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The debate regarding the utility of Smart TV and Android TV has been going on for quite a while now. For some, the user-friendly interface of Smart TV overshadows the feature-rich characteristics of Android TV. And for others, Android TV is the only way to watch their favorite online content on a larger screen—all hail the cool things Android TV lets you do! But there is so much more to consider when making a final purchase to make sure you don’t end up regretting your decision later on.

So which TV platform is better for you: Smart TV or Android TV? Let’s find out!

Smart TV: What Is It?

Any TV set with built-in capability to offer content over the internet— without the need to connect to an additional box—is a Smart TV. In other words, Smart TV lets you access, view, and manage online as well as network-based media content—regardless of the operating system that runs it.

Exactly how you navigate through your Smart TV menu, which apps are available to you, and how you can organize apps varies with the model and brand.

The Benefits of Smart TV

Just like your smartphones and smart home gadgets, Smart TVs provide support for a variety of apps. And offer many more functions than a regular TV. This opens the door to a world of novel entertainment options—from playing games to checking social media, streaming videos on Hulu and Netflix, and running a house full of connected smart home devices.

In fact, a good deal of models now come well-equipped with voice recognition tools—including Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa—for switching channels and searching programs. One of the best features of Smart TV is keeping all your digital content in one place and managing it with just one remote. Not every person is as tech-savvy, so it is always a better idea to dumb down the viewing setup. As a cherry on top, Smart TV remotes are intuitive and easy to use, with comprehensible menus that guide your path to the online content you are looking for.

Android TV: What Is It?

To make it simple and straightforward?Android TV is just a type of Smart TV that runs on the Android TV OS owned by Google. While Smart TV brands such as Samsung and LG, use their own proprietary OS for their primary product lineup, they also build certain models based on the Android TV OS. On the other hand, others like Sony and TLC rely solely on the Android TV OS.

As far as functionality, a Smart TV which runs on Android TV OS, provides a watching experience very similar to what you get with Samsung or LG models that use a TV OS other than Android. Any differences in how these various types of Smart TVs work are therefore rooted in the OS that runs them.  

The Benefits of Android TV

Android TV is designed to bring the type of content you enjoy on your smartphones to your TV screens. Simply put, it is all about access to entertainment, ease of navigation, and basic interactivity. It puts at your disposal the Google Play Store which gives Android users access to a far greater number of apps to download and explore. Another plus is the voice control feature—thanks to the built-in Google Assistant. This gives users control over other connected devices, like your Wear OS watch and Android smartphone.

Android TV also allows you to effortlessly customize your TV's content as per your taste and preferences. You can stream content to Android TV via apps—both free and paid—using your in-home internet connection. And with Chromecast, you can cast content from your smartphone straight to your TV without a hitch. Beyond its excellent streaming capabilities, Android TV also has the potential to run apps, play emulators, work as a media player, and connect to a TV tuner. No doubt it is a whole shooting match for any TV lover!

Smart TV vs Android TV: Which Is Better?

In essence, Smart TV and Android TV are the same as both deliver content over the internet. But as mentioned above, it is the underlying Operating System that makes all the difference. With that said, it is still necessary to recognize the things which set Android TV apart from other Smart TVs.  

Here are a few important factors to consider:

Factor #1 App Library

Smart TV

For widely sought-after entertainment apps like Netflix, Prime Video, and YouTube, Smart TV is a great choice.           But you may not find a wide variety of apps to choose from since Smart TVs have limited apps available. For this reason, a Smart TV may not be a good option for people with diverse interests.

Android TV

On the other hand, Android TV users can benefit from a vast library of apps—thanks to support from the Google Play Store. From Netflix and YouTube to Prime Video and Hulu—just name it—almost everything is available on Android TV. Plus, all your apps are optimized for the Android TV platform—offering intuitive controls to enjoy your favorite content on the bigger screen.

Factor #2 Screencasting

Smart TV

Newer Smart TV models offer screen mirroring support for laptops and smartphones?so for instance with a Samsung Galaxy device you can use the “Smart View” feature to mirror the screen; with an iPhone you can use the “AirPlay” feature to mirror images, videos or other media content; and with the LG smartphone you can use the “SmartShare” feature to watch media on the TV screen. With that said, screen mirroring can be somewhat of a hassle in comparison to the ease of screencasting, and is likely to result in compromised output?in terms of latency and quality.

Android TV

On the other hand, Android TV offers a built-in Chromecast feature which works perfectly with Android smartphones?you can cast content from your smartphone directly to TV?it works in full-screen mode and gets you exceptional quality in terms of output.

Factor #3 Navigation

Smart TV

Smart TVs are more user-friendly so to speak?easier to navigate and find your way around. Plus, largely speaking Smart TVs perform faster given the operating software they run on.   

Android TV

With Android TV, you need to be familiar with the Android environment so as to fully benefit from it. Perhaps a big flip side is setting up all the appealing Android TV features which often requires you to be more tech savvy than the average user?and this is where Smart TV prevails over Android.

Factor #4 Firmware Updates

Smart TV

Most Smart TV operating systems cannot be upgraded?after a few years, you are unlikely to receive a major firmware update, and this will eventually render your Smart TV obsolete.

Android TV

On the other hand, the Android TV operating system can be easily updated just like Android smartphones. Also, developers regularly push new app and firmware updates to help you take advantage of the latest app versions?they provide you with the necessary optimization and enhancement to keep your TV current.

Final Thoughts on Android TV vs Smart TV

While Android TV as well as other Smart TV types have their own benefits and flaws, it goes without saying anyone who already uses an Android phone will probably be more comfortable using an Android TV. Moreover, it gives access to a wide variety of apps on Google Play along with firmware updates that keep it current. All-in-all Android based Smart TVs enjoy a strong competitive edge over the other Smart TV types?not to mention the better value for price they get you.

On the other hand, a Smart TV which does not use the Android TV OS to run, is a worthwhile choice if you do not own an Android device and would rather not invest your time and energy in learning an all-new interface. Smart TV works well right out of the box and anyone who prefers convenience and simplicity more than anything else will be completely satisfied with one?especially if budget is not an issue.

Now that you are well-equipped with the information about Android and other Smart TVs , it will be easier for you to make a decision. Make sure you choose wisely keeping your priorities in check.

FAQs

1.     Which is more expensive Smart TV or Android TV?

Smart TV is a more expensive choice but also more intuitive and convenient if you want to enjoy your favorite online content without any hassle. This is because you access everything with only one Smart TV remote which is easy to use, with comprehensible menus that guide you to the online content you are looking for.

2.     Should I buy an Android TV?

Yes, Android TVs are definitely worth buying. The fact these are reasonably priced, provide access to a wide variety of apps along with availability of the latest firmware updates, gives Android TV a strong competitive edge. Not to mention a better value for the price too.

3.     Can we download apps in Smart TV?

Yes, you can browse and download any app available in the app store via your Smart TV.

4.     Can I use Android TV without Internet?

Yes, it is possible to access basic Android-based Smart TV functions even in the absence of an internet connection. The specific features that may or may not work vary with the brand and model.

5.     Which brand is the best for Android TV?

Sony with its latest series of 4K HDR OLED Android TV is the best option in 2021, but also one of the most costly.

6.     Which company’s Smart TV is the best?

Some of the best Smart TV brands are Samsung, Sony, LG, and TLC.