Sony has finally brought these televisions to India and that too at attractive pricing considering its utility. Android TVs are not cheap, but starting at Rs 69,900 for a 43-inch model they are certainly not unreasonably priced.
Our first impression is that Android TV has the ability to get many users out of the rigmarole that is Indian television and give them the content they want, when they want it. The concept of adding Google Search or an YouTube app by itself is not new and for some time there have been a lot of Android boxes and dongles that have been able to bring this ability to your screens. But it is the first time that a TV will be powered natively by Google’s Android TV concept which is not the same as adapting the mobile-first Android operating system for a larger screen.
Here are five impressions of the Sony Bravia KDL-50W950C Android TV:
1. This is all about Android: Android is at the core of this TV and we do not mean it is going to show apps like it does on smartphones and like it did on some older generation smart TVs. Here Android has been thought of and designed ground up for a large screen experience. This Android realises that the remote might not be the best input device and offers voice controls upfront. And the beauty is that they work wonderfully well.
2. Who needs Live TV? Ask the TV to play a video from YouTube, and provided you have a decent (8mbps+) broadband connection, the visuals that are better than what your regular cable guy or DTH beams in at the moment. The TV natively shows only content that you will like watching on this large Full HD screen and that is a pleasure to watch.
Of course, you can search for and watch content that is maybe 480p, but will you? There is access to Google Movies and you can buy and watch high-definition titles from the Play Store. The OS has been customised for the Indian audience and this means access to the Serial AbTak app that lists most popular soaps and shows from Indian channels.
3. Now, that is a remote: The Bravia Android TV touchpad remote has been designed for an environment where you will need to swipe and click more that enter channel numbers. This is an easy way to navigate the Android interface of the TV and even though there is a traditional remove in the box you will not be using it much. Plus, there is the option to connect your smartphone or tablet to the TV and use it as the main input device.
4. Full smart TV: This is a smart television in every sense of the term, but being Android it does not have to tout that bit — smartness is implied in Android. So it lets you add apps, set favourite shows, toggle between multiple sources, mirror or stream content of all types from other smart devices and even play in 3D.
5. Audio and video quality: The TV comes with a FullHD 1080p TRILUMINOS display powered by Sony’s X-Reality PRO Picture Engine and it shows. Even with Internet streamed content the experience is really good. However, play something that is not at least 720p and you will not really enjoy it on this display. The TV comes with two 10w speakers and an additional Dual Acoustic Duct Subwoofer which adds a lot of depth to anything that you play on it. This is one of the best sounding televisions around, certainly at this price range. No, you will not need to invest in an extra soundbar with this one.
Stay tuned for a full review in the coming weeks.