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…?

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  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

Published by
Dave Zatz