TCL TVs to get Google TV upgrade this summer

The home screen of an Android TV streaming device running Google TV’s software. (Image courtesy Google, Graphic by The Desk)

TCL smart TVs that run the Android TV operating system will receive an upgrade to Google TV later this summer, a company executive confirmed on Tuesday.

Shalini Govil-Pai, a Google executive in charge of television platforms, confirmed the rollout during an appearance during an appearance at FierceVideo’s Stream TV Show conference on Tuesday.

Google TV is the company’s content and app recommendation software that sits on top of its smart television operating system Android TV. Google introduced Google TV last year with a new version of its Chromecast streaming dongle, which it calls the Chromecast with Google TV.

Since then, Google has slowly started offering updates of Android TV with Google TV to other hardware makers. Earlier this year, the software began appearing on Sony’s line of Bravia TV sets powered by Android TV, and Google promised Google TV would pop up in other places as time goes on.

TCL was a relatively obscure Chinese manufacturer of low-cost television sets when it decided to enter the American retail market several years ago. At that time, TCL forged a licensing deal with Roku that saw the manufacturer bake in Roku’s operating system into its smart TVs. Its Roku-powered TV sets coupled with its decision to partner with Walmart, Target and Best Buy helped TCL quickly become one of the best-selling smart TV brands in the United States.

TCL still offers Roku TVs for sale, but last year it also began offering smart TVs powered by Android TV, with those sets available to buy through TCL’s website and at Best Buy stores.

On Tuesday, Govil-Pai said TCL was among its biggest partners manufacturing smart TV sets with Android TV built in.

“TCL did launch with Android TV last year, and this year, very soon, they’ll launch with Google TV,” she said. “In fact, I think it’s going to happen in the next month or two, so we’re very excited to bring that choice to our existing TCL users.”

In addition to TCL and Sony, Android TV powers some smart TVs manufactured by Hisense, Philips, Sharp, JBL and BenQ.

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