Sony Debuts HDTVs with Google TV Baked In

Sony's new televisions will show a range of Internet content without a settop box.

Like the idea of Google TV, with its web browsing, applications and powerful search, but don't want another box sitting around your TV? Then you'll love the new HDTVs Sony unveiled at a press event in New York today. They incorporate the same Google TV functionality right in the TVs' electronics.

Sony new TVs, which range from 24 to 46 inches, can access content via broadcast, the Internet and applications, just as the Logitech Revue, unveiled last week, can. The company also unveiled a Blu-ray player with Google TV features.

At the event, Sony representatives argued that the appearance of the Google-powered TV sets mark a groundbreaking moment that will change the way the public watches TV. As technical achievements go, "this is a pretty big one," said Mike Abary, senior vice president of Sony's Home Division, who pointed out that the Sony units would be the only Google-powered TVs available this holiday shopping season. "TV and the Internet, together at last."

The Google TV navigation, on-screen menus and results screens mirror the features seen in the Revue.

While the Revue comes with a full or mini Logitech keyboard, the Sony Internet TVs have their own style of mini keyboard, which feels a lot like a game controller. It's not backlit, but along with the keyboard includes two control pads. There's a touch pad on the right with which you can navigate Web sites. The pad on the left is a mechanical rocker switch used for navigation when the set is tuned into broadcast content. It operates like the directional buttons on a DVD remote.

The controller is very lightweight and proved very easy to learn and manipulated. It has the feel of a PlayStation remote for a good reason. "Some design elements were borrowed from the PS3," Abary said.

The new 24-inch (US$600), 32-inch (US$800), 40-inch (US$1,000), and 46-inch (US$1,400) Sony Internet TVs as well as the new Sony Internet Blu-ray player (US$400) are available for pre-order now and will be available at Sony Style this week and at Best Buy Oct. 24.

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Robert S. Anthony

PC World (US online)
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