Sony, which was an early adopter of the first-generation Google TV platform, is giving it another go next month when it starts selling the NSZ-GS7 Internet Player, which will be priced at $199.
The box, which includes the updated version of Google TV we previewed in LG's new G2-series TVs, will be released in mid-July, although Sony will allow pre-orders of the NSZ-GS7 starting June 25, 2012 at www.sony.com/sonygoogletv.
The company says it will also offer a Google TV-powered Blu-ray player, the NSZ-GP9, later this year at a price just under $300. The Blu-ray player will include voice-control capability. Both devices were initially announced at CES back in January.
The new NSZ-GS7 is much smaller and sleeker than the Logitech Revue unit, and it comes with a redesigned universal remote control that has a touchpad on one side and a QWERTY keyboard on the other. It also includes motion control for gaming, and a pre-loaded app will let users search for content on their connected TV.
The launch of Google TV back in 2010 wasn't especially successful--the failure of its Google-based Revue player essentially caused Logitech to exit the streaming media business. Sony had a few Google TV products, but the platform never really caught on. But last fall Google updated the software, streamlining the interface, improving search, and providing access to the Android market, now called Google Play.
So far we've seen new Google TV products from LG and Sony, and Vizio is expected to join the fold this summer when it launches its own Google TV-powered add-on box. Google TVs from the company are expected later this year. There are also rumors that Samsung will offer some Google TV products--Blu-ray players and perhaps a TV series--later this year.
We'll be giving the new Sony streaming-media player a try as soon as we can get one into our new streaming-media lab for testing. At nearly $200, the NSZ-GS7 is twice as expensive as many of its competitors, and four times the cost of the least expensive models currently in our labs. Stay tuned for our comprehensive reviews of the leading streaming media players on the market.
—James K. Willcox