Hands on with a Philips Android TV System 2015
Last year Philips attempted to accelerate a Smart TV arsenal by introducing
Android TV to some of a 2014 TV range. None of these Android TVs found
their proceed to UK shores, nonetheless that competence have been for a best – they used
a old-fashioned Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, definition a TV knowledge they
delivered wasn’t all it competence have been.
Thankfully Philips is
getting many some-more critical with Android in 2015. For starters it’s moving
to a new 5.0 Lollipop flavour, that is distant some-more television-friendly
than a prior version. Also, Android is now accessible opposite a much
wider preference of Philips’ new TVs than before – 80% of a latest
range, in fact.
We took an early demeanour during some of these new Philips Android TVs during a launch eventuality in Barcelona…
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initial thing that struck us during a time with a new TVs was how
much some-more bid Philips has put into foregrounding a Android
experience. There’s now a dedicated symbol on a remote control, and
this immediately opens a same Home Android menu shade informed to
users of other Android devices, including Sony’s arriving TVs.
menu is many cleaner looking and improved organized than Philips’
previous Android attempt. It’s organized in supposed shelves that you
can corkscrew along horizontally, with a tip shelf display recommended
content. These recommendations can come from any app that chooses to
support them, such as YouTube, Google, and video apps like MaxFilm.
Netflix has opted out for now, though, as it prefers to use a own
It’s value adding that the
Recommendations shelf will usually underline calm suggested by apps you’ve
commissioned on your TV, so we won’t find yourself clicking on a link
only to be presented with a “you need to download a app first”
The second shelf down is a Philips TV shelf. This
shows links to things Philips thinks we competence like, such as new apps or
popular apps we competence not have downloaded yet. It’s easy to imagine
this forward into a saved promotion shelf, nonetheless Philips assures
us it intends to provide it instead as a means of assisting we enhance your
experience. During a hands-on, for instance, a shelf was suggesting
that we attempted out a new Spotify app – something we competence not have
realised was available, nonetheless that we competence good wish to use.
Below these dual tip shelves are a app store, diversion and Setting shelves, that do accurately as you’d expect.
thing that feels like it’s blank from this shelf list is an easy way
of accessing and tracking TV promote content. Instead, Philips has
added a apart TV menu – accessed around another dedicated remote control
symbol – that lets we apart TV shows into specific forms and
genres. It’s usually not as orderly integrated as it is on some opposition Smart
TV offerings, such as LG’s webOS 2.0, Samsung’s Tizen-based complement and, to some extent, Panasonic’s Firefox OS-driven My Home Screen 2.0, that all provide promote calm as apps.
reduction of a Android home shade is that it doesn’t permit
customisation. So, for instance, we can’t set adult your possess personalised
shelf containing usually links to your favourite apps. Nor can we tailor
the home page in any proceed – even a recommendations shelves – for
individual members of your family, say. The same home page greets all
who entrance it, and a recommendations finished cover a progression of show
types watched by everybody in your household. Though fans of “mature”
content will be gratified to note that a recommendations list is time
sensitive, and so won’t advise component that’s not suitable for
children forward of a watershed…
Obviously we have to concede the
TV to share your observation robe information with Philips’ servers if we want
the recommendations complement to work effectively. If we don’t, this shelf
will usually be means to uncover calm that’s generally renouned in your
behind into some-more certain territory, Android supports
multitasking, enabling we to have mixed apps running
simultaneously. In fact, a multi-view choice lets we indeed see two
at once. Plus there’s “hot-swapping”, so that if we switch from one app – YouTube, for instance – to another and afterwards go behind to a strange one, it
will collect adult that initial app where we left it.
Android opens adult a few additional control options too. There’s now a
mic built into a newly designed remote control to support voice
recognition, and Google Cast support for extended control and calm pity with other Android devices.
Philips intelligent remote also facilities a swipeable area, so we can pierce around
the menus and built-in browser some-more fast yet carrying to use a
normal set of up, down, left and right buttons.
disappointed to note, though, that a new Philips Android TVs don’t
support giveaway floating indicate control – in other words, we can’t use the
same rarely effective “point and click” proceed probable with TVs from
LG and, some-more recently, Samsung. This is since a Android platform
doesn’t support indicate and click, not since Philips didn’t wish to
offer it as a control option.
Also, a remote’s appropriate pad and voice control options are usually accessible on the
relatively high-end 7000 array models in Philips’ new range. You don’t
get a intelligent remote on a 6000 array or below.
Given a huge
amount of apps accessible on a Android platform, any Android TV is
going to have to come versed with some storage. Most of
Philips’ new Android sets give we 8GB of inner memory, while the
7000 array doubles this to 16GB. However, given that a cube of this
memory – as many as 4GB – is eaten adult by a mandate of a OS, and
some of a games we can download from a Google Play store come in at
5GB each, it’s good to know that we can enhance a accessible memory via
of a many critical things about a new Android Lollipop complement on
the latest Philips TVs is a proceed it can automatically frame out apps
that usually wouldn’t work on a TV for graphical or control
reasons. So we get distant fewer apps in a Android TV
environment than we do by phones and tablets. However, we still get a really considerable series of apps by
typical Smart TV standards – and vastly some-more than Philips charity by a exclusive Smart system.
You can by-pass Android TV’s app screening routine by “sideloading” .mpk app files if we wish –
though it’s tough to suppose many resources where this would be a
particularly good idea.
Clearly both Philips and Google will be
hoping that app developers will start to work on destiny apps with TV in mind – and indeed, there are already some earnest signs
that this competence be a case. For instance, Philips positive us that
although there’s no Netflix or Amazon UHD streaming support currently
available for Android Lollipop TVs, they’re awaiting these apps to appear
by a summer. Philips also announced new
relationships with Electronic Arts and Gameloft, who are bustling optimising
some of their many renouned games for use on a Android TV platform.
new diversion support comes on tip of a OnLive streamed game
platform that was introduced on final year’s Philips Android TVs. What’s
more, Philips was penetrating to highlight during a discussions with them that
OnLive has been bustling creation poignant improvements to latency, that can so negatively impact streamed gaming. In fact, OnLive
has taken a position of usually rolling a use out to different
territories once it’s assured that it can grasp a suitable turn of performance.
integrating Android Lollipop into a latest Philips TVs has non-stop up
the probability of some intelligent home applications on tip of a usual
video streaming, gaming and infotainment content. Particularly promising
is a work being finished with eccentric UK developer
MyLiveGuard to offer integrated control around Android TV of your home’s
lighting, doors, confidence cameras and even a Nest heating control/smoke
alarm complement if we have one installed.
increasingly critical component of any Smart TV height is a ability
to grow and adjust over time. However, it’s unfit to forget that the
Android complement introduced on Philips’ 2014 Android TVs can’t actually
be updated to this year’s Android Lollipop system. The jump in
functionality charity by a latest height is usually too good to be
delivered around anything other than a hardware implementation. Google is
keen to stress, though, that it believes it will be means to refurbish the
Android Lollipop TV OS for 3 years yet a need for new
hardware, so a 2015 Philips set won’t be out of date as shortly as we get
We mentioned to Philips a probability of turning
towards some arrange of external, upgradable estimate box for destiny TV models, along a lines of
Samsung’s OneConnect box. But Philips’ response was that their research
suggests people are some-more meddlesome in carrying all their functionality
built into their TV than they are in profitable to ascent outmost devices.
there are many things to like about a latest 5.0 Lollipop chronicle of Android on
Philips TVs, there are a few concerns too. First, a miss of any
personalisation options could make for an ungainly and, if your family
viewing habits are varied, unhelpful demeanour to the
Recommendations shelf that’s such a pivotal partial of the
Next, Android isn’t good versed to
offer a localised catch-up TV services we’re used to anticipating on Smart TVs now. Philips is stability to also offer its
home-grown Smart TV OS alongside a Android one, nonetheless that height also
fails to offer anywhere nearby a full progression of pivotal UK catch-up services.
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other intriguing emanate is that any code that uses a Android OS
is unexpected creation itself contingent on Google
rather than carrying a whole business indication in a possess hands. This is already inspiring Philips, as it finds
itself incompetent to launch these new TVs until
a summer while Google manacles out a few
wrinkles. Also, Google is a clearly tellurian organisation, not as
accustomed as a TV brands to a arrange of localisation processes and deals
required for optimising TVs and app support for opposite sales
On a other side of a coin, though, partnering
with Google saves TV brands a tiny happening in RD compared with
trying to put together their possess particular Smart platforms and calm packages. This could potentially assistance TVs turn cheaper, and
certainly allows brands
to unexpected enhance their Smart charity substantially.
Our initial look
at Philips’ latest Android TVs underlines a expectancy that 2015 is
likely to be a pivotal year in a growth of Smart TV, as in-house
systems such as LG’s webOS and Samsung’s Tizen go conduct to conduct with “third-party” Smart engines like Sony’s and Philips’ Android TVs and, to a
obtuse degree, Panasonic’s Firefox OS.
Keep an eye out for future
reviews to find out that of these really opposite Smart TV approaches wins