Android TVs have become synonymous with Smart TVs. While they share many similarities, there are also some distinct differences. The primary difference is the OS that the smart and Android TVs run on.
Android TVs only run on Android OS. On the other hand, smart TVs have different OSes other than Android. Simply put, all Android TVs are smart TVs. Because, an Android TV is a type of smart TV.
The below article explains these differences in a detailed manner and what they offer to consumers.
What is Smart TV?
From a consumer point of view, a smart TV is one that allows you to browse and stream online content. The online content may include music or videos. They provide you direct access to the internet through a Wi-Fi connection.
Smart TVs come with default apps such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. Besides this, you can also download other apps from the app store or third-party applications.
How TVs Become Smart?
TV manufacturers develop and preinstall an operating system to make the TV smart. The OS serves as the platform for you to browse and access the internet. Smart TVs have no standard OS. Irrespective of the type of OS, any TV that allows you access to the internet is a smart TV.
Prominent TV brands such as LG, Samsung, and Sony have developed their own OS. However, the main problem with these OSs is that they may support only limited apps and games. Most other brands use the Android OS.
Features of Smart TV
Besides the resolution and other hardware components, below are the primary features of a Smart TV,
1. Browsing the Web
One of the basic features of a smart TV is to allow you to browse the web. Using the smart TV, you can access the internet, visit different websites, and watch videos and images.
YouTube comes as a default app in most smart TVs. Even if it does not, you can download it from the app store. The other option is to visit the website through your browser. Irrespective of the way, you can watch the latest movie trailers, tutorials, and your favorite songs on the big screen.
3. Watch Home Videos and Create Photo Slideshows
Smart TVs are a great option to view your videos and photos on the big screen. You can connect your smart TV to smartphones and cameras either wirelessly or through a wire connection. Once you have set up the connection, you can access the media and cherish your favorite memories.
4. DLNA Certified Streaming
DLNA stands for Digital Living Network Alliance. It allows consumer electronics items to connect with each other through your home network. When your smart TV is DLNA compatible, you can connect it with other DLNA compatible devices such as laptops, phones, printers, and others.
Once connected, you can access the devices and play movies, music, or images.
Types of Smart TV OS
As mentioned, smart TVs come with different OS. Some brands develop their own proprietary OS. For instance, Samsung TVs run on Tizen OS and LG TVs run on WebOS.
But the main problem is that these operating systems support only a limited number of apps. Apart from the popular OTT sites and entertainment apps, you may not find many apps in the store.
Below are the OSs of the most prominent brands in India.
1. Tizen OS (Samsung)
Tizen is a Linux-based operating system for Samsung smart TVs. This OS is ranked as the world’s leading streaming platform due to the huge sales of Samsung TVs. Apart from smart TVs, Samsung uses this OS for all wearable devices.
Tizen OS features a stylish design with a large selection of intuitive functions. The user navigation is simple. You won’t have to search your favorite apps. All the apps and important options are found on the home screen. The layout includes a series of cards at the bottom displaying popular apps and connected devices.
Tizen OS supports close to 300 smart TV apps. This includes the popular streaming platforms Netflix, Prime Video, Hotstar, Hulu, and Sony Liv. It supports social networking apps like Facebook and other entertainment apps. Apart from this, it offers its own app such as TV+ service that is not available for other OS.
Samsung smart TVs come with a standard remote to control them. Apart from it, Samsung offers a Universal Remote known as Samsung One Remote Control. Using this, you can control all Samsung smart devices.
- Voice Control
Samsung’s Tizen OS is compatible with multiple AI-powered voice assistants. The most popular ones are Google Assistant, Alexa, and Bixby. You can download these apps from the app store and use them to control the TV.
- Control and Cast via App
If you do not want to use a remote, you can download remote apps on your smartphone and use them to control your Samsung smart TV. The Tizen OS is compatible with multiple remote apps.
Additionally, Tizen OS also supports screen casting. You can cast your phone screen on the TV and control the TV phone.
2. Web OS (LG)
LG does not need any introduction when it comes to smart TVs. LG smart TVs run on the brand’s proprietary operating system known as Web OS. Similar to Tizen, it is also a Linux based OS. The latest version of the OS is webOS 6.0.
LG’s Web OS is designed for multi-tasking. The OS is innovative and is intuitive. You can easily navigate to your favorite apps without any trouble. It provides recommendations of new apps on your home screen based on your preference.
When it comes to the apps, LG has made sure to include all popular applications. It supports over 600 apps which is twice that of Tizen. Popular apps such as Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, and others come pre-installed with the OS. You will have to download the other apps from the app store.
LG smart TVs come with either a standard remote or a Magic remote. The standard remote has 5-way controls with additional buttons for common actions. On the other hand, the Magic remote has advanced features such as voice input and universal remote functions.
- Voice Control
LG has developed an intelligent voice control technology for its Web OS. The Magic remote comes with a built-in microphone. You have to hold the microphone button and speak to control the TV. The voice control feature supports Google Assistant, Alexa devices, and other popular voice control apps.
- Control and Cast via App
Similar to the Tizen OS, it also supports screencasting and smartphone remote apps. Most of the LG TVs have an in-built screencasting feature. Using this, you can control the TV using your phone. Or download a remote app on your phone to control the TV.
3. Fire TV Edition (Amazon)
As you may know, a Fire TV is a small device that you can plug into the HDMI port of your TV to stream media. The Fire TV converts an ordinary TV into a smart TV and it uses the Fire OS. Irrespective of the brand, all TVs enabled by the Fire TV use the Fire OS.
The home screen of the Fire OS largely focuses on Amazon products. The home screen displays the Amazon shopping app, in addition to your music, videos, and ebooks from Amazon. Additionally, it also shows other popular apps in a grid view.
Fire OS is based on Android OS, however, the OS does not have a Google play store. It has its own app store to download the apps. The OS supports all popular OTT and entertainment apps including Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and Sony Liv. It is needless to say that it supports the Prime Video app.
The Fire TV comes with a standard Alexa Voice Remote. In case if you have lost the remote, you can buy it separately. It uses touch-sensitive features for navigating the screen. Apart from this, it has the standard volume control and menu buttons.
- Voice Control
The remote comes with the Alexa voice assistant feature. You can use it to navigate between screens, launch, and close apps. Please note that the Fire OS does not support the Google Assistant app.
- Control and Cast via App
If you do not want to use the remote or voice control feature, you can download the Fire Tv mobile app and control the TV using your phone. Alternatively, you can also connect your TV and phone through screen sharing to access the TV using a phone.
Pros of Smart TV
- You get more options in Smart TV with respect to the size, resolution, and sound quality.
- You can experience a custom interface as different brands have a different OS.
- The user interface is simple and it is easy to navigate between screens.
- The TVs come with many pre-installed apps. So, you do not have to download much of anything.
Cons of Smart TV
- The main drawback is that there are only limited apps and games.
- You may not get the OS update for your smart TV. Sometimes, brands stop software support after a few years of launching the TV.
- They are expensive.
What is Android TV?
An Android TV is a type of Smart TV that runs on Google’s Android operating system. Brands that do not have their proprietary OS use the Android OS for their smart TVs.
Google has ensured that the OS receives regular updates to improve the user interface and other glitches. The latest Android version OS is Android 9.0 (Pie). Most consumers prefer Android TV because they are familiar with the user interface of the Android OS. Besides, it supports an enormous number of apps.
Android TV Special Features
The main feature of an Android TV is the Play Store app. With this, you can download thousands of streaming and entertainment apps from the Play Store.
Below are the primary features of an Android TV,
- Native Chromecast and Google Assistant
Android TV has the popular Google Assistant voice control and in-built Chromecast feature. Google Assistant allows you to discover new content, launch and close apps, and control smart devices in your home. Using the Chromecast, you can easily cast content from your phone to the TV.
- Custom Home Screen with Personalized Content
The content appearing on the home screen of an Android TV will be different for each person. That is because the OS lists recommendations based on your browsing history and preferences. In this way, you can easily navigate to your favorite apps and websites.
- Voice Search via Remote
Typing and navigating using a remote can be painful and time-consuming. To prevent this, the standard remote comes with a voice search feature. You can scroll the screen and navigate easily with this feature.
- Actor/Actress Bios
With the help of this feature, you can find on which OTT platform you can watch your favorite TV shows. Furthermore, it gives details of the full cast. All you have to do is just click on the TV show. Besides, you can also search for your favorite actor to find the complete list of his roles in different films.
- Games and Entertainment Apps
As mentioned already, Android TV supports a large number of apps. With this, you can play online, offline, single-player, and multiplayer games. Furthermore, it supports up to four gamepads, Android tablets, and phones for playing purposes.
Android TV Products in India
Apart from the prominent brands Samsung and LG that have their own OS, the other smart TV brands use the Android OS. The popular Android TVs in India are Sony, TCL, Vu Cinema, Sanyo, Lloyd, MI, and Realme Android TVs.
Apart from this, you can also convert a conventional TV into an Android TV using certain Android media devices. The popular ones are listed below,
1. Airtel Internet TV
Airtel Internet TV is a DTH set-top box that uses the Android OS. It comes with pre-installed apps and useful features. With this, you get all the features of an Android TV such as Chromecast, Google Assistant, and Play Store.
2. Act Stream TV 4K
Similar to the Airtel Internet TV in many, this allows you to watch content in 4K resolution. Besides, you get all the features of an Android TV.
Pros of Android TV
- Android TVs are affordable and budget-friendly as they do not have to develop their own OS.
- Android TVs support over 7000 games and entertainment apps.
- You can sync your Android TV with other Android devices.
- You will receive frequent updates for Android OS to improve the user experience.
Cons of Android TV
- Most prominent TV brands develop their own OS. So, you will have limited options to choose from.
- They may lack other features such as high resolution or sound quality.
- It can be hard to navigate if you are not familiar with the Android OS.
Comparison: Smart TV vs. Android TV
We have created a table comparing smart TVs and Android TVs against the most important parameters.
|Parameter||Smart TV||Android TV|
|User Interface||Simple||Complex (If you are not familiar with Android OS)|
|Apps supported||Supports 300-600 apps||Supports nearly 7000 apps|
|Reliability||More reliable||Less reliable|
|Remote Control||Complicated to control|
|Simple to control using remotes|
|Smartphone Access||Only on specific models||Available on all models|
|OS Update Frequency||No frequent updates||Regular update|
|File Transfer Mode||Wired connection||Wired and wireless through apps|
|Initial Installation||Easy||Comparatively difficult|
So, Which one Should you Buy?
The differences in factors like resolution, sound, and size are not dependent on Smart and Android TVs. Rather, they are dependent on the specific brands and models.
So, keeping these factors aside, we recommend an Android TV for the following reasons,
- You get way more apps in an Android TV from the Google Play Store than the Smart TVs.
- You can sync your Android TV and other Android devices.
- The built-in Google Assistant and Chromecast feature improves navigation.
- Android OS receives frequent updates to remove existing glitches and improve user experience.
If you have any queries or doubts, please let us know using the comments section. Our team will help you out. You can also share your thoughts and opinions in the comments box.