Sharp is one of three TV manufacturers to launch TVs based on Google’s Android TV platform. We visited Sharp to take a closer look and here is what we found.
Sharp’s first Android TVs
These are the US models. The European models are usually a bit different but similar in broad terms. We have tried to confirm the European launch plans, too, but the line-up is not ready to be announced yet.
In 2015, Sharp will increase its focus on Smart TV by switching from a limited platform to one of the most promising TV platforms right now, which is undoubtedly Android TV. Sharp will launch two series with Android TV called UH30 and UE30 that will be available in up to 80 inch sizes.
The Android TV user interface will look identical on all TVs, regardless of brand. TV manufactures are not allowed to change the interface, which is why it is also similar to the interface on Nexus Player that we recently reviewed. At the top you see a list of recommended content based on your viewing history. Below you see installed apps such as Netflix and YouTube, and at the bottom you see installed games. There is also a full Google Play app store.
TV manufacturers are allowed to pre-install some apps on its TVs and they are also allowed to build their own remote control. Below you see how Sharp thinks an Android TV should be controlled. Notice the built-in microphone. It is used for voice search.
Sharp’s Android TVs models feature Ultra HD resolution, and Google dictates that all Android TV products must support HEVC decoding and its own VP9 decoding. This also means that all 4K Android TVs should support Netflix as well as YouTube in 4K. YouTube is using VP9 to stream 4K content to TVs, and 2015 is the first year that any Smart TV has VP9 support.