Google TV and Sony- The heat is on!

Posted on October 15, 2010

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This is just the beginning of Google’s involvement with broadcast. This is important as it will continue to lead to the ultimate Google goal- Rule the World! Oh and they will incorporate this into mobile.

 

(Yahoo) Get ready for more Google TV in more products, with Sony unleashing Tuesday a quartet of HDTVs and a Blu-ray player embedded with Google’s new Android-powered TV platform.

 

Set to go on sale at Sony Style stores this weekend and at Best Buy starting the week of October 24, Sony’s new “Internet TV” HDTVs start at $599 for the smallest 24-inch version and go all the way to $1,399 for the largest 46-inch set, with 32-inch ($799) and 40-inch ($999) models in-between. Sony’s new Google TV-enabled Blu-ray player goes for $399. (You can check out specs and images for all the new products right here.)

Yep, that’s a bit of a premium compared to Sony’s non-Google TV sets, especially for its smaller HDTVs. Sony’s priciest 22-inch HDTV (Sony doesn’t make a 24-inch model) costs about $300, which includes access to Sony’s streaming Bravia Internet channels. And yes — $400 is a lot for a Blu-ray player these days. Meanwhile, the $1,399 price tag for the 46-inch Google TV-ready set sits in the middle of Sony’s 46-inch HDTVs price range, which goes from $799 for a bare-bones model all the way to $3,149 for the top-of-the-line XBR, 3D-ready model. (Nope, none of Sony’s new Google TV-ready HDTVs do the 3D thing.)

Bundled with the new HDTVs and the Blu-ray deck is a compact QWERTY remote with twin four-way navigational pads flanking standard TV controls along the top. The remote itself is about the size of a game controller, with little stubby keys — workable, but not something you’d want to type long, thoughtful emails on.

Sony execs unveiled the new Google TV-ready HDTVs at a lavish press event in Manhattan on Tuesday, barely a week after Logitech bowed its $299 Revue, a Google TV set-top box that piggybacks on your existing DVR using a series of pass-through HDMI cables and an IR blaster.

Needless to say, the Sony HDTV solution is considerably more elegant — no HDMI pass-through wires required, although you will need an IR blaster to control your DVR. (Dish Network subscribers won’t need the infrared blaster thanks to its tight integration with the Google TV platform.)

Then again, a Google TV-embedded Sony HDTV involves buying … well, a new TV to go along with the Google TV experience, not exactly the cheapest proposition, unless you happen to be in the market for a new HDTV. On the other hand, Sony’s $400 Google TV-ready Blu-ray player (which does require HDMI pass-though cables, by the way) might be a better bargain, given that it’s just $100 more than Logitech’s $299 Google TV-only Revue box.

For those who haven’t been keeping track, Google TV represents the latest attempt to successfully meld live TV and the Web, complete with a Google-powered search box that allows viewers to search TV listings, Web-based videos, and the Web at large using an on-screen search box and the QWERTY-equipped remote.

Armed with an Intel Atom processor under the hood (which could be why the first products are so pricey), Google TV also boasts the Google Chrome Web browser, complete with support for Flash video and games.

Google has already announced a series of Web sites that’ll be optimized for Google TV, including TBS, TNT, the New York Times, and CNN — but not Hulu, unfortunately (or at least, not yet). Meanwhile, multitasking viewers will appreciate Google TV’s picture-and-picture feature, which lets you watch live TV in one window and a Web page in another.

The Android-powered Google TV platform also supports apps, with the first wave of applications coming from the likes of Netflix, Amazon, Pandora and Twitter. Google also promises that Google TV products will get full access to the Android Market — included apps meant for Android smartphones — early next year.

Speaking of Android phones, Google says it’ll be offering Google TV remote-control apps for both Android handsets and the iPhone, including the ability to “fling” Web pages from your phone to the TV screen.

Google TV differs from the $100-ish streaming-media set-top boxes we’ve seen from Apple, Roku, and indeed Sony (which is selling the non-Google TV “Netbox” for $129) in that it’s more of a pay-TV complement rather than a replacement.

The big question, though, is whether viewers will be willing to pay more on top of their existing pay-TV service for the ability to search and surf the Web on their TVs. Personally, I’m still on the fence, but I’m hoping to get a better fix on Google TV once I’ve spent quality time with a review unit (either the Revue or one of the Sony sets). Stay, ah … tuned.

 

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Posted in: Google