Which is Better Smart TV or Android TV?


I have to admit. I haven’t always been tech-savvy, and I had to learn most things about Smart TVs and Android TVs through trial and error. I was very enthusiastic about the Android TV when it was finally released. Frankly, all my friends and family also wanted to know if they should switch from their regular Smart TV considering all the cool things that came with Android TV.

So, which is better, smart TV or Android TV? And which one should you buy?

Frankly, it depends on how tech-savvy you are. For some, a Smart TV beats the Android TV because it is convenient and straightforward to use. But, on the other hand, if you love browsing and consuming online content, an Android TV will be better. After all, you can do more online staff with that than a Smart TV.

But this is just surface value. So let me take you through each TV, its features, pros, and cons so you can better decide which will fit your needs better.

What is a Smart TV?

A Smart TV is also called the internet TV, signifying its superior performance over regular television units. Besides playing regular programs and compatibility with DVD and Blu-Ray players, a smart TV comes with pre-installed services. In addition, it supports internet connectivity and has built-in apps like Facebook, YouTube, and Netflix. Unfortunately, you can’t upgrade the Smart TV operating system, so you cannot enjoy new services introduced in the market.

What is an Android TV?

Technically, Android TVs are Smart TVs only that they provide extra services that initial Smart TVs don’t have. For instance, the best Android TVs support internet connection and feature multiple built-in apps. In addition, like Android smartphones, you can directly install apps from the Google Play Store on an Android TV.

Better still, you can upgrade the TV’s operating systems and the pre-installed applications when new services are introduced. Because of this, more than 110 million people use Android TVs, and the number is likely to keep growing.

Similarities between a Smart TV and an Android TV

The introduction of Smart TVs revolutionized the TV industry when Digital TVs were all over. The new TVs came along with impressive features that kept improving yearly. Eventually, Smart TVs paved the way for Android TVs. 

1. Internet connectivity

The most obvious similarity is internet connectivity. Whether you have a Smart TV or Android TV, you can connect to the internet through wireless or Ethernet cable. This means you can browse through applications that require an internet connection. Some of these applications include Netflix, YouTube, and Prime Video. For both TVs, you might need an antenna to access local channels.

someone holding a remote and pointing to a smart tv
Image by Click on from Pixabay

2. Pre-installed Apps

Both Smart TVs and Android TVs come with installed applications like YouTube, Facebook, Google, and Netflix. These applications only require you to connect to the internet, set up, and enjoy the content.

Differences between a Smart TV and Android TV

Android TVs and Smart TVs have more differences than similarities. For starters, the Google interface is quite challenging to use, leading users to opt for the convenient Smart TV that is more straightforward. But there are more differences we can’t ignore. For instance:

1. Applications Variety

Android TVs can connect to the Google Play Store, which allows you to access thousands of applications just like an Android Smartphone. These apps are downloadable and optimized for operating on TV platforms. 

On the other hand, Smart TVs run on operating systems like WebOS and Tizen OS, which support a limited selection of applications. You cannot enjoy any other applications besides Netflix, YouTube, and Prime Video.

2. Updating operating systems

The Android TV beats the Smart TV because its operating systems and applications are upgradeable. Unlike Smart TV, Android TV developers keep pushing for application and streaming services improvement, which calls for frequent updates. Once the TV is connected to the internet, it automatically updates the applications and operating systems—something you do not get in Smart TVs.

3. Voice Assistant

Android TVs have a Google Assistant— a voice control service that improves the functionality of the TV. Think of Siri here. You can easily switch channels and command the voice assistant to search for programs and shows on the TV without using the remote. 

Smart TVs have an on-screen keyboard where you have to input your commands, which is irritating when using a remote.

4. Screen mirroring and casting

The built-in Google Chromecast and Google Assistant allow you to screen mirror applications directly from your Android smartphone to your Android TV. To achieve this on a Smart TV, you would need extra equipment, which is costly.

5. Navigation

Smart TVs are more interactive than Android TVs because anyone can operate them. Complexity is among the biggest disadvantages of Android TVs. You should be conversant with the Android operating system to understand how to navigate. Smart TVs perform better because they are faster than Android TVs, which is advantageous.

A smart tv set on a tv stand
Photo by Jens Kreuter on Unsplash

Which is better: Smart TV or Android TV

The best TVs in the electronics market are either Smart or Android TVs. A Smart TV that runs on a different operating system is preferable if you do not fancy the Android interface. This TV is better for individuals who prefer simplicity and convenience over extra services and applications.

If you are tech-savvy and can easily navigate an Android phone, you can smoothly operate an Android TV. This TV also allows you to access various applications available on Google Play Store. Moreover, these applications are frequently updated, making them more appealing than Smart TVs. 

So, if we were to pick between the two, an android TV would win hands down. Simply because you can do so much more with it than a Smart TV. Besides that:

  1. Android is a Google product that allows connection to Google Play Store, Google Music, and Google Movies.
  2. The frequent application updates allow you to enjoy new services and features without buying a new TV.
  3. An Android TV supports third-party streaming apps besides Netflix and Amazon prime that can be downloaded on the Google Play Store.
  4. Android TVs have voice control features that simplify control and navigation for individuals trying to learn the Android interface.
  5. You can manage your TV via your Android Smartphone and any device that supports Chromecast.

Smart TV or Android TV FAQs

1. Are there more Smart TVs than Android TVs?

Yes. Many manufacturers produce Smart TVs without the Android interface, and these TVs are available everywhere. On the other hand, only a few brands produce Android TVs, and some brands are not available in certain regions. As the trend keeps growing, more manufacturers are introducing newer TV models with Android OS.

2. Can a Smart TV run on Android OS?

Any Smart TV that runs on the Android OS is an Android TV. Smart TVs running on WebOS and Tizen OS cannot be classified as Android TVs because they do not support Google operations. Android TV applications can also be upgraded to the latest versions, while Smart TV apps cannot.

3. Can you download Apps on a Smart TV?

Yes, any TV with an operating system has apps available for download. The only difference is that Tizen OS and WebOS have limited application selections. This makes the Android TV a better option if you want variety. With an Android TV, you have access to more apps on the Google Store.

4. Can a Smart TV and Android TV work without an internet connection?

Yes, both smart and Android TV can run programs without internet connections. You can also play local media via a USB drive connected to the USB ports. Other applications like YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video, or any streaming platform will not work if you are offline. Ensure you have an internet connection if you want to use these apps.

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