TCL's first Google TV models may be arriving as soon as August of this year, according to comments from a recent interview with a Google executive. We've known for some time that TCL is prepping its first smart TVs with the new Google smart TV software, but this is the first we've heard about when those sets will reach the market.
As reported by TheStreamable (via 9to5Google), Shalina Govil-Pai, VP of Android TV and Google TV, spoke about the future of Google TV and Google's streaming TV plans in an interview as part of the StreamTV Show 2021 this week.
Editor's Note: June 22, 2021 TCL responded to our request for comment, and we have updated the story below to reflect the new information.
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During this interview Govil-Pai mentioned specifically that TCL will be launching a Google TV Smart TV set "within the next two months."
Given that TCL has already announced that it's Android offerings will be shifting to Google TV as new models launch later this year, this announcement doesn't come as a giant surprise.
When we reached out to TCL for comment, they told us that there are plans to introduce Google TV models later this year and that they "expect to release more details in the next couple months." While that's not a firm confirmation about the timing, it's probably as close as we're going to get until the new Google TV models are officially announced.
Google TV is the next iteration of Google's smart TV operating system, building on top of the foundation of Android TV. It will add more intuitive navigation, a greater emphasis on content rather than apps and generally improving the Android TV experience with an enhanced user interface. Over the next couple of years, everything will be shifting from Android TV to Google TV, both in the smart TV space, but also streaming devices.
Sony TVs featuring the Google TV platform have already brought the new Android replacement to market, but we expect more Google TV models to arrive as we approach the holiday season later this year.
TCL is best known in the United States for its range of affordable Roku TVs, as well as above average quality for value priced televisions. The expansion into Android TV started in June of 2020, but has been a relatively small part of TCL's smart TV offerings. However, another recent TCL announcement — that the TCL XL Collection would include an 85-inch 8K TV from TCL may not be using the Roku TV platform — suggests that TCL's future may not be as closely wedded to Roku's fortunes as some might assume.
And it's not the first surprise from TCL recently. Earlier this year, the company announced the introduction of the TCL XL Collection, a range of 85-inch 4K and 8K TVs, and a European press conference let details slip about a possible TCL OLED TV that may be in development.