What is an Android TV? | Smart TV vs. Android TV

Those shopping for a new display may wonder what an Android TV is. Most televisions sold now are Smart TVs, but certain brands and models present themselves as Android TVs. Given all the marketing slogans thrown at buyers shopping for televisions, many wonder what the difference is between the two terms.

What is an Android TV?

Android TV interface1

Despite the branding, Android TV is just another type of Smart TV operating system. Televisions equipped with Android TV typically have a home screen, which gives access to popular streaming apps and other useful programs. One of the advantages of Android TV is that users have access to the Google Play Store and can sideload programs not found on the store. This gives users a huge variety of applications that can be installed and used on their TVs.

The OS was first released in 2010 as Google TV. Development on Google TV was stopped in 2013, and a year later, its replacement, Android TV, launched.

Android TV is one of the most popular smart TV OSes, and the following major companies currently use it on at least some of their products:

  • Asus
  • DirecTV
  • Dish
  • Hisense
  • LG
  • NVIDIA
  • Philips
  • RCA
  • Sharp
  • Sony
  • TCL
  • Technicolor
  • Toshiba
  • Westinghouse
  • Xiaomi

Additionally, there are a considerable amount of set-top boxes that use Android TV.

However, not all the manufacturers above utilize Android TV. LG, for example, uses WebOS on its high-end OLED line. Android TV might be going under a different name soon as well. The Google TV brand is being revived as a frontend for Android TV, which looks similar to the Apple TV interface. So, those purchasing a smart TV soon may see them branded as being powered by Google TV instead of Android TV.

There are too many smart TV OSes to compare to Android TV in this article. However, in general, there is no difference between a smart TV and an Android TV because an Android TV is a smart TV.