TCL, one of the world‘s leading television manufacturers, is expanding their offerings for cord cutters by launching new models powered by the Android TV platform. Available in affordable 32-inch and 40-inch screen sizes, TCL‘s latest TVs provide an open, customizable streaming TV experience thanks to Google‘s Android TV operating system.
With outstanding picture quality and robust feature sets at budget-friendly price points, TCL TVs have become a top choice for cord cutters. Their sets powered by Roku‘s streaming platform consistently rank among the most popular options on the market. But TCL introducing Android TV models provides even more choice for consumers.
Let‘s take a closer look at what Android TV brings to the table and how TCL‘s new sets compare to their Roku TV lineup.
TCL‘s Expanding TV Lineup
TCL has established itself as a leader in large, feature-packed TVs at wallet-friendly prices. Their 6-series models flagship the brand by combining quantum dot QLED displays and mini-LED backlight technology for amazing picture quality rivaling premium brands. The 5-series and 4-series maintain impressive visuals at lower price points for every budget.
Now with TCL expanding into Android TVs, cord cutters have two excellent smart platforms to choose from. The new Android TV sets will slot into TCL‘s value-focused 4-series lineup. This provides buyers an alternative to the Roku TV version of the 4-series available at the same screen sizes and similar price points.
Let‘s look at how Android TV compares to Roku TV.
Android TV Overview
Android TV is Google‘s television operating system tailored for the living room experience. Like Roku TV, Android TV turns any standard television into a smart TV complete with popular streaming apps, voice controls, and smart home integrations.
Android TV comes built into the television, no need for any external streaming device. Users simply connect to WiFi and enjoy thousands of apps via the Google Play Store like Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, Disney+, HBO Max, and more. Chromecast functionality is also baked in to cast content from mobile devices.
What sets Android TV apart is its open nature. Apps don‘t have to be approved for the Google Play Store. This allows users to install unapproved apps through a process called sideloading. For cord cutters, this opens up many more options for streaming, utilities, and gaming not accessible on closed platforms like Roku.
Benefits of Android TV for Cord Cutters
Here are some of the advantages Android TV provides over platforms like Roku for the cord cutting crowd:
More Streaming Options – Apps like Kodi, Cinema APK, CatMouse, and Downloader provide free access to tons of TV shows, movies, sports, and other content. This can help limit or even eliminate paid streaming service subscriptions. Roku TV blocks these types of apps.
Smart Home Control – The Google Assistant brings full voice control not just for TV streaming but also managing smart home devices like lights, locks, switches, and more. Roku is much more limited for smart home integration.
Gaming – With Android TV‘s open nature, compatible controllers, and Google Play Store games, the TV can pull double-duty as a basic gaming console. Far more gaming options than what Roku provides.
Customization – Android launcher apps allow deep customization options for the TV‘s interface – custom backgrounds, icon sets, widgets, and more. Roku offers some limited themes but not true customization.
For these reasons, Android TV provides a compelling alternative to Roku TV for cord cutters wanting added functionality. But each platform still has pros and cons to weigh.
Android TV vs. Roku TV Comparison
|Feature||Android TV||Roku TV|
|App Selection||Over 5,000 Android apps on Play Store. Able to install additional unapproved apps.||Over 10,000 Roku channels available. But no ability to install additional unapproved apps.|
|User Interface||Highly customizable via third-party launcher apps.||Simple elegant interface with minor theme options for personalization.|
|Smart Home Control||Full integration with Google Assistant provides extensive smart home control.||Limited smart home support mainly through IFTTT applets.|
|Gaming||Google Play Store offers variety of casual mobile-style games natively on the TV. More advanced with game controllers.||Very light gaming options on Roku Channel Store. Retro games and basic titles.|
|Streaming Performance||Smooth streaming with most popular apps. Less third-party app support compared to Roku.||Rock-solid devoted streaming platform. Best app support and consistent performance.|
|Prices||Mid-range. 32" HD model starts at $129 MSRP. 40" FHD model at $199.||Budget-friendly. 32" HD Roku TVs around $100. 40-43" FHD models as low as $150.|
TCL‘s New Android TV Models
TCL‘s 32-inch and 40-inch Android TVs will run the latest Android 10 software and include Google Assistant voice control built into the remote. This provides the full experience of core Android TV features:
Google Play Store – Download and install thousands of apps natively on the TV from Netflix to Hulu,Youtube, Disney+, Prime Video, network streaming apps, utilities, and games.
Chromecast Built-in – Wirelessly cast content from smartphones, tablets, and laptops directly to the TV. Works with thousands of Chromecast-enabled apps.
Voice Commands – Use the remote‘s Google Assistant microphone to launch apps, search for content, control smart devices, and more using natural voice commands.
Smart Home Control – Android TV integration provides extensive control options for Google/Nest products, Philips Hue, TP-Link, and 100+ other smart home brands.
TCL will be competing on price with these sets just like their Roku TV offerings. With MSRPs of $129 for the 32-inch and $199 for the 40-inch, they significantly undercut brands like Sony, Hisense, and others offering Android TVs. This could make them the most affordable entry point for enjoying the Android TV experience.
Android TV Growth Trajectory
Android TV launched in 2014 but took some time to catch on in the face of competition from established platforms like Roku, Fire TV, and webOS. But recent years have seen major growth for Android TV:
- Android TV market share has tripled over the past 3 years from 15% in 2018 to over 45% in 2021.
- Over 80 million Android TV devices were sold last year, a 50% year-over-year increase.
- The US saw 2.2x higher Android TV sales in 2021 vs 2020. Developed markets like the US and Western Europe are fueling growth.
- 55% of smart TVs sold globally now run Android TV, compared to 20% for Roku TV and 15% for webOS.
Google has made Android TV a strategic priority through partnerships with major TV makers like Sony, TCL, Hisense, Sharp, and many others. With over 80% market share outside the US, they are pushing hard to gain share in the US through OEM partnerships.
TCL introducing an affordable lineup of Android TVs should further boost domestic growth. And Google has plans to expand Android TV availability to over 150 million devices worldwide this year.
The Outlook for TCL‘s Android TV Lineup
Early reviews of TCL‘s Android TV models highlight excellent displays and solid performance considering the attractive prices. The addition of Android TV gives TCL another compelling smart TV offering alongside Roku TV.
This allows TCL to appeal to an even wider demographic – not just the budget-focused Roku TV crowd but also Android loyalists and those wanting more customization. TCL also broadens their partnerships beyond just Roku to include Google.
And the pricing undercuts competing budget Android TV models from other brands. The combination of features and affordability should garner significant interest from cord cutters.
Analysts predict TCL‘s Android TV shipments to reach 5 to 8 million units in 2022. And with Google Planning over 150 million new Android TV devices this year, TCL is poised to capture increased market share. If the Android TV lineup proves successful, TCL would have opportunity to expand it across other model lines.
For cord cutters, TCL‘s Android TVs provide an exciting new option to enjoy a flexible, customizable streaming TV experience at wallet-friendly prices. The Android TV platform continues to gain momentum, and TCL is well positioned to ride this growth in the budget TV segment. Their addition of Android TV will likely pay dividends in both sales and brand recognition.