Sony's Google TV Launches With 4 SKUs

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formally unveiled here Tuesday its long-anticipated entry into Android OS-based TV sets by presenting four Sony Internet TVs powered by Google TV.

Screen sizes include 24, 32, 40 and 46 inches for the NSX_24GTI ($600 suggested retail), NSX-32GTI ($800), NSX-40GTI ($1,000) and NSX-46GTI ($1,400), respectively. All will run the so-called Google TV platform.

Sony also introduced a Blu-ray Disc player -- model NSZ-GT1 ($399) -- that will incorporate most of the same interactive functionality for playback through non-Google TV-enabled displays. Neither the BD player nor the Sony Internet TVs will support 3D playback.

The sets will be joined in the market by a set-top box and accompanying after market remotes and keyboard from

accessories maker Logitech

, while another launch partner, Dish Network, said certain connected Dish Network DVR boxes will enable the playback of Dish Network content through the Google TV interface, enabling access to a myriad of content through Dish, the Internet and on their own storage devices.

"Sony is the world's first to deliver a full Internet based entertainment experience driven to your living room and directly to your television," said Bob Ishida, Sony senior VP, corporate executive and home entertainment group president.

The system, which runs the Google Chrome browser, includes an Intel Atom processor offering the ability to quickly search across the Internet for television content, and will search for TV listings on other platforms besides Dish Network, said Mike Abary, Sony home division senior VP said.

Other television service providers are said to be in discussions to add Google TV functionality in the future.

"We're combining the power of HDTV, the power of the full Internet, and the power of apps to create a seamless experience. TV and Internet together at last," Abary said, explaining that systems in the past have failed because "they held back the success of Web on TV."

Today, he said, the proliferation of broadband access, extensive online video content and more capability in devices has set the stage for a much more compelling experience.

Abary said Sony is now taking pre-orders for the sets and is displaying them in Sony Style stores. They will be available to purchase from Sony Style locations on Oct. 16, and, shortly thereafter, Best Buy stores, Sony said.

Sony will support the Internet TV launch with an extensive advertising campaign including print and online vehicles.

The Google TV system offers an intuitive hand-held RF QWERTY keypad remote incorporating an optical mouse to simplify navigation of content, type in search terms, and control the TV's user interface.

Additionally, select mobile devices such as an Android phone, can control the TV with an app that will be available for download from the mobile Android Market later this fall, Sony said.

Sets connect to the Internet via built-in Wi-Fi receivers. 

The user interface and search tools were developed, in part, by Rovi, to meld Web content with traditional TV programming delivered by cable and satellite-TV service providers.

Similar to Android mobile phones, the TVs come with a range of built-in applications including Netflix, Android Market, CNBC, Gallery Player, Napster, Netlife, Pandora and Twitter.

Sony will also exclusively include its Qriocity app, which will offer users access to select movies, Abary said, adding content options "will grow exponentially," he added.

In searching for specific TV shows viewers are presented with options available for that program and similar programs via traditional service providers or from online services.

Applications were designed to be used separately or alongside TV programs on the viewscreen.

Users will be able to engage in live chats on a Twitter account, for example, while viewing a favorite program or sporting event.

The sets also build in access to the new YouTube Leanback app that allows watching a video without the need to click a play button. It can also be used to create new channels on the television.

The sets will enable users to establish customized homepages to show all available channels, applications, websites, etc.

Users will also be able to create playlists of favorite videos and shows, by sending websites, videos and other content to a Google queue to watch at a convenient time.

In addition, the TVs will allow creating personal radio stations using Pandora or to listen to songs via Napster.

Through the Picture Gallery app, users will be able to access photos from photo-sharing sites or their mobile phones for playback on the big screen.


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