It may be surprising for you but many people in the world do not know that there is a difference between Android TV and Smart TV. For most people, there is a normal television(without Internet Connectivity) and a Smart TV. And this is true in regards to a general aspect, as any television that connects with the internet and runs online content is a Smart TV.
But there is some difference between an Android TV & a Smart TV and it’s all software-based.
So let’s explore the software a bit, starting with a Smart TV
Built-in Operating System
Smart TV uses a built-in operating system, which is developed by the manufacture itself or a separate company. For example, TCL, which produces one of the best-selling televisions on Amazon, uses Roku OS on its Smart TVs. The Linux-based operating system, Roku, is created by the American company, Roku Inc.
On other hand, Samsung’s Smart TVs runs Tizen OS, which is developed by Samsung Electronics itself. The company is benefited from its own operating system due to better optimization with the hardware.
The Smart TV has firmware, which in most cases, can be updated manually. There are no proper scheduled upgrades for Smart TV software as it is difficult for the companies to maintain updates for so many different types of TV models and hardware. There are some popular Smart TVs models which receive firmware updates time by time.
Due to the pre-installed applications in Smart TV, the overall user experience is not slow and feels optimized. Although It depends on the Smart TV operating system, most of the high-end models are not laggy at all.
Smart TV does not support Google Play Store and has its own alternative to that. The apps available for installation are very limited and the popular Apps can’t enjoy the newer update improvements. Further, I have observed that some popular apps like Netflix, or Youtube, show some errors or bugs due to the inability to update regularly. There is also an option of installing any google app via APK package installation by connecting USB. But there are compatibility issues with this method.
Android Operating System
Android, which is developed by Google, is the leading mobile operating system in the world. Almost all smartphones other than Apple’s iPhone run Android. Any Smart Television that runs Android OS, is called an Android TV.
Regular Updates and Customization
Google ensures that your Android TV gets updates for 2-3 years. The short update period of 2-3 is somehow concerning and Google should support the Android TV for a longer time. To support this argument, one should understand that TV is not like a smartphone that people replace every year and so. Most People had televisions that are more than 5 years old.
Nevertheless, this does not mean the system will immensely lose its functionality as it can run quite well for years without an update. So not a big issue. The other best thing about the Android system is customization. There are a lot more customization options available in regards to home screen widgets, color schemes, etc.
Users can download their favorite application from Google play directly for their TV. In addition to that, apps are upgraded regularly via the Google play feature. The apps feel more polished with new features & improvements.
Google Assistant is a virtual assistant built by google to facilitate its users with voice searching and other benefits. Users can interact with the assistant by simply clicking one button. Most of the Android TV remotes have a special button to open the Google assistant. The voice feature really helps in swiftly searching your favorite videos or opening apps, etc.
Google Chromecast comes pre-installed on Android TV. It is basically a Google cast function that allows users to share content from phone, laptop, or tablet to Android TV. The process of screen mirroring videos or pictures is easy and smooth with Google Chromecast. Other Smart TVs also have screen mirroring apps but the interface is not user-friendly. Furthermore, these screens mirroring apps are non-compatible with some devices and content apps.
So, What to Choose?
These differences may help you in choosing the right type of Smart Television. If you are a person, who doesn’t bother about the updates and just watches content on Youtube & Netflix, then go for a simple Smart TV. Otherwise, Android TV has access to thousands of content-producing apps and is most importantly powered by Google.