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New update brings voice search and improved guide to Google TV

A new Google TV update makes being a couch potato even easier.

The update is rolling out this week - first to LG devices - and adds voice search, PrimeTime, and better YouTube integration, Google said in a blog post.

Now, users can instantly access TV shows and movies, play online videos, open applications, and search Google, by just asking.

The new feature provides quick access to any channel (just say "CNN" to change stations), live and streaming options, and instructional YouTube videos (ask "how to tie a bow tie"). Unsure of exactly what you're in the mood for? Simply say "search movies with Jeff Bridges" for a list of possibilities in the new, more visual search results page.

Additionally, Google TV's revamped guide, now called PrimeTime, makes it easier to find favourite content. Accessible anywhere in the Google TV app, users can quickly flip through live TV, access favorite channels, see recently watched TV shows, and find new suggestions.

LG device owners will receive the Google TV update in the next few weeks, according to product managers Greg Funk and Eric Liu, while it rolls out to other second-generation hardware in the coming months. First-gen devices will see updates to PrimeTime and YouTube.

Google TV already received an update in October 2011, when the service integrated the Google Play store, customized the home screen, and improved content from Netflix, YouTube, HBO GO, and other streaming sites.

"The initial version of Google TV wasn't perfect," Google said last year, "but launching it gave us the opportunity to learn."

That learning process also led to a better YouTube viewing experience on Google TV, which the company announced Tuesday.

The updated app for Android smartphones/tablets and Google TV automatically pairs the devices over the same Wi-Fi connection, allowing big-screen playback of any YouTube video from an Android-based phone or tablet. Remote control-like options - pause, scroll, skip - are included, as well as the ability to search for videos or browse the Web on your gadget while video playback continues, uninterrupted, on the TV.

The company added Google Play movies and music to Google TV customers in the UK earlier this week.