Android TV looks set for a bright future, as long as Google doesn't do a Google

Good news in general for the smart TV industry

Android TV
(Image credit: Google)

Good news for one of Google’s products, Android TV has been enjoying some significant gains in the smart TV market. That’s in spite of some earlier setbacks, including my parents' Sony TV which used the platform, and was an absolute disaster. 

As is typical for Google, it has added some unnecessary confusion to the market. Android TV is the underlying platform, but it’s also launched Google TV which is basically an app in its own right that ties in a number of other services, like smart recommendations using artificial intelligence. This means that it now has Google TV and Android TV but the two don’t compete. Google always does this sort of thing, which is why it has somewhere between two and 356 messaging apps on the market at any given time. 

It’s Google’s general support for products that make me worry long term. We’ve seen it launch numerous things over the years that simply haven’t lasted. It appears, from the outside, that it isn’t good at sticking with things, preferring the corporate dopamine hit of announcing some sexy new thing, before cancelling it shortly after. 

But that aside, the figures are impressive. Half of all the TVs sold in the world will have smart features by 2026, according to FlatPanelsHD. By that same point, the US will have adoption of 90% and Europe over 80%. Right now global adoption is a shade under 40%, with the US currently at 70% and Europe at around 65%. Android TV on its own will reach 25% by 2026 according to some figures

Android TV and it’s premium overlay Google TV, are clearly needed by the market. For many manufacturers developing a new platform and then getting streaming companies to support it would be a mountain too high to scale. So turning to Google and using Android apps on your TV makes a lot of sense. 

While Samsung and LG have both invested in their own smart tv platforms, companies like Sony simply haven’t seemed interested in the enormity of the task. Sony may have been hurt somewhat by early crappy implementations of Android TV, which really were a nightmare. But it looks like things have settled a bit now and have helped boost Android TV to new heights. 

Amazon also participates in this market, and while some people don’t like it, I think FireTV equipped sets from the likes of JVC are actually decent. They’re often amazing value propositions, giving access to the major streaming apps on a TV that costs just a few hundred quid.

Ian has been involved in technology journalism since 2007, originally writing about AV hardware back when LCDs and plasma TVs were just gaining popularity. Nearly 15 years on, he remains as excited about how tech can make your life better.