Giving another indicator that it wants to starting seeing other streaming OS makers, noted Roku smart TV OEM partner TCL has launched a new $80 HD camera specifically designed for its Android TV and Google TV product lines.
TCL said the launch of its provocatively named Full HD USB Camera (full spec sheet here), coincides with the launch last week of new iterations of its 5-Series and 6-Series smart TVs, which had previously been available only in Roku flavor, but are now powered by the new Google TV operating system, as well.
Connecting to the TCL smart TV via USB, the camera lets users videoconference with up to 32 people, activating Google's Duo conferencing app via Google Assistant voice command by merely stating, "Hey Google, open Duo."
For now, TCL is selling the camera only as an add-on.
As Roku likes to not, its operating system is "purpose built" for streaming, making it more cost-effective for smart TV makers to proliferate its OS. But in this case, the smart TV maker seems to have found a use for Google's more robust Android TV platform, as well as the recently introduced Google TV search and recommendation overlay.
For its part, TCL has stressed recently that it isn't abandoning Roku, with which it just launched an aggressive European partnership expansion.
Rather, TCL claims that it sees, down the road, the smart TV OS business distilling to just Google TV and Roku, leaving powerful competitors like Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Tizen and LG webOS in the dust.
Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. His reliable mid-range jump shot, deft ambidextrous post-up game and tough interior defense have been criminally overlooked.
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