Sony Bravia TVs have evolved throughout the years. But what’s the exact difference between smart TVs and Sony’s Android TVs? And why does it matter when it comes to apps?
Smart TV vs Sony’s Android TV
A “smart TV” is a category name for an “Internet-connected television”, meaning it’s a TV that can connect to the Internet and use integrated online apps and services.
Sony’s Android TV, on the other hand, is a type of smart TV running the Android Operating System (OS), which is very similar to what you experience on Android smartphones.
While smart TVs come pre-loaded with a number of exciting apps, Android systems have access to the Google Play store: the popular portal through which users can download additional apps, designed to run on the Android OS. It’s very similar to what users experience on Android smartphones.
To conclude, if you can access the Google Play Store, you have an Android TV. However, not all smart TVs are Android. You can visually check if you have an Android TV by looking at the following article: How to tell the difference between an Android and non-Android TV.
Why can’t I download new apps on my smart TV?
Smart TVs always come with a set of pre-loaded apps that are designed to run on the smart TV OS. Unfortunately, this means that it’s not always possible to run new apps designed for the Android platform. Think about how some apps are only available for iOS or Android. But, does that mean you can’t enjoy streaming services on those systems?
How to watch streaming services on my smart TV
Not at all: not having the app present on your TV is only a small challenge. There are a few ways to enjoy streaming services on your smart TV, even if you do not have the app installed!
1. You can connect a laptop with an HDMI cable
- A laptop
- HDMI cable (C on the picture below)
- Connect your laptop with an HDMI cable to one of the HDMI inputs on the back of your TV.
- Select the right HDMI input by pressing [Source] on your remote control.
- Cycle through the inputs () until you see a picture.
- On your PC, open the app or go to the website of your preferred streaming service and watch online: your laptop will be streaming content, but your TV will act as the display screen.
To optimise your PC’s image settings (screen resolution), set the image to full-screen mode.
For other connection-related tips, please check the following article: Personal Computer - Displaying PC screen on TV.
2. Casting devices
A casting device allows you to “cast” content from your smartphone or tablet to your television when they are all connected to the same Wifi-network. Simply plug the casting device into one of the required ports of your smart TV (USB or HDMI) and follow the instructions provided by the supplier. It allows you to run your favourite streaming apps on your TV, with your smartphone acting as an in-between.
Here are some examples of casting devices:
- Google Chromecast – How to use the Google Chromecast
- Amazon Fire Stick – How to use Amazon Fire TV
- Digital media players
For more information on streaming devices such as Chromecast, please see the following article: Streaming devices - connectivity guide.
3. You can download the app on a gaming console
Gaming consoles (such as the PS4 or other modern consoles), also have access to popular streaming apps. For a step-by-step guide on how to connect your gaming console to your TV, please see the following article: Gaming console - connectivity guide.
If your PlayStation doesn't already display the app in the "All app section" please download it from the Playstation store. The availability of the app does still depend on your country.
For more information, please visit PS4: Where to find TV and video services.