If you own a recent Sony-branded, Android TV-powered TV set then it looks like you have an update that’s now en route to your device, and it’s a big one as this update will upgrade the system to Android Oreo.
Sony has confirmed the update as in the process of rolling out to compatible devices on its support website. There’s too many models to list here, but Sony has confirmed the applicable model list is made up of 24 different XBR-branded TVs. You can see the full list of supported models here.
It should be noted, the update is currently only scheduled to land on devices in the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Chile, and Peru. Sony has yet to confirm when the update will be made available in other regions, including Europe.
Although updates come through fairly routinely for most devices, this is the official Oreo update and that matters as it is more of a macro update compared to the smaller and more routine updates that typical come through on a monthly or quarterly basis.
Android Oreo for the TV is based on Android 8.0 and when it comes to the TV version marks quite the departure from the typical interface thanks to Oreo’s new focus on “Channels.”
These Channels are essentially apps but they are now presented with a focus on the content available through the app in a similar way to if it was a TV channel - resulting in a user experience that can be likened to an interactive TV guide where users are able to scroll down and see what’s currently on each channel.
There’s also a few other platform-wide tweaks such as a “Play Next” section which looks to recommend the latest episode of a show you are already watching, a greater emphasis on Google Assistant support, and general performance improvements and fixes.
When it comes to Sony’s rollout specifically, there’s quite a few fixes arriving with the update. Some notable ones include resolving “picture quality issues viewing Dolby Vision content on Netflix” and “a DTV 1080i flashing issue.”
In addition to a number of new additional features, including support for Dolby Vision content on more TV models, and support for the Amazon Alexa app.
While this is the latest update to Sony Android TV devices, and one which sees Sony joining the select few brands that have so far upgraded their devices to Oreo, this is an upgrade which was first announced by Google back in 2017.
Since then, Oreo has been superseded by Android Pie although Pie has yet to make it to any devices running on Android TV. At present, there’s no word on what devices will be upgraded to Pie, and if they are - when.
With a new year now here, Google and the Android team are already working on the 2019 version of the operating system, Android Q. Although there’s currently no indications of what Q will bring to the TV-optimized version, a sneak peek at a prototype version of Q came through recently highlighting some of the benefits mobile users can expect.
Those with an applicable device looking to install the update can either wait for it to arrive organically, or download and sideload the appropriate files from the Sony website to manually apply the update.