Sony (NYSE: SNE) TV is treading a careful line with the tag “the world’s first internet television” to promote its just-unveiled line of sets created for Google (NSDQ: GOOG) TV. The Sony Internet TV, ranging in price from $599 to $1,399, isn’t the first to combine internet access with a TV set or to marry content, the internet and a TV screen. But Sony wants it to be the first one that consumers think of as an easy way to have it all.
That may be a tall order, especially since effortless access in this case includes a handpad that has already been smacked around by some geeks appalled by the number of buttons. Given that I often use a full wireless keyboard and a mouse to manage my living room Media Center and a complicated Harmony remote the rest of the time, I’m going to give Sony the benefit of the doubt on this one until I try it.
Launched at a press event in New York today, the Sony Internet TV is Google TV in a box, dude. The bragging points for the flat-screen full HD sets include:
— built-in Google TV and the upgradeable Google TV platform
— the ability to download apps from Android Market starting early next year
— “select” mobile phone linking sometime this fall
— built-in WiFi
— simultaneous surfing/TV viewing
— “seamlessly” searching TV and internet for content
— on the content side, VOD powered by Sony’s Qriocity, pre-installed apps from CNBC (NYSE: GE), Napster, NBA, Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX), Pandora, Twitter, and YouTube.
— the sets connect “easily” with some HD DVRs from Dish for searches of recorded content and DVR functionality.
The processor is from Intel (NSDQ: INTC), which is hoping “Intel inside” a Sony TV provides better commercial success than “Viiv inside” inside a PC. (For some, one of the better features may be the four HDMI inputs and four USB inputs.) This isn’t for people trying to get by on low-bandwidth connects. Sony recommends access speed of at least 2.5 Mbps and 10 Mbps for HD.
There’s also a $399 Blu-Ray player that includes most of the Google TV-related features on the sets. More details here.