Last night Sony held an event to debut their Google TV line of products, and what we saw was pretty much what we'd expected to see. There was a new line of "Sony Internet TV" televisions, ranging from 24" to 46". All are 1080P sets and come with a generous 4 HDMI and 4 USB ports. The Blu-ray rumor also proved to be true, with Sony introducing the "Sony Internet TV Blu-ray Disc Player" (such sexy names they've come up with) with Google TV inside. It also has 4 USB ports and 1 HDMI-in port (as well as, of course, an HDMI-out port).
All the TVs and the Blu-ray player come with the new Sony remote. You may have seen a number of tech blogs mocking the remote a few days ago after a grainy image was revealed in a promotional video. While the remote is complex, I think the design seems fine and I think I'd rather use it than the Logitech Revue's Keyboard controller (which seems like something you'd need to balance on your lap). Maybe it's the gamer in me, but the Sony Google TV remote reminds me of (of all things) my Xbox 360 controller with the chatpad attachment connected. As for pricing, the TVs range from about $600 for the 24" to about $1400 for the 46". The Blu-ray player is $400. Given that a basic Sony Blu-ray player goes for about $140, you're paying about $260 for the Google TV bit, so Sony seems to be walking arm-in-arm with Logitech in over-pricing Google TV for us. Another similarity between the two? It would appear Sony's version of Google TV will also interface with a Dish Network, but only a Dish Network, DVR. I suppose the good news is that we have a standard in place so any future partners will work with any variety of Google TV. Everything is available for pre-order now and you should be able to walk into a Best Buy on October 24th and walk out with a Sony Google TV product. With Sony pushing 3D as hard as it has been doing, I'm surprised they're now asking consumers to choose between a Google TV-enabled television and a 3D-enabled television. Where's the Sony set that offers it all in one package? If you're an Android developer who wants to get in on developing apps for these devices, it's worth noting that Sony started accepting developer signups today at http://android.sonydeveloper.com/. So which would you pick? The $300 Logitech Revue or the $400 Sony Blu-ray player with Google TV built in? The Revue has Harmony Universal Remote software on-board, but the Sony remote is also a universal remote. And of course it plays Blu-ray disks, though I'd think anyone geeky enough to want Google TV would already own a Blu-ray player if they had any desire for one. I still think a $100 Roku for watching streaming content and a laptop or netbook for web surfing while watching TV is your best bet for now. If Google TV takes off then other television providers will get on board and offer integration, and while we wait for that to happen prices will drop. If Google TV could search what's on my FiOS DVR, in FiOS's On Demand library, what's playing now on FiOS, plus all video content on the web, then I'd be impressed. (I get my TV from FiOS, obviously; feel free to sub in your provider in the above.) Right now there just isn't enough steak to go with all the sizzle of Google TV. Turn to page 2 for the full press release.
Sony's Google TV remote