Sony Rolls Google TVs

Sets will go on sale Saturday
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NEW YORK: Sony debuted its first line of Google TVs at an event in New York yesterday. The high-definition LCD sets will go on sale Saturday. Sony is offering four screen sizes. The 24-inch is priced at $599.99; the 32-inch, at $799.99; the 40-inch at $999.99; the 46-inch at $1,399.99. The line is expected to be available in Best Buy stores by early next week, and is available now for pre-order at SonyStyle.com.

Sony’s intention to launch Google TV was confirmed last May. The Japanese electronics giant agreed to incorporate Google’s Android operation platform and Chrome browser into TV sets powered by Intel Atom CE4100 chipsets. The same chipsets power standalone Google TV boxes from Logitech. Sony’s peripheral Google TV device incorporates a Blu-ray player and retails at $399.99.

The sets have a dual view for surfing and watching TV simultaneously. Features include a TV listings search, a home screen similar to that of Chrome’s Internet browser, a wireless QWERTY and optical mouse; an upgradable operating system and a variety of apps. E.g., Twitter, Pandora, Napster, Netflix, NBA and those in the Android app market. An app to synch up Android mobile phones for use as remote controls is “coming soon,” Sony says.

Google continues to court content partners for its platform. The Turner Broadcasting networks have stepped up, as have NBC Universal, HBO and the National Basketball League.

Sony is recommending a 2.5 Mbps Internet connection minimum, and 10 Mbps for HD content. The average actual residential broadband speed in the United States is 3.1 Mbps, according to the FCC’s National Broadband Plan, suggesting HD content is still best viewed through a TV signal for the time being.
-- Deborah D. McAdams

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