An­droid TV & smarts

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The A1’s smart func­tion­al­ity is run from the tra­di­tional re­mote con­trol. There are ded­i­cated but­tons for Net­flix and Google play, while the poorly-po­si­tioned Home but­ton (surely it should be top cen­tre) brings up the An­droid TV in­ter­face.

We’re be­com­ing in­creas­ingly en­am­oured of An­droid TV — for one thing, it pro­vides op­er­a­tional fa­mil­iar­ity across the brands that use it. Once pop­u­lated and set­tled in, it was as in­tu­itive as An­droid TV al­ways is (it was a bit slow dur­ing its first hours), with rows of con­tent and apps, all the usual sus­pects plus some Sony spe­cials. You can re­name in­puts to your pref­er­ence. We used Play store to down­load Spo­tify and VLC. We streamed from our 20,000 songs on Google play mu­sic, and we signed in to Stan to watch the last episodes of TwinPeaks, and how those black blacks paid div­i­dends in the film noir sec­tions, and the red cur­tains so red! We also binged through the A1’s spec­tac­u­lar por­trayal of Game of Thrones.

Con­nected cast­ing was less suc­cess­ful — there’s a Chrome­cast Ul­tra in there, but we had trou­ble ad­dress­ing it from a Google Home, ini­tially be­cause its de­fault cast name was “KD65A1” (we changed it to ‘Sony’), and partly be­cause when we said, say, ‘Play Led Zep­pelin on YouTube on the Sony’ the in­struc­tion was cor­rectly in­ter­preted by Google’s data farms in Amer­ica, the TV flick­ered into recog­ni­tion, but then “Sorry some­thing went wrong”, said our Google Home. Given the jour­ney, who knows what.

The re­mote also has Google As­sis­tant voice con­trol, but it lacks con­text. Say “Open the SBS on De­mand app” and it searches Google for SBS on De­mand. If you’re al­ready in YouTube and you say “Play Led Zep­pelin” it re­opens YouTube and signs in again, not re­al­is­ing it was al­ready open. Smart, yet dim. There’s no MHL sup­port here, but Mira­cast screen mir­ror­ing is sup­ported.

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