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Krister's Blog
krister at hallergard dot com


Last Updated:
2019-10-12
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Android TV - RECAP
SONY Bravia 43" 4K Smart TV


This is about my experience with the Android TV that we bought in March 2017 - 43" SONY Bravia 4k Smart TV (KD43XD8088BU - a 2016 model). We had a well functioning BT YourView Box with a 500GB hard disk for recording, using our old TV as a monitor. When the old TV conked out I went for an Android Smart TV, and chose SONY.

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YouTube Playlist

Device Set-up

The device set-up is shown in the picture to the right.

Watching TV

We decided to keep the BT YouView box for watching TV. The only reason was the recording capability of the YouView box, whereas other considerations such as HD tuner quality, YouView guide including catch-up etc and Broadcasters' Players (BBC iPlayer etc) were comparable.


SONY Android TV
With the Sony Bravia it is possible to record onto a USB drive if you uninstall the YouView app, though there is still no graphical interface to manage recordings. And in the UK it is almost unthinkable to uninstall YouView.

We do use the Android interface to watch foreign TV channels - in our case mainly Swedish: SVT Play can be installed from the Google Play Store and TV4 Play can be sideloaded. The Play Store have several apps for foreign channels, and on KODI there are even more foreign channel plugins available.

Android TV System

Have recently upgraded to Android 8.0 Oreo. Had problems restarting after putting the system on standby. Found the solution: not to leave my usb-dongle of the RF Mouse attached overnight. Decided to replace it with an Bluetooth Mouse (no dongle), which also has a Back button - very important with Android!

Play Store Apps

The apps available at the Google Play Store are quite limited. A few more can be found at Amazon Appstore, AndroidAPK, APKMirror and the Galaxy Store. My favourite apps are:
  • HALauncher (for sideloaded apps)
  • X-treme File Manager
  • VLC VideoLan Media Player
  • KODI Entertainment Center
  • YouTube
  • SVT Play Swedish TV

Favourite Play Store Apps

All Apps from PlayStore
Sideloaded Apps

On my Android Tablet I create backups of installed apps, and these APKs can be sideloaded onto the Android TV using file managers. This could be achieved even more directly using these apps: PushBullet, Fast File Transfer, AirDroid and Air-Share/Air-Launch. I prefer the last two as being more reliable.

Sideloaded apps are not shown on the Home screen, so you have to use either of the apps Sideload Launcher or HALauncher. I prefer the latter as it can create shortcuts, notably Internet links.


Favourite Sideloaded Apps

All Sideloaded Apps
Remote Controls and Inputs

The D-pad cursor control of the Remote Control (SONY RMF-TX200E) is very slow, and the online keyboard even slower - but the voice search is good. For sideloaded apps you do need a mouse - not to replace the Remote - but to complement it. The best is to use the SONY SideView App on your Android tablet or mobile phone, which provides touchpad contol of the cursor and a good method for text input onto search boxes.

Streaming Videos

The main use of a Smart TV for me is to watch movies and videos, and the VLC, KODI and YouTube apps covers what I need. I used to download music videos from YouTube, but nowadays direct streaming is feasible. I used to have own family videos on the PC to be accessed by all our Android devices through SMB shares. Then I copied them onto a USB-stick on the Router to be accessible also when the PC was not on. Now I have even copied them onto the YouTube, to Stream from the Cloud - not public but unlisted - to be accessed not just from our Android TV, but from any device of friends and family to whom I have given the link.

Occasionally I want to print a web page. As Google Cloud Print did not work for me, I sideloaded the PrinterShare app

Browsing Internet

Have sideloaded Google Chrome Browser and Firefox, as I think they are better than the stock Internet browser. With HALauncher I have created a shortcut to a html-page with links to many of the sites I often go to. To navigate the Internet the SideView app on a mobile phone or tablet is recommended, but I usually try to get by with only the Remote and the Android Mouse. I should use the voice search more often!

Screen Recording

I use the DU Recorder for screen recording in Android mode. This does not work for TV mode though.

The TV also has capability to receive screen mirroring or Chromecast from Android devices, though I do not use this very much.

Soundbar

Am using the SONY HT-SF150, which also can be paired with an Android mobile phone or tablet for streaming music (without the TV having to be on). Had some problem with getting double au