In the latest debut in the burgeoning smart TV space, Sony has launched a new line of television sets integrated with Google TV.
Sony will start selling four Google-enabled TVs and one Blu-Ray player this month, each running the Android operating system, Google’s Chrome browser and pre-installed apps such as Twitter, YouTube, Netflix and Pandora.
The HD TVs cost between $600 for a 24-inch model to $1,400 for a 46-inch version, while the BluRay player will retail for $400.
Google TV – a joint initiative between Google, Sony, Intel and Logitech – was unveiled in March, offering the ability to watch both web and live TV.
Early reaction to the Google TV lineup has been positive, but analysts have stated that the specially-designed remote control, which sports a full qwerty keyboard as well as regular TV controls, looks old-fashioned and overly complicated.
Google and Sony face competition from Apple, which launched its revamped $100 Apple TV box last week, and Roku, which put a new line of HD boxes on sale last month.
Apple offers movie and TV show rentals through iTunes and access to YouTube, Flikr internet radio and Netflix. But it lacks a hard drive for storage, so each download is a one-off. The Roku, which retails between $60-$100, offers Netflix, Hulu Plus and Pandora as well as YuppTV and Roxwell content.
Apple TV and Roku lack full-featured internet browsers, while Google TV lacks many of the Netflix features seen in the competing offerings.