Consumer Electronics & Appliance News, Reviews & Information.

Oct 10

Sony TV + Google = Magic

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Those folks at Google must really be inspired because they keep cranking out new ways to change the flow of information. And now Sony has joined the party.

Yesterday, Sony unveiled the “world’s first HDTV powered by Google TV.” If you read this previous post, you might have learned that Google TV is a new service allowing you to browse the web just like you would on your computer, except you’re browsing on your TV even while you’re watching broadcast programming. Many current HDTV’s use an ethernet or Wi-Fi connection in combination with a suite of applications that get you to specific content sites like Pandora, Netflix, YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter. But Google TV places no limits on web exploration and expands usability; for example, by letting you use your Android phone or iPhone as a remote (I see dueling remotes and couples therapy in my future).

It’s hard to deny that the information and entertainment worlds are set to collide in one giant online platform. Electronics manufacturers must set their sights on providing the physical tools that will give users access to all the content they want in the way they want it. Sony is among the first to jump into the pool with its Internet TV and Blu-ray player products.

Sony has taken the Google TV concept and packaged it in an attractive, user-friendly

Sony's HDTV with built-in Google TV

device. You get to watch your content on a sleek, high definition panel backed by all the image processing technology Sony throws at their production, plus you get to surf the web on one of the world’s most popular browsers. And you control it all with a QWERTY keyboard remote. Several function-specific keys make it easy to navigate your Google TV system, and it has a built-in optical mouse. It’s pretty self-explanatory, exactly what you’d hope for with a product that seamlessly merges the online world with the TV world.

Sony's QWERTY remote for Google TV

You can currently choose from one of four sizes of the Sony NSX-40GT1 (24”, 32”, 40”, or 46”). The 24” costs a mere $599 while the more popular sized 40” goes for $999. For an edge-lit LED with built-in Wi-Fi, that price is comparable to non-Google TV models, and for a first-generation product, it’s entirely reasonable. You can be the first to own a Google TV HDTV for no more than your neighbor pays for the more limited version.

But let’s say you just bought a brand new HDTV not six months ago, and you don’t really want to shell out another couple thousand dollars, but your really want Google TV. Sony has you covered. Opt for a Blu-ray disc player that will integrate Google TV into your home theater system. However, at $399.99, it seems like a pricier option for the payoff. Good Blu-ray players, even those with built-in Wi-Fi, can be found for $199.

Sony's Blu-ray player with built-in Google TV

I’m not a technophile by any stretch of the imagination, but I see a glimmer of a single-device future here. Then again maybe it’s a full-on floodlight. But with cloud computing options such as Google docs (there they are again), who needs an actual computer? You do everything you’d normally do on your computer on the web. From your TV. It’s genius!

Google has proven over and over again that they’re a visionary company, what with Google search, Google maps, Gmail, Google calendars, Android, and a host of other unique and useful products. I can’t help but think that pretty soon they’re going to come out with a way to enhance our individual psychic abilities.

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