The Android TV Interface Has Been Compromised

While Nvidia Shield TV gets the bulk of the attention, and rightfully so, there are a number of other Android TV products out there… including quite a few Sony televisions. And our very own Joel Ward was treated to a rather unpleasant update.

Both Joel’s Sony 2016 800D 43″ and 2017 900E 65″ televisions, running Android TV 8.0, have been hit with a rather obtrusive sponsorship banner smack dab in the middle of the interface. Further, as you can see below, there is no option to disable this Fire TV-esque monstrosity.

Of course, he won’t be tossing his sets any time soon due to these Android TV ads as he remains quite fond of the native apps, including accessing his HDHomeRun DVR directly from the television. But Apple remains the last man standing for a relatively ad-free streaming experience. Until the premium AppleTV+ subscription service launches, anyway…?

10 thoughts on “The Android TV Interface Has Been Compromised”

  1. Well, the Sony 900 series was the highest on my list of my next new tv set. I guess that’s that then. No way I’ll deal with that crap.

    WTH is wrong with these manufacturers? Don’t they already have nearly all the money in the world already?

  2. In their defense, it’s pretty awesome a 2016 TV is still getting updates. Not many are doing that (although my TCL Roku TVs do). Also, Android TV has better offerings and a more usable interface, even when sullied by ads, than my Vizio. But this is the way of the world. Even my recently unloaded 2011 Panasonic plasma had all sorts of garage ads, including video, within their app platform.

  3. I am still fully into Android TV, even with this. The other options are not as complete. FireTV is growing on me but the UI is too cluttered. Sony has pushed out updates semi-regularly and has updated many (though not all) 2016-2018 TVs to Android 8.0 recently. I like the 8.0 UI very much, and except for this glaring omission the UI is fairly customizable.

    I use HDHomeRun Prime and the network DVR (not Plex) and that actually works pretty well on Android TV on the Sony TVs, including encrypted channels on FiOS–except for recording encrypted channels which is still not available in HDHomeRun DVR. Live TV, including pausing, works great, and recorded non-encrypted channels work well via the DVR on my NAS.

    All other apps we need are available on Android TV and it has built in Chromecast for anything that’s not native. What else do we need? Nothing…and we are almost ready to send back the FiOS cable boxes and go totally set-top-box-less.

  4. The reality for major TV manufacturers is profit margins are slim-to-non-existent. With the incredible pricing available on very solid TV’s from store-brand and second-tier manufacturers the revenue provided by UI-based advertising might make the difference between Sony remaining in the mainstream TV market or them only providing prosumer and high-end products.

  5. I’m assuming that there’s no way to relocate the sponsored banner down below all the other app “channels” that I rarely scroll to? That would be too easy a solution.

  6. I wonder if you can simply BLOCK the IP address(es) in your router, for the incoming ads?

    I would bet that’s doable.

  7. What? And the Rokuist ads sucking up the right side real estate aren’t monstrous? I’ve found the Roku display with ads “offensive.” At least on Fire TV they are promotions for content rather then the Roku useless “Fuller Brush” junk ads. Oh, and I’m also still angry as Slingbox because of ads that never appear in Full Screen mode, nor do they appear when I resize the Sling Player window, and I am livid that ads NEVER EVER appear when I use my Sling Player to watch on a big TV at a remote location nor do ads ever appear when I watch on mobile devices such as my phone and tablets, and this is all on the FREE version of the SlingPlayer, yet I accept ads on YouTube that pre-roll ads, sometimes with NO option to skip, and I love how YouTube INTERRUPTS a video to stick an ad in with NO option to skip it. If only Slingbox could be so YouTube “Uber offensive,” I might like it as much as I like the Fire TV’s interface, but how dare Slingbox bring back the paid version if I find the most often never displayed ads ins proper viewing mode annoying.

    If I sound closed minded because I still refuse to use the far superior NO content blocked Slingbox at length to discover that ads are not a problem, yet prefer the ultra content blocking TiVo app with its Ice Age pace of transfers (Dish allows for the user to have the DVR automatically perform the trans-coding to take place immediately after completing the DVR recording, so subsequent transfers take almost no time at all), well, I like waiting a long time to transfer a few TV shows; it relaxes me and forces me to slow down in life and stew about the ads. And I can’t abide the Fire Recast for the simple reason it is from Amazon, and you know my problem with them, and to all those people who said I was “wrong” or “unfair,” about the Recast: well let me be clear: I was FAIR. What I was NOT was UN-biased nor NOT-prejudiced. We are all biased and prejudiced. I just choose to show it a lot more than what FAIRNESS would require.

    So, I’m going back to my no ads at all Roku, my highly restrictive and SLOW to transfer programs TiVo app and my Epsom salt bath before the nurses come to wheel me to the dining room for dinner meal-time, and the Del Rubio Sisters (Triplets) are performing during dessert–and NO ADS during the performance.

  8. Ads are the Cancer of the internet age. This is yet another greedy grab by the big data. I would not mind paying for an ad free environment but….no one makes it. Not gonna buy Android TV device if this does not stop.

  9. I have yet to notice anything with my SHield TVs. But I only access the first row. I’ve read that the ads are somewhere below that.

  10. It’s the same with my FireTVs. I only access the top row and don;t notice any ads. And I don’t notice them on my Rokus either.
    I either go to the app I want and select it or I’m using a shortcut to the app from my Harmony remote.

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