Sound+Image

Smart Stuff

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Setting up the smart stu proves especially simple if you already have a Google account. The TV generated a code number to enter into a website using a computer on the same network, and then you just press the enter key a couple of times for permission­s.

While powered by Android, the actual Androidy stu is thoroughly hidden. The Home screen is organised more or less as a traditiona­l smart TV screen, with blocks of content and controls grouped together by function. Many apps are included by default — Netflix, YouTube, Google play Music and so on. But many, many more are available through the Google play store. This isn’t the whole shebang, but a relatively limited range of apps that work well with a TV, mostly such things as media players, games, and various specialise­d streaming sources (including lots of news and sports ones). Most are free, but there are a number of paid ones (you pay via your Google account). There are also a few utilities, such as ES File Explorer, which is (or ought to be) known to most Android users.

The supplied Music, Photo and Video apps did a nice job playing back most of my content, both from USB and more importantl­y served up by my DLNA network. Music happily did FLAC up to 192kHz (although not DSD, notwithsta­nding this being a Sony TV). The Video app ran the usual files, including UHD content encoded in H.264 and, importantl­y, H.265 (the codec of the future). The photo app displayed photos at full UHD resolution, including with 4:4:4 colour resolution, without bottleneck­ing the material. At least it did with JPEG… it only gave a weird, low resolution display with PNG content.

The TV operates happily as a DLNA renderer for music, videos and photos. And also as a Google Cast receiver without the need for adding a Chromecast unit. (That’s one advantage of using Google Android as your OS.) With Google Cast you can display tabs from a Chrome browser, and send YouTube videos to the TV, from any network-connected computer.

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