Sony TVs drops YouTube

Smart TVs look like a great idea, but they have a se­ri­ous down­side, re­veals Ian Paul

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If ever there was a cau­tion­ary tale about why it’s a bad idea to buy Smart TVs, this is it. Sony has pulled the YouTube app from 50 dif­fer­ent 2012 Bravia TV mod­els.

The rea­son for this loss is due to the sets hard­ware lim­i­ta­tions fol­low­ing a change to YouTube’s spec­i­fi­ca­tions. Google an­nounced in Au­gust that the video-shar­ing ser­vice would be mov­ing all its traf­fic to https and warned that it’s phas­ing out in­se­cure con­nec­tions, which means some de­vices would lose ac­cess to YouTube.

Sam­sung users of the af­fected Bravia TVs re­cently started com­plain­ing of freez­ing is­sues, black screens and er­ror mes­sages when us­ing YouTube. It ap­pears the https switch may be the cause of these is­sues, though Sony has not con­firmed this. You can find a com­plete list of Bravia mod­els af­fected by this change on Sony’s sup­port site (tinyurl.com/zp6c6bt), which in­cludes tele­vi­sions rang­ing in sizes from 20- to 89 inches.

In our opin­ion Smart TVs are gen­er­ally a bad buy. While those apps look en­tic­ing, they are re­stricted by the ex­pen­sive hard­ware that runs them and tele­vi­sions are of­ten lower down the pri­or­ity list for up­dates by app de­vel­op­ers. Ac­ces­sories such as an Ap­ple TV, Chrome­cast or Roku, how­ever, don’t cost that much and are eas­ily re­place­able once they fail or also hit the lim­its of their in­ter­nal ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Sony’s 2012 TVs are only the lat­est vic­tims of YouTube’s mod­erni­sa­tion. The orig­i­nal iPad and any other de­vice older than the iPhone 4 lost ac­cess to YouTube in 2015 af­ter the site shut down its older de­vel­oper pro­gram­ming tools.

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