TCL’s Google TV lineup pulled from stores due to performance problems

TCL’s Google TV lineup pulled from stores due to performance problems

Most of TCL’s smart TVs run the Roku operating system, but the company has been slowly expanding its options for the best Android TVs. Earlier this year, TCL revealed it would start selling smart TVs running Google TV, the same software package found on the Chromecast with Google TV. The first models with Google TV arrived in Best Buy stores recently, but now they are being pulled.

The new lineup of TVs first went on sale in August, exclusively at Best Buy, with four models available: 50-inch (50S546), 55-inch (55S546), 65-inch (65S546) and 75inch (75S546). Those listings have now been removed, and TCL confirmed to 9to5Google they were pulled due to performance and software issues. Below is the company’s full statement.

TCL is committed to delivering premium products with world-class experiences and the new product featuring Google TV is certainly no different. However, it has come to our attention that some are facing challenges with the stability of the user interface featured on TCL sets with Google TV. Our high-performance TVs are constantly evolving and recent software updates have allowed us to make significant progress, but we are continuing to refine our products featuring Google TV. Our customers will see marked improvements in the weeks to come and their patience is appreciated.

The TVs weren’t available for long, but they had received mixed reviews about performance from buyers. An archived version of the 50-inch model product page has several reviews mentioning responsiveness problems, including “the Google interface is a bit choppy and laggy,” “the on and off command on remote is delayed,” and “my old S405 TCL with Roku runs circles around this interface.” One review points out a specific problem with the latest update:

Google TV user interface was fine until it updated to latest firmware: Software Ver: V8-R51MT05-LF1V173.020128 which made slower afterwards, hard resetting the TV by turning it off -holding the power button for 15 seconds-then choose reset option fixed this, but OS is still glitchy sometimes with the settings button not working when depressed every now and then. Live OTA TV guide lags and does not propagate info sometimes also. I’m sure TCL with address these bugs in future firmware updates.

9to5Google reports that it was in the process of publishing reviews for the new TV lineup, but was running into issues with the remote, sluggish performance, and other problems. Earlier reviews, presumably published before software updates started rolling in, were mostly positive — Tom’s Guide gave the TVs 4.5/5 stars, and PCMag gave them the same rating.

Here’s hoping TCL can get a software update out soon to fix the software issues, so everyone who already bought one of the TVs isn’t left with a super-slow experience.

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Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport

Corbin is a tech journalist and software developer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. He's also the host of the Tech Tales podcast, which explores the history of the technology industry. Follow him on Twitter at @corbindavenport.