wanting for quite a while — a revamped picture-in-picture mode.
Although Android TV has supported picture-in-picture mode for years now, Android 13 will be the first version that will allow developers to create expanded PiP windows. Under the hood, the Picture-in-Picture API has been updated to accommodate the multi-window instances on the screen. As a result, end users can seamlessly change the size of a PiP window. This is particularly useful for people using their TVs to take video calls or monitor security camera feeds, as they can fit more participants or streams. There will be a new docked mode as well that resizes the main app to allow PiP windows to be seated on the edges.
Notably, the arrival of the expanded PiP mode and the docking feature was hinted at back in March. Google didn’t ship them in the Beta 1 build, though, but they are finally here with the Beta 2 release. Android 13 also adds the ability for apps to mark UI elements that shouldn’t be overlaid by picture-in-picture windows. Known as “Keep-clear,” the API ensures that the PiP segments never cover important parts of the screen.
Unlike the phone releases, Android TV betas continue to be fairly limited in terms of ways to actually test them out. For instance, the second beta is only available as an emulator image. Even Google’s own ADT-3 developer hardware platform has yet to receive Android TV 13 Beta 2 in the form of a flashable package or an over-the-air update. It’s unclear when the stable update rolls out to the Chromecast with Google TV or any other existing Android TV devices.