TCL announced Friday that it has expanded its lineup of Roku-based smart TVs for North America with a pair of models featuring the Android TV operating system available now through Best Buy.

In recent years, the China-based manufacturer has been climbing up the U.S. TV market share rankings with its exclusive lineup of Roku TVs, although the company has sold televisions based on Google’s Android OS platforms in most other regional markets of the world including its domestic China.

TCL first started offering Roku TVs in United States in 2014, and has become the largest-selling brand of TVs based on the OS in the world. Interestingly, TCL has elected to sell the Android TVs for North America exclusively through Best Buy stores and are positioned at or close to opening price point televisions.

In a statement, TCL said it has elected to diversify its product lineup “to provide popular software options and allow consumers to enjoy more of the content they want, through the user experience they prefer… As the landscape for streaming grows, customer demands call for multiple choices and TCL’s platform agnostic product offerings are poised to answer those needs.”

TCL continues to make a full line of TCL Roku TV models offered though a broad retail distribution base. The Roku TVs include TCL’s popular 6- and 8-Series models that now feature mini-LED backlighting. The new TCL Android TVs are more traditional LED LCD TVs.

The addition of Android TV models isn’t surprising since TCL is a prominent manufacturer of other devices — including smartphones and tablets — based on the Android OS platform which will enable smoother connectivity, interoperability and convenience used together.

Some of the latest Android devices include TCL 10-Series value-centric smartphones featuring high-resolution screens enhanced by TCL’s NXTVISION visual technology, and quad rear-camera setup. The 10-Series models include the TCL 10 5G; the TCL 10 Pro, with a curved AMOLED display; and the TCL 10L.

“It is no secret that TCL’s rapid growth coincides with the increasing adoption of smart TVs, but this resounding success is largely due to our innovation, vertical integration, massive business scale and of course, strong relationships with partners like Roku,“ stated Chris Larson, TCL North America senior VP. “Our award-winning TV lineup helped propel us into America’s second-largest TV brand just five years after we introduced our products in the U.S. and with those significant achievements, we believe this is the perfect time to deliver another option for consumers with Android TV.”

“Since the first day TCL launched in North America, we’ve been focused on becoming one of the most popular TV brands by paying close attention to what our users value,” he continued. “Consumers desire options and our mission is to serve them with our latest multi-OS strategy. We’re excited to introduce new customers to TCL with our expanded television assortment and smart solutions in additional categories like TCL-branded home appliances, audio products and mobile phones – a broad offering that will further establish the company as a clear leader in the electronics space.”

TCL said its new Android TV lineup will be part of the TCL 3-Series, and will include the Android TV v. 9 OS. The models are based on 120 CMI panels (60Hz native refresh rate and an “effective” perceivable rate of 120 fps). The platform comes with Google Assistant voice control compatibility for both the TV and compatible smart home devices. The platform will enable searching for movies and television programs across apps using spoken commands. The TCL 3 Series Android TVs will be offered exclusively through Best Buy, the company said, and will include the 32- ($129.99 suggested retail) and 40-inch ($199.99) screen sizes, offering 720p and 1080p HD resolution levels, respectively. Both models will include two HDMI inputs and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity.

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The Android TV home screen is customizable for fast access to favorite apps, shows, and movies. Additionally, these TVs come equipped with a large selection of programs, live TV services and premium subscription apps including Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and the new HBO Max (the latter is still not part of the Roku or Fire TV libraries). The platform is also features built-in Chromecast that enables casting movies, shows, apps, games, and other content from mobile devices and laptops to the TV screen.

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By Greg Tarr

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