The technology market is constantly evolving, and with so many options available, even industry experts can feel overwhelmed. Choosing a suitable TV is not simply about finding the right size and price but also determining whether a smart or regular TV is the better option.
To further complicate matters, there’s the debate about sticking to the manufacturer’s custom OS or opting for an Android operating system. However, the introduction of Google TV made things even more difficult. Now, the real dilemma is Google TV vs Android TV.
Two of the biggest players in the game are Google and Android, and their streaming platforms - Google TV and Android TV - are at the forefront of the industry, but which one is the best? We’re here to help you clarify the differences between these two products in this comprehensive guide so you can make a well-informed decision.
The marriage of computers and entertainment has brought about a new era of technology. Smart TVs, also known as connected TVs, are at the forefront of this revolution. Boasting an integrated internet connection and a wide selection of free and paid smart TV apps, the smart TV platform represents a significant convergence of entertainment and technology.
When it comes to the essential features of these devices, here is what they offer:
Streaming services: Most smart TVs offer access to the most popular streaming services, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, HBO Max, Spotify, and Pandora.
Social media apps: Most smart TVs have social media apps like Twitter and Facebook.
Voice assistants: Smart TVs increasingly incorporate voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. This feature allows users to send commands to their TV using a built-in remote microphone or a TV microphone that can hear the entire room.
Smart home compatibility: Smart TVs are centralised hubs for connected devices, allowing you to control smart home features from your couch.
Wide range of price options: Smart TVs come in a wide range of options, with budget-friendly models starting at $300 and high-end models priced at $5,000.
Google TV and Android TV are not exactly the same, but they are closely related. Unlike Android TV, Google TV offers a unique and updated version of the Android operating system, enhanced with a new recommendation engine and revamped user interface.
Essentially, Google TV underwent a rebranding and redesign process, resulting in a new and exciting user experience.
Google TV emphasises content discovery, making discovering new content to watch effortless. Despite these differences, Google TV supports all the same apps and services as Android TV, making it a reliable and robust option for those searching for a next-generation smart TV.
Google TV’s watchlist feature saves time by allowing Google TV users to add TV shows or movies to a list they plan to watch later. This list informs the recommendations on the home TV screen, including content from Google Play movies and streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video or Disney+. This is also available on the Google TV app.
Google TV is a video platform and an excellent gaming platform. You can play casual games like Crossy Road and Asphalt 8 directly on your Google TV and connect a Bluetooth gamepad to make it feel like a game console.
Google TV is not just for streaming video; it’s also a great multi-room audio solution. You can play songs from phone apps like Spotify to your Chromecast device and enjoy your favourite music throughout your home.
Google TV offers a kid-friendly feature that allows parents to restrict access to certain apps and set screen time limits for their children. This feature is especially useful for younger children, allowing them to explore the platform independently while limiting their access to age-appropriate content.
You can download DLNA apps like Plex, making it easy to stream your music and video files without a subscription. Alternatively, you can directly access content stored on a high-capacity USB or external hard drive without worrying about connectivity issues.
One of the most prevailing concerns among users with the Google TV platform lies in its tendency to experience lag. This can be due to Google’s cost-efficient chipset strategy, which is optimised to deliver satisfactory performance levels. Storage limitations can further compound this issue and interfere with app installations, especially on devices such as Chromecast that have a mere 5GB of usable space.
Users have also noticed that Google TV has a steeper learning curve than other smart TV platforms, particularly for individuals accustomed to the traditional Android TV interface. Some users also complain that the Google TV interface is cluttered and less intuitive than other smart TV interfaces.
Of course, keep in mind that these remarks are subjective and can vary depending on individual preferences and experiences.
Contrary to popular belief, Android TV is far from just another Smart TV. In fact, it differs from smart TV in many ways, particularly in terms of its operating systems and capabilities.
Here are the distinguishing characteristics of Android TVs:
One of the most outstanding Android TV features is the built-in Chromecast, allowing you to cast content to your TV from laptops or mobile devices. And you won’t need a Chromecast dongle if you use compatible Android TV devices or a set-top box.
Android TV is extremely user-friendly. You can access content from popular apps through the Discover bar, watch tutorials on YouTube, or shows like The Walking Dead on Google TV. The Google TV layer is a new interface created by Google that can be used on certain Android TVs as an alternative to the default Android TV interface. Although it differs from the original interface, it is still user-friendly and simple to navigate, so users should not face any difficulties using it.
Android TV’s top search utility is powered by Google Assistant and supports easy voice-activated searching commands. You won’t have trouble finding simple video game titles or asking complex inquiries like “all the Oscar-winning movies from 1989.”
On the home screen, you can access popular apps such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and BBC iPlayer. Some devices can also show manufacturer-specific apps. You can access a vast library of content for your browsing pleasure by clicking on any of these apps.
Android TV offers your favourite games, allowing you to compete against friends using up to four gamepads, Android phones, or tablets simultaneously. Google PlayStore games automatically save your progress so you can resume your game quickly and seamlessly switch between devices.
One of the main challenges that users may come across is the complexity of the setup and navigation. Additionally, Android TV often requires downloading and installing various apps and frequent updating. However, you won't have this trouble if you are an experienced Android user.
Some users might find ads intrusive as some models display ads or recommendations on the home screen.
Finally, when it comes to choosing between ULED and QLED, the cost of an Android TV might be an issue for some buyers. QLED TVs tend to be more expensive as this technology is currently exclusive to Samsung, being on the pricier side. In contrast, ULED technology is developed by Hisense, a brand with more affordable options. Be sure to consider the differences between ULED and QLED to help you make a better choice.
Google TV and Android TV are popular operating systems that power modern smart TVs and streaming devices. Android TV has been available since 2014, while Google TV was introduced more recently in 2020.
If your primary concern is the viewing experience, you’ll have nothing to worry about, as both Google TV and Android TV have excellent image quality. However, hardware specifications, such as the display technology used, can have a significant impact on the overall viewing experience.
Suppose you place a high value on the quality of the display. In that case, you may want to give some thought to selecting a TV model that incorporates OLED or Mini LED technology, as these technologies can offer superior contrast, brightness, and colour accuracy when compared to other display technologies. Additionally, it’s important to compare 4K and 8K depending on your preferences.
It’s important to note that even if your TV does not feature OLED or miniLED displays, you can still use both Android TV and Google TV. And if you are tech-savvy, you might find the traditional Android TV interface much easier to navigate as it’s similar to most smartphones and tablets. The popularity of the Google TV interface is undeniable, though, as many TV manufacturers have started incorporating this platform into their smart TVs.
So if you want to stay up to date with the latest trends and releases regarding apps and content, Google TV might be a better option for you.
The trend among major smart TV manufacturers is clear: nearly all have shifted to Google TV, including Sony, TCL, and Hisense. This is evident in the availability of new models that use Google TV versus older Android TV models on retailer websites. Ultimately, the shift towards Google TV appears to be the future of smart TV technology, making it a much safer choice in the long run.
Google TV and Android TV are similar but not exactly the same thing. Android TV is like the “brain” of the smart TV, while Google TV is the “face” or the way you interact with the TV. Google TV has some extra features that make it different from the standard Android TV.
One of the biggest downsides of Google TV is that it may not be compatible with certain streaming services or devices. However, it seems like Google may have resolved this problem, as almost all major TV manufacturers have shifted to Google TV. On the other hand, another major drawback could be the cost, as it is more expensive than other streaming platforms on the market.