The best single word for Sony’s new Internet Player with Google TV
is “underwhelming.” While it’s both useful and fun, it’s not quite enough of either. The unit itself is a compact black box; the standout is the included double-sided remote: basic controls and a touchpad on one side, and a full keyboard on the reverse. It’s functional, easy to use and well designed.
Sony’s hardware runs on Google TV, an Android-powered platform the Web giant promises will link your TV to Android apps, YouTube, a full Chrome browser and the Google Play marketplace. The first three of those mostly work well, although, for example, the NFB app regularly froze the Google TV, while the same app, playing the same movie over the same Wi-Fi network, worked fine on an Android tablet. And Play: inexplicably, Google’s own store is crippled on the Sony player, offering only apps. The movies and e-books available on my Android tablet are simply not there.
And that underlines the basic problem here: the $200 NSZ-GS7 doesn’t really give me much more than I could get by plugging a tablet or notebook into my TV with a $20 cable. The failings here are Google’s, not Sony’s, and some issues could be corrected by software updates. Still, it has to be said that the product feels like a proof of concept: here’s what we’re working on, and it will be great one day.
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