Sony has finally pushed the button. Android 8 Oreo has started rolling out in the US to Android TVs from late 2016 and 2017. The company is staying mum on plans for previous models, which is probably not a good sign.
Oreo for Sony Android TV
It is a staggered roll-out and only in the US for now. The first owners started receiving the Android 8 Oreo update about two weeks ago and it should reach all compatible TVs in the coming weeks. Sony has not yet commented on plans for Europe.
The headlining feature of Android 8 Oreo for TV is a revamped home screen that revolves around “channel” rows. The home screen has a new look and is more customizable. Apps can now highlight content directly on the home screen but most apps will need to be updated to take advantage of this new feature.
The first TVs to receive the Oreo update in the US are late 2016 Sony Android TVs (Z9D, X800D, X750D, X700D) and 2017 Sony Android TVs (the XE series). Sony has not said when spring 2018 models will receive Oreo but has confirmed that it is coming. Late 2018 models come with Android Oreo pre-installed.
2016 Sony TVs and software issues
For now, the roll-out seems to going according to plan. In the past, some updates from Sony have been halted or pulled entirely due to bricking issues. While many users on forums seem to welcome the Oreo update as an overall improvement to the Android TV experience, there are also some complaints and issues such as no audio pass-through after deep sleep, playback issues with locally stored 4K files, and occasional frame dropping with HD video. If you are using these features you may want to wait.
It has also been brought to our attention that Oreo for the ‘ATV2’ hardware platform (the models included in this first roll-out phase) runs on an old Linux kernel (v. 3.10.79) dating way back to the days of Android 4 KitKat. It also lacks support for Google’s Project Treble that is a re-architecture of the Android framework designed to make it easier for manufacturers to bring out new updates.
On the other hand Sony said that the update is fixing issues such as “picture quality issues in Netflix Dolby Vision content” and “a condition where the TV switches from Standby to Semi Standby periodically and switches on any connected AV Receiver via HDMI CEC without reason”. The changelog is light on details but is included in the table at the bottom.
The company is staying mum on update plans for Android TVs from spring 2016 and earlier, which is probably not a good sign. While there are reports that these TVs will not be updated to Oreo, the company has declined to publicly confirm either or to FlatpanelsHD.
Android Oreo for TV was released in beta in spring 2017 and released publicly later in 2017. It has taken Sony more than a year to update its TVs.
If you are based in the US and have a late 2016 or 2017 Sony Android TV, you can update either through the built-in update menu or by manually downloading the update file to a USB stick. If you have a 2018 Sony TV or are based in Europe you will have to wait a little longer.
Sony TV Oreo update – firmware v6.5805
New features and improvements: - Improves the Home screen menu for better usability (Android Oreo) - Improves the keyboard design - Improves the Search function using Google Assistant - Resolves a picture quality issues in Netflix Dolby Vision content - Resolves a DTV 1080i flashing issue - Resolves a condition where there is no sound at times when playing the UHD BD movie “Dunkirk” - Resolves a condition where the TV switches from Standby to Semi Standby periodically and switches on any connected AV Receiver via HDMI CEC without reason.
Late 2016 Sony Android TVs XBR-100Z9D XBR-43X800D XBR-49X700D XBR-49X800D XBR-55X700D XBR-65X750D XBR-65Z9D XBR-75Z9D