Best Buy pulls Google TCL TVs amid complaints of slow, buggy software

At the end of the summer, TCL announced an upgraded version of its premium 6-series TV. Apart from some technical improvements – the new set fully supports both HDMI 2.1 and 4K games at 120Hz – the The biggest change was in software, with the latest Series 6 running Google TV instead of the Roku operating system that shipped on many of the more popular TCL bundles in the United States. The company has already launched Android TV powered TVs internationally and on a few economy models in North America, but the 2021 Series 6 was meant to be a combined showcase for TCL hardware and Google software.

So far, it doesn’t work that way, and things aren’t going as well as TCL might have hoped. Best Buy, the exclusive U.S. Google TV retailer TCL, abruptly removed both models from its store listings, and TCL confirms The edge that there are issues being resolved.

Some of the early buyers of the 6 Series with Google TV (Model R646) have complained about what they describe as a buggy, slow user interface. I’ve reviewed a 65-inch model myself over the past couple of weeks, and while the Google TV home screen seems to be working relatively well, it didn’t take long for me to notice some general slowness when starting up and checking parameters. menu. There may also be a delay before the TV responds to commands from the remote. My roommates have observed app crashes and a few instances where the TV itself freezes and becomes unresponsive. Some online reviews cite more annoying issues that require you to completely unplug the TV.

Similar criticisms have also been leveled at Series 5 with Google TV; Caleb at Digital trends found their review unit to be slow and encountered several bugs.

This Reddit thread about Series 5 with Google TV also applies to Series 6.

TCL has already deployed several software updates intended to improve performance and stability. “Our priority is to deliver an optimized user experience with Google TV and to have a schedule of scheduled software updates for TCL devices,” said TCL spokesperson Rachelle Parks. The edge End of november. Some of those updates appear to have made a positive difference, and Parks told us in a statement Thursday that “customers will see marked improvements in the coming weeks.”

But as of this week, Best Buy has removed both of these models from its store listings. TCL website has a link to Best Buy that no longer works. Before removal, the 65 inch 6 series that I am testing had an average rating of 3.5 stars. Many reviews praise the image quality of the panel and the Mini LED, but list the issues with the software.

TCL confirmed to The edge that he is aware that “some are facing UI stability issues” and yet the company expects these TVs to be “available again in the coming weeks.”

While TCL is familiar with Android TV, the Google TV software experience is new territory for the company and obviously struggling at this early stage. Hope a lot of performance issues can be fixed with more updates; it really is a fantastic TV, with tremendous peak brightness and excellent contrast thanks to that Mini LED backlight. But that’s not where it needs to be right now.

I actually went ahead and plugged an Apple TV 4K into one of the HDMI ports just to avoid sluggishness and jerking. Streaming devices are a great way to speed up budget TVs, but they shouldn’t be a necessary dressing for a TV with an MSRP over $ 1,000.

The edge contacted Best Buy for details. It could be a supply shortage situation (although it’s odd that the pages disappear completely in this case), or maybe TCL is picking up a pace to assess the next steps for its new Google TVs to reverse their reputation. buggy.

Update December 9 at 8:28 p.m. ET: Added information from TCL on software updates and availability.

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