Saturday, 18 July 2015

Sony Android 4K TV KD-55X8505C review

I recently bought Sony 4K Android TV model  Sony KD-55X8505C. I had been waiting for it to be released after I saw the announcement in CES 2015. There was some delays with it and it was finally released at the end of June in Finland. Here it is my first impressions after some weeks of use





Here it is the main features:
  • 55 inch Edge LED 4K 
  • Android TV operating system
  • 4K X-Reality PRO, 
  • TRILUMINOS Display: expands the range of colors you see beyond the "gamut" of ordinary displays
  • X1 processor
  • Upscaling of Full HD content to 4K
UPDATE: Sony finally released firmware upgrade for this television to support HDR (High Dynamic Range). Now we just need to wait for content. Also there have been several updates to Android TV and has become very stable. Also, new update coming next year to be able to record TV on external hard disk.

Unboxing

Unboxing was very easy. Even it was advice to be done by two persons I could handle it by my oen. I removed the box following the instructions and plug the TV into the stand

For my surprise there were no 3D glasses included. I need to buy them for 59 EUR each although I am not in a hurry (I do not have 3D bluray player or any 3D movie)

Two remote controls, classic and One-flick touchpad TV remote. One-flick touchpad TV remote works with wireless connectivity (Bluethooth LE) and has built-in NFC to connect to devices like NFC-enabled phones. This remote also contains a microphone for google voice search. It also has IR legacy support

Setup

It took a bit long to start up for first time, around 10 to 20 minutes, where I could only see the Android TV logo.

Setup wizard was quite easy but connecting to WiFi was a bit challenging and ended up using WPS as I could not write the WiFi password on the screen at that stage.

Once WiFi was configured I was able pair my computer with the TV and use it to log into my Google account from my computer browser and finish the setup there

I noticed that there was an update to latest Android TV software, so I decided to perform it before starting to use the TV for the first time. To my surprise it took quite a long time (almost an hour) so I had to wait to play with my new TV. I even thought for a while that there must have been something going wrong and that it couldn't take so long but after waiting, TV came up with the new firmware. The remote one-flick touchpad has also its own software but no update are available a the moment.

Channel tuning was quite fast compared with my previous old Sony TV

Getting my Sony HT-XT3 TV base speakers working correctly with TV took a while until I figured out that best way to connect the speakers to the TV was using the optical output from TV to the speaker box.

Android TV interface and apps

I have to say that the interface is quite fluid, although I notice some lags at some point. The user interface is very clean. It is separated in sections with recommendations, input selection, apps and settings.


At the beginning I thought about using the classic remote control to move around but after giving a try to the One-flick remote, I think I will never go back to the classic one. It is really easy to navigate ad move around with the new remote.

Installing apps was easy. Once installed you can use it once and after that you can uninstall it right from same window used for installation. One thing I do not like is that you are limited to the apps in your region (Finland in my case) and I am not able to download apps from other countries (like Spain) so I am missing some Spanish TV apps that I would like to have. I am not sure yet how to by-pass this problem. And one more thing, app selection is not very good at the moment. I have not tried any games (I do not have the needed bluetooth gamepad) but I am not so interested as I use my Wii U for gaming.

Google voice search is amazing: press on the microphone icon on the remote control and speak: weather forecast for tomorrow, for instance. Main search results are videos to be played right away. It even recognizes different languages in same sentence (Spanish and English) although sometime there are some problems.

The TV supports also miracast (for screen mirroring) and Google Cast support. I have tried Google Cast and it works very well with the apps that support it (YouTube for instance). There also some apps in the Google Play store that simulate AirPlay so you can stream also from your iOS device or Mac. However, those apps do not support screen mirroring. I thought about selling my Apple TV but then I decided to keep it as I like the possibility to rent movies directly from the Apple TV.

I Also found an app to access my videos on my network drive (Apple Time Capsule) and it works quite well.

Regarding 4K content, I am not a Netflix subscriber so I have not tried their content. I have tried youtube in 4K and it looks very good. I am however waiting for Ultra HD Bluray players that are suppose to arrive later this year and will provide good quality 4K video.

Features coming

From Sony web page I understood that there are coming more firmware upgrades that would bring new features. Among them, there is compatibility with the test 4k signal from Astra satellite through the built-in receiver. And a feature that just came this week as they also announced: internet explorer Opera Browser.

Other features and apps coming:
  • recording to HDD via USB
  • Internet explorer coming (Opera browser , already available)
  • iBBC, etc
  • Amazon 4K
  • Playstation video (already available)
  • HEVC 2k/4k
  • wuaki.tv
Overall I am really happy with the TV and the easy to use Android TV interface. Now it is a matter of time that new apps and features will be added. But I am already quite satisfied with what I have got.

If you are looking for a 4K Android TV, I would definitely recommend this one.

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