Philips and Sony TVs Finally Get Android Oreo Update

Mike Wheatley

Philips and Sony separately confirmed last week they’ve begun rolling out the Android Oreo 8 update to select TVs, beginning with their 2016 and 2017 models.


The exact timeline of the updates is a bit different for both brands. In the case of Philips, it said it’s placing a priority on its 2016 Android TV models, with its 2017 TVs coming next. The upgrade will later roll out to its 2018 models and dual tuner 2018 models, with the entire process set to be completed by the first quarter of 2019.

As for Sony's Android TVs, the bad news is that the upgrades are only being made available in the U.S. for the moment, starting with models from late 2016 and 2017. The upgrade will be rolled out to U.K. TV owners too, but it’s just a question of when, not if. There’s also no word from Sony on a timeframe for upgrading its spring 2018 models, though the company says this will come. Worse, the company refused to comment on the prospect of pre-2016 models getting the upgrade, which doesn’t bode well for them.

Sony’s late 2018 models already come pre-installed with Android Oreo 8.

The Android Oreo 8 update’s main feature is a newly revamped home screen with a focus on “channels”, where app providers such as Netflix can highlight their latest content. The update also makes the home screen more customisable, with the ability to hide unused apps in a special drawer, just like you can do with most smartphones. There’s also a new “Play Next” row that provides easy access to personalised content recommendations.

For some Philips Android TVs, the update will also enable Google Assistant for the first time. Google Assistant was already available on some Sony Android TVs.

Flatpanels HD said that most Philips’ Android TV users have welcomed the update as an “improvement” to the previous edition. But it looks like some Sony owners might be experiencing a few hiccups, with several complaints reporting problems such as playback issues with locally stored 4K files, no audio pass-through following deep sleep, and frame dropping with HD content.

Still, Sony said the update also fixes an important bug that was said to have created “picture quality issues in Netflix Dolby Vision content.”

Philips and Sony have taken a considerable amount of time getting the update ready for their TVs. Android Oreo for TV was launched in beta in early 2017, before hitting general availability in the autumn of that year. It means that both companies have taken more than a year to roll out the update for their Android TVs.