Chinese electronics company TCL has begun shipping 4K/UHD-capable smart TVs based on the Android TV operating system to the U.S., adding to sub-$200 MSRP HD Android TV sets that were introduced over the summer.
As first noticed by 9to5Google, TCL has introduced its 4 series model sets in 50-, 55- and 75-inch configurations, priced respectively at $349, $399 and $799, exclusively at Best Buy. A 43-inch 4K/UHD Android TV iteration, priced at $199, has been introduced to Target shoppers.
TCL is currently the second biggest shipper of smart TV to the U.S., controlling 14% of the market vs. 32% for leader Samsung, according to Statista figures released in September.
TCL has risen to that position based on popular low-priced TVs based on the Roku operating system. But in June, the manufacturer began also shipping sets based on Android TV.
Until last month, those sets were 3-series iterations with HD resolution and fewer features (the more expensive 4K/UHD sets have three HDMI ports, for example).
TCL’s 3-series Android TV-powered HD options include a 32-inch, 720p set priced at only $130, and a 40-inch 1080p model priced at $200.
TCL hasn’t published any sales data on its Android TV product line. But as 9to5Google noted, Best Buy reviews of the more established 3-series sets have been as enthusiastic as the positively received Roku models.
Google has had some success proliferating its Android TV OS into the homes of pay TV operator subscribers. And it has become a popular licensed OS for streaming device makers including Nvidia, TiVo and Dish Network’s AirTV.
Google is now in the process of trying to rebrand Android TV—it’s now marketing a new Chromecast dongle based on the OS, which it now calls “Google TV.”
The hope is that Google TV can one day compete for global market share alongside more established brands including Roku and Amazon Fire TV.
Establishing a beach head with major smart TV brands is a vital step towards achieving that goal.
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. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!
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