1. Sony: Android TV
It's official; Sony has the best smart TV platform for the year of 2017. The mere mention of the word Android in relation to a TV will automatically alienate half of all smartphone owners, but Sony is not alone in hoping that the other half will want to go Google in the living room.
Unlike other new smart TV platforms, Android TV services are not built around icons along the bottom of the screen. Press the Home button on the remote and up pops a full-screen page that's dominated by a carousel of videos from YouTube and from Google Video.
Scan down and there's a row of Sony Select services (a mix of the main apps, such as Netflix and Amazon Instant, which naturally differ between Sony and another manufacturer like Philips), links to the Google Play Store, Google Play Music, Google Play Movies and TV, YouTube, Netflix and many more besides.
Further down is a list of the TV's inputs and settings; it's all fairly conservatively done.
Sony Android TVs are also unique in having some serious storage; 16GB is the default for 2017, which is far more than most smart TVs.
Owners of Android phones/tablets can use their device to control Android TVs via the TV SideView app, which comes complete with a plug-in for voice search, while Google Cast allows video and photos to be natively streamed to the TV (iOS users can download the AirBuddy app to Google Cast). Controllers from Logitech and Razer also promise console-less gaming.
However, aside from Android TV's interface exhaustive content that TVs from Sharp and Philips will match, there will soon be a Sony-only add-on. All UK Sony Android TVs now have built-in YouView services, too.
With Android TV and YouView, Sony has at last got smart TV right – thanks to Google.
Best for: content-grabbers
Five Sony TVs with Android TV:
- Sony Bravia A1 OLED 65-inch Sony's triumphant return to OLED for 2017
- Sony Bravia KD-55XE9005 55-inch is one of this year's most exciting TVs
- Sony Bravia KD-55XE9305 55-inch is Sony's high end LCD for 2017
- SonyKD-65XD9305 65-inch was one of 2016's best televisions
- Sony KD-55XD9305 55-inch has got 4K HDR
Three Philips TVs with Android TV: