Android-based smart TVs are currently seeing a slew of launches and robust sales, thanks to the variety of low-cost options available. E-commerce major Flipkart told BusinessLine that smart TV sales contribute to 90 per cent of the overall television sales on the platform.
Latest Android-based smart TVs give consumers the option of downloading OTT apps such as Netflix from the Android TV Google Play Store. A lot of brands also forge partnerships with such OTT players to have their apps pre-installed on their TVs with other features like a dedicated button for the app on a remote.
“Another key factor that has contributed to this tremendous growth is the access to improved global and regional content on their Smart TV, with apps like Netflix, Hotstar, YouTube, Spotify, Zee5, and Sony LIV among others,” Ajay Yadav, Senior Vice President, Mobiles and Large Appliances, Flipkart, said.
However, Amazon’s Prime Video app is not available to download on the Android TV Play Store for various brands, and Prime Video subscribers are forced to look at other options, such as buying an Amazon Fire TV stick despite having a smart TV, to be able to watch their favourite programmes on their TV screens.
“We have another regular TV with a (Amazon) Fire Stick so we watch Amazon Prime in that,” Meghana Sumesh, a Chennai-based consumer, said. She added that it was “quite a surprise” that the app wasn’t available for download on the Android TV Play Store.
Fire Stick selling well
Amazon Fire TV stick, a connected add-on device that lets users stream content from a variety of OTT platforms, reportedly sold almost one million units in India over the past two years.
An e-mailed query on the Fire TV Stick to Amazon was unanswered till the time of publication. On reaching out to the company on Twitter about the availability of the app, its ‘Amazon Help’ handle responded with a link to the list of devices the app is currently available on. These include TVs from companies such as Samsung, Sony, LG, Philips, Panasonic, etc.
Yadav said that the top brands for smart TVs on Flipkart are Mi (Xiaomi), Vu, Sony, Thomson, and iFFALCON, by TCL. Mi TVs don’t have Amazon or Netflix and the company had earlier told BusinessLine that there were unexpected delays and that it needed certification from Netflix and Amazon. TCL in April had confirmed that it was working with Amazon on a range of TVs with the Prime Video app and Alexa built-in.
Sarang Puri, a Mi TV user, had to purchase a Fire TV stick despite the TV being a smart TV. “Mi’s ecosystem has Hotstar and Youtube, Prime (Fire TV Stick) has Netflix and Prime,” said Puri.
However, older Android-based TV models, which run on dated Android versions and have the Google Play Store (like the one on smartphones, according to users), can get the Prime Video App. Suvil Susvirkar, who uses an Android 4.4 version TV sold by Cloudwalker, downloaded the app from the Google Play Store.
“I don’t have a smart TV play store. I have got the Google Play Store,” Susvirkar said, adding that he has not received any software update for his TV and that it is still running Android version 4.4.2.
Casting on Chromecast lets users share content from their mobile screens to their TVs using WiFi and a lot of Google-certified Android TVs, which are seeing robust sales, have this feature built-in. But the Amazon Prime Video app does not have the casting function, which other apps like Netflix, Hotstar, and Sony Liv do. This was confirmed by Amazon when contacted on Twitter.
For now, it looks like Prime Video consumers will have to purchase TVs that are compatible with the app or connect laptops to their TVs for their viewing.
Source: The Hindu