Can this Google TV be the underdog in affordable big screen smart TV battles?

Published on Sep 23, 2022 02:02 PM IST

If you’re in the market for a big screen TV without having to part with a lot of your money, your choices would usually revolve around Android TVs from brands (better known for their smartphones) including Xiaomi and OnePlus

For representational purposes only.
For representational purposes only.

If you’re in the market for a big screen TV without having to part with a lot of your money, your choices would usually revolve around Android TVs from brands (better known for their smartphones) including Xiaomi and OnePlus. That is, if you are staying away from the clutter created by numerous unknown brands mostly residing on shopping websites. Most of them are deals too good to be true.

There could be a chance that your viable choices have suddenly widened. If you’ve heard of Skyworth (they also have the license to use the Toshiba brand in Asia), you may already know of another TV brand they have, called Coocaa. Having experienced their Metz line-up of TVs a few years ago and coming away impressed, expectations are inevitably building from a known baseline. For starters, it has set about differentiating itself from the Xiaomi(s) of the TV world with a newer operating system – Google TV instead of Android TV.

The Coocaa Google TV range has three screen sizes. The 43Y72 is priced at 26,999, the 55Y72 costs about 37,999 and the 65Y72 will set you back by 55,999. In comparison, the Xiaomi Mi TV 5X range stacks up as this – 43-inch option costs 31,999, the 50-inch TV for 40,999, while the top-of-the-line 55-inch screen option carries a sticker price of 46,999. There is no 65-inch variant.

There is no doubt then, that for every rupee you spend, the Coocaa Google TV options, complete with all the bells and whistles of 4K as well as the newest generation Google TV system, offer better viewing real estate. But that’s just half the picture (no pun intended).

Google TV is an evolution of Android TV, which has so far been Google’s premier smart TV platform. Arguably the most popular too, though Samsung and LG have remained the sizeable outliers. There are similarities you’ll encounter if you’ve already used Android TV at some point. Yet, the big difference is the recommendations push, which to be fair, can often get a bit out of hand (that’s Google’s headache, not Coocaa’s specifically).

Also Read:Best 32-inch TVs to enhance viewing experience

For instance, even if the TV doesn’t have the MX Player TV app installed, you may still see recommendations littered across sections on the home screen. That’s just one example. There are more such apps, and a greater need for Google to optimize it.

Nevertheless, back to the Coocaa 55Y72 Google TV, and this 55-inch LED panel is impressively bright. So much so, for home usage you’d really want to tone this down. Perhaps a tip for Coocaa here – the default settings can perhaps be less bright for starters. It just gets uncomfortable at some point. Do keep in mind, you’ll have to set the picture according to your preference for every different app (or source). Within the Google TV ecosystem as well, every single app has to be reconfigured for picture settings.

It is hard to figure out of this is a Google TV limitation or just how the Coocaa 55Y72 Google TV has been tuned, but either way, it is a bit of a time consuming setup process if you don’t wish the TV to look like something straight out a shop’s demo zone.

Once you do that, this direct LED panel does shine through quite well. The native brightness is a good thing to build on, and we realised that after a few hours of usage, colours also started to come into their own more than perhaps they were, just a few hours ago. This behaviour isn’t unique – we’ve seen it on affordable TVs before, perhaps linked with panel quality and predefined optimisations.

There is no local dimming on this panel, but the contrast(y) bit is still well taken care of. The sharpness of this display is one of the strong points, which also means you should tweak the noise cancellation settings for sources or apps you may use for Full HD or lower resolution content. Else, there may be artefacts or visible distortion around subject edges, for instance.

For the Ultra HD ecosystem, the Coocaa 55Y72 Google TV ticks off the high dynamic range (HDR) with HDR10+ and HLG formats but does miss out on Dolby Vision (the Xiaomi TV has that though; and that also has the advantage of having Dolby Atmos audio support too).

We rarely say this, but for once, the built-in TV speakers are loud enough without there being extreme compromises in terms of sound quality. The thickness of the chamber where the audio hardware resides may have something to do with it, but this is one of those few affordable TVs where you can just about avoid having to splurge more money on a soundbar.

On the aspect of sound, the HDMI ARC, or audio return channel feature, is a big miss; newer soundbars are easier to control and sound better, compared with an optical or coaxial audio.

In a nutshell, the Coocaa 55Y72 Google TV does seem to have a lot going for it. It isn’t bucking the trend of a few compromises sprinkled in for good measure, because that’s just how it is with affordable large screen TVs. The Xiaomi Mi TV 5X might have thought it has an undisputed run, but it doesn’t. This is a very viable option to consider, also because you’re saving some money in the process.


    Vishal Mathur is Technology Editor for Hindustan Times. When not making sense of technology, he often searches for an elusive analog space in a digital world.

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