Televisions have come a long way from being large, bulky appliances that took up a lot of floor space in your home. And thanks to new technology, you can do a lot more with your TV than watch cable channels. The smart TV, in particular, is a new type of television with internet connectivity that lets you access applications and streaming services straight from its screen. This makes the smart TV an all-in-one entertainment suite that can really enhance your viewing experience.
Given these amazing capabilities, more and more households have made the switch to a smart TV. You may even be considering buying one for your home as well. However, with so many options to choose from, picking the right television can be challenging. To add to this, you might have seen the term “Android TV” floating around the smart TV sections of appliance catalogs, which could cause some confusion. So, what is an Android TV, and how does it differ from a smart TV?
Defining the Android TV
To make things clear, an Android TV is technically a type of smart TV—think of it as a subcategory beneath an umbrella term. They both connect to the internet and give access to different applications and streaming services. They also let users share what’s on the screen of their devices, access social media, listen to music, and, of course, watch their favorite movies and TV shows.
However, despite being a type of smart TV, the Android TV does have certain capabilities that make it stand out. As such, you might want to buy Android TV instead of a regular Smart TV, as it may better suit your specific needs. To help you discern whether this type of television is for you, below are four unique features that an Android TV can offer:
It Uses a Familiar Interface for Android Users
If you already use Android devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, then you may want to purchase an Android TV, as it uses the same operating system. This makes it easier for you to navigate its interface and connect other devices to your TV. Smart TVs, on the other hand, may have different operating systems depending on their brand and model. Hence, if you’re not particularly tech-savvy, navigating an entirely new interface may take some getting used to.
Of course, the advantage of an Android system can also be a disadvantage to users who don’t use Android devices. Since smart TVs generally have cleaner and more minimal interfaces, someone unfamiliar with the Android ecosystem may prefer them.
It Provides More App Support
Smart TVs have clean, minimalistic interfaces because they already come pre-installed with applications. Apps for popular streaming services, social media sites, and media players are ready to be used the moment you set up your TV. However, this also means that you can only use these specific apps. This is perfectly fine if you’re not looking for a lot of features or capabilities. However, if you want to get more out of your television, this setup can seem a bit lacking.
The Android operating system for Android TVs was developed by Google. As a result, it contains many of the brand’s basic applications. This includes the Google Play Store, where you can access hundreds of apps and install them on your TV, a lot like you would on an Android smartphone or tablet.
The downside to this is that having many applications installed can make an interface slightly harder to navigate. Hence, the Android TV is a perfect option for those who are looking for more features but not ideal for those who want a simpler user experience.
It Frequently Gets Firmware Updates
Since the Android TV runs on the Android operating system, it also undergoes frequent firmware updates, just like other devices that use the system. This ensures that you have all the latest versions of your favorite applications as well as access to the newest apps in the Google Play Store. Updates also help your system work smoothly for a longer period of time, as these processes often resolve bugs or other issues that may have occurred in previous versions of the system. Unfortunately, smart TVs usually offer little to no updates. As such, their operating systems may feel a bit outdated after some time.
It Has an Optimized Voice Assistant Feature
Purchasing an Android TV may be a good choice if you’re someone who likes having hands-free control over your devices. While a good number of smart TVs do support voice control, they usually require the purchase of additional hardware for a virtual assistant. On the other hand, Android TVs usually come pre-installed with Google Assistant, which doesn’t require buying additional hardware or an input device. This can save you a lot of time and money down the road if you’re planning to capitalize on your TV’s voice control features.
So is an Android TV really better than a smart TV? The answer will, ultimately, depend on your needs as a user. The Android TV is perfect for those who are looking for an entertainment unit with competitive app support, frequent updates, and plenty of room for customization. Like all products, these features will always come with their own perks and drawbacks. By familiarizing yourself with them, you can make a more well-informed decision when upgrading your television.