Over the last few months, we have talked extensively about Android TV as a platform. What its strengths are, its weaknesses and just about everything in between. While the platform is still in its infancy, it is growing and it is getting better. Especially since the variance of products that come running with Android TV is growing with both standalone and built-in products hitting the market.
That said, built-in Android TV is an area which we should be talking about much more. While not everyone needs a standalone Android TV device. Most people will have a TV and therefore, the more TV's that come with Android TV baked in, the more Google can ensure the public is using their services and features. To tap into the actual TV market and sales directly, is to significantly increase the user base. Well, over the last week or two we have been checking out built-in Android TV and it has left some interesting impressions.
The TV we currently have is a Sharp Aquos 70-inch 4K TV (LC-70UE30U). This is one of the ones which Sharp recently announced as available and comes boasting (in TV talk) some very rich specs and native support to watch 4K content. Not forgetting of course, it comes with Android TV baked-in.
Now, one would assume that baked-in Android TV is the better solution. It should be right? Well, without giving too much away before the full review, 'better' is simply the wrong phrase to use. Yes, there are certainly benefits to having Android TV inside, instead of a third party additional piece of hardware. That is, benefits beyond the freeing up of what is quickly becoming a home commodity, wall sockets. But it also has many more flaws than many might expect. What you gain in convenience, you do sacrifice in other areas. As such, when it comes to built-in Android TV, it is far more relevant to say that it is 'different' and not 'better or worse'. It does feel like a completely never entity to a standalone player, and looking back, it now seem somewhat naive to have thought that it would be a similar experience. This is not the same as moving from one smartphone to another, this is moving from one product range to another. Therefore, although they all fall under the same Android TV umbrella, the differences are far more starker and it now seems clearer to think of the difference as more similar to that between a smartphone and smartwatch.
That said, as far as TV's goes, the Sharp Aquos LC-70UE30U is a great TV. it does come with the whopping 70-inch display which really does make use of its screen size, contrast and resolution. Not to mention, the built-in support for 4K is great to have. When of course, content and internet connection permits. In preparing for our review, the Sharp Aquos LC-70UE30U has really left food for thought on the future of Android TV as a baked-in option. Thoughts which mean when you do finally opt to try out Android TV (if you have not already) you will have to seriously consider first and foremost, whether you want to go down the built-in option or standalone option, before even beginning to check out the manufacturer's offerings.