Today, Sony unveiled a new family of Google TV-powered TVs and a Blu-ray player, pricing the hardware with an eye toward selling consumers on the benefits of marrying the full Internet with TV. The announcement came one week after Logitech announced its Google TV-powered Revue set-top box.
The Sony Internet TV with Google TV 1080p displays cost $599 for a 24-inch model, $799 for a 32-inch model, $999 for a 40-inch unit and $1,399 for a 46-inch unit. A Google TV Blu-ray player will retail for $399. The Sony devices all come with WI-Fi and four USB ports and will integrate with DISH Network DVRs.
The prices are roughly $100 more than current Sony Bravia Internet-connected TVs. Unlike Logitech, which priced its set-top box at $299, Sony was able to leverage existing devices to deliver a competitive price. Sony hasn’t eliminated sticker shock entirely, but it is able to offer the Google TV platform at a price that is easier for customers to justify, if they’re already in the market for an Internet TV.
This is still more expensive than streaming boxes like Apple TV or Roku, which cost $99 or less, but Sony believes its all-in-one package brings a lot of value to consumers. “We think we’re pricing the Google TV platform in a way that’s reasonable,” said Mike Abary, senior vice president of Sony’s Home division.
As with the Logitech Revue, the promise of Google TV is the ability to have your cable or satellite content integrated in one platform that also supports apps and a full HTML5 web browser with Flash support. Users can access their TV and online content through one interface and can conduct searches that span TV schedules, DVR content and online information. Like the Revue, the Sony TVs and Blu-ray player run off an Intel Atom processor.
Sony’s devices come with a small button-packed remote controller that sports a full QWERTY keyboard, mouse controller, media controls and two directional pads. It’s definitely not designed for those looking for fewer buttons. Sony said an Android app is in the works for users to remotely control Google TV but no word on an iOS app.
The TV will allow users to watch over-the-air content in the Google TV environment but scheduling data won’t be searchable through Google TV. That makes it possible for cord-cutters to consider a Sony TV but they’ll lose out on the full power of Google TV to catalog over-the-air content. The Blu-ray player doesn’t support over-the-air TV within Google TV.
Sony Internet TV will come with most of the same apps as the Revue including Netflix, Pandora, CNBC, Twitter, NBA, Napster and YouTube. Sony is launching one exclusive app with Sony Internet TV Qriocity, a video-on-demand service that leverages some of the work in Sony’s PlayStation Network. Sony was mum on other first-party apps but touted the opening of the platform to other apps early next year. There are no current plans for a video-conferencing solution from Sony but their equipment will support Logitech’s $149 HD video camera.
Sony said the TVs and Blu-ray player can be ordered online now at SonyStyle.com and will be available this weekend in Sony Style stores. Best Buy will start selling the equipment the week of Oct. 24.
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