Google TV: Need to Know

Vital information that you need to know before it is released in the UK in July. I previously created a video and blog post about Google TV, many months ago. Now there is new information and feedback from users who have tried this piece of new technology.

Google TV will launch in the UK this month, when Sony debuts a set-top box that makes it possible to access the interactive service from any television.

The service is Google’s crack at ‘smart TV‘, enabling users to browse the internet on their televisions, as well as accessing additional content using smartphone-style apps.

Here’s what you need to know about the Google TV service.

What is Google TV?
It’s an internet TV platform. Google TV turns your telly into an internet-enabled computer – so you can browse the web, read emails, watch YouTube videos and use smartphone-style apps. Up until now, Google TV has only been available in the US but now it’s coming to the UK.

How will I access Google TV?
Sony is going to launch a new set-top box in July. This set-top box will plug into your existing TV set-up and make it possible to access Google TV. For the time being, that’s going to be the only way to access Google TV in the UK – although don’t be too surprised to see other manufacturers getting involved soon.

So what’s this Sony product?
Sony is offering an ‘Internet Player’ set-top box (NSZ-GS7), which plugs into your existing TV set-up. It will also be launching a Blu-ray player (NSZ-GP9) with built-in Google TV, which will go on sale in the UK some time after October next year.

Does this replace my existing set-top box?
Probably not. Sony’s product is likely to be most useful as an additonal part of your home entertainment set-up, rather than a replacement for anything. Google TV does offer some content – but it’s ‘on-demand’ content accessed via partners such as Netflix and TV channels’ ‘watch again’ services, as well as additional content from the Sony Entertainment Network.

What will it cost?
The NSZ-GS7 Internet Player box will cost around £200. The NSZ-GP9 Blu-ray player with Google TV is expected to cost around £300.

When can I buy it?
The NSZ-GS7 Internet Player goes on sale on 16 July. The NSZ-GP9 Blu-ray player with Google TV support will go on sale in the UK some time after its initial October launch in the US.

Can I buy a TV with Google TV built in?
Not yet – right now the set-top box option is the only way to get Google TV.

How does the set-top box work?
It’s operated using a dual-sided remote. On one side you have a trackpad, which you can use to navigate web pages in the pre-installed Google Chrome browser. On the other is a full QWERTY keyboard, to make inputting text easier. It’s a universal remote that controls your entire entertainment system and it has a motion sensor for playing games.

As well as offering web browsing, the Sony box includes access to the Google Play store – so you can access apps such as YouTube or Twitter. Google expects app developers to come up with more programs specfically optimised for TV.

Do I have to use the supplied remote?
No – there is a free app called Media Remote that makes it possible to use your smartphone or tablet as a remote control instead.

Is Google TV any good?
It has met with a fairly lukewarm reception in the US over the past couple of years and some manufacturers have found sales of their set-top boxes to be sluggish. However, if you want to be able to access a full web browser from your TV (as well as a host of additional features), it makes a useful addition to your front room set-up – especially if you’ve not yet invested in a smart TV.



Sony Google TV NSZ-GS7 Coming to the UK

Google TV launched in the US back in 2010 now it’s the UK’s turn, with one of the first products to arrive being the Sony NSZ-GS7

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Along with the Sony NSZ-GP9 network Blu-ray player, the Sony NSZ-GS7 Google TV set-top box will be among the first UK products featuring the search engine giant’s TV service ( we still don’t know when the LG Google TV will be arriving).  We were recently treated to a brief demo of the service but it’s only now that we’ve had the chance to get our hands on the box itself and the innovative remote at Sony’s HQ in Tokyo.

The Google TV box can be connected to your TV via HDMI and enables you to watch broadcast TV (via a set-top box), use apps and browse the web, displaying more than one function on the screen at any one time. All TVs in the Sony Bravia range for 2012 will be upgradable to Google TV using the NSZ-GS7 box.

Sony NSZ-GS7 Google TV box: Build

The box itself is very small and compact, sporting a minimalist design, although it’s bigger than the likes of Apple TV. The black chassis sports a textured dimpled design that’s been designed to match the bezel of the EX650 TV range (available in 22, 26, 32 40 and 46-inch screen sizes).

Sony NSZ-GS7 Google TV box: Features

Running Android 3.1 Honeycomb, the NSZ-G37 incorporates Google Search and Chrome for easy web browsing. Bookmarks can be added and it’s also possible to add shortcuts to the homescreen, as you would on an Android phone or tablet. We’re told that the Google TV box will automatically update to Ice Cream Sandwich once it’s available.

The box has 4GB of built-in storage, although this is just for software updates and apps, and not for storing content. The NSZ-G37 supports both HD and 3D content.

Sony NSZ-G37: Remote

The Sony Google TV remote certainly looks impressive, and is different to Sony’s US Google TV remote. Along with a backlit QWERTY keyboard, it offers a touchpad (including pinch zoom for web browsing) and 3-axis motion control and can also be used as universal remote for basic functions on the latest Sony TVs.

Powered by two AA batteries, the remote fits neatly in the hand for one-handed control, while flipping the remote over to use the QWERTY keyboard is better suited to two-handed use (the QWERTY buttons won’t work while you’re holding the remote the other way up, so there’s no need to worry about pressing them accidentally). There’s also a mic input to enable voice search, although voice recognition is currently only available on the Sony NSZ-GP9 Blu-ray player.

You’ll also be able to perform basic functions on the both the NSZ-G37 and the NSZ-GP9 Blu-ray player, using the latest Bravia remote controls.

Sony NSZ-GS7 Google TV box: Apps

Unlike the first generation of Google TVs, the Sony Google TV box will offer full access to the Android market, including a selection of TV-optimized apps. We’re told told that the there should be a substantial selection of TV-centric apps available at launch as they’re actually relatively easy to put together.

For apps that already exist for other Android platforms, most of the work is already done – developers merely need to port them across with larger images and text to fit the TV screen, and they don’t need to worry about touchscreen functionality and for tablet developers – the apps are already TV-friendly 16:9.

We don’t know exactly which apps will be available at launch, but the boffins at Sony told us to expect apps from “all the big content providers”.

There will also be integration for games across different devices, both Android and Apple iOS, and you’ll also be able to ‘throw’ the website on your mobile device to your TV and vice versa.

Sony NSZ-GS7: Verdict

On first impressions, the Sony NSZ-GS7 Google TV box itself fits in well with Sony’s design theme, so it’ll match any other Sony AV kit nicely. The remote is extremely impressive, as the designers have clearly had to cram a hell of a lot of functions into a relatively small device.

Overall, the Google TV experience appeared to be simple and zippy, much like the slick interfaces that we’ve become used to seeing on tablets, rather than the somewhat clunky internet TV options that have appeared over the last few years, so we look forward to seeing Sony’s Google TV offering when it’s fully operational (we’ve been told that the products will launch in the summer).

Although we managed to get our mitts on the product for a limited amount of time, we haven’t been able to give it a full run-through so stay tuned for a full review.

Sony NSZ-GS7 Google TV box: Summer 2012

Sony NSZ-GS7 Google TV box: TBC


Sony has a new leader

Sony’s first ever non-Japanese CEO Howard Stringer has announced he is to step down as the company prepares for its fourth year of net losses.

Stringer will step down on 1 April after six years in the role and will be replaced by

Image representing Sony as depicted in CrunchBase

executive deputy president Kazuo Hirai. Welsh-born Stringer will stay on as chairman of the electronics giant.

Sony is forecasting a 90 billion yen (£750m) loss for the current financial year, as it struggles to compete with rivals such as Apple and Samsung in the electronics space.

Hirai was recommended to the chief executive role by Stringer, who said his “tough-mindedness and leadership skills” will help to lead Sony’s turnaround strategy, which is thought to include focusing on its core products: cameras, TVs, smartphones and games.

He is currently leading the team integrating Ericsson into the company, following Sony’s estimated £1bn acquisition of the Finnish mobile business.

Hirai says: “The foundations are now firmly in place for the new management team and me to fully leverage Sony’s diverse electronics product portfolio, in conjunction with our rich entertainment assets and growing array of networked services, to engage with our customers around the world in new and exciting ways.”

Sony is due to announce its third quarter results on Thursday (2 February), where it will also give more details as to the reasons behind its management changes.

As well as presiding over four years of losses at Sony, recently Stringer has also had to communicate a global data hack to its PlayStation network and a restructure of its TV division to arrest the department’s losses.


The Next Generation of Television

More and more TV’s at CES 2012 were showing off that their TV has internet. People want internet on TV and want apps to go along with it. Apple TV is something that is rumoured to be coming out in the Television Market. Apple TV and Google TV will be competing against each other just as they are in the mobile market at the present. We all know how effective Apple are in their marketing campaigns, Apple does offer an interface that is smooth and user friendly. For example products like iPad and iPhones have that smooth and user friendly interface.

Image representing Apple TV as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Google TV will be an interesting piece of technolgy because they have more online services than Apple. Google TV can offer what they always have, integration of all its services in one place. Google TV can bej ust like Google on the web with services like GMail, Google+ and the search engine integrated into one place for convenience. The brand offers even more by making books, documents, Android apps, movies and other stuff available on its TV. Many people in a few years time will be able to watch a programme/movie on the TV while using Facebook/Twitter/Google+ alongside it on the screen or the touchscreen tablet that replaces the remote.

The TV remote is also a peice of technology which is going to change to something more interesting. You ever heard of tablets? Of course you have because tablets are going through a demanding phase in the consumer market. Tablets will be the remote control to TV’s to make it easier for the user to type text, read information about a programme/movie or find out from a socail network how many are watching what you are.

Google TV and Apple TV will not be the only companies in the future television market but some such as Sony are behind in grabbing this opportunity for the future. That alone said it is likely that Google TV and Apple TV will be the major brands selling TV’s in the next generation and be fierce competitors for each other and build a barrier to new entrants in the market.

Social Networking Sites Vulnerable to Cyber Attacks

Cyber attacks are not something new because we have seen Sony, Sega and many others get hacked. Sony is a large coperation recognised throughout the world and even they experienced cyber attacks on their PSN (Playstation Network) for the Playstation 3. What is even more amazing and shocking to hear is that they experienced more than one attack and lost total control of the user information they had obtained. Many users details were out in the open and the only thing the Sony public relations department could do to limit the damges was to offer some free games on the PSN. Many users must have been outraged and wondering what type of security Sony had in place to ensure safety for its products/services and its target market. What made it even more funny was that a large coperation like Sony could only limit the damge to its brand image by giving away a few free games per user. Sorry but you need to try harder!

Social Networking sites are now in danger of being future targets for obtaining information that is very expensive in the world of business for any organisation. In the modern world anything can happen and in the online universe everything is possible. It is only a matter of time when we as users will turn on the television in the early morning only jus to find out that Facebook, Twitter or any other social network has been hacked. A cyber attack to a social networking website with a large number of users can and maybe will cause a huge panic because many of us do not want our information being sold to businesses that may target us. In other cases users do not want information being used to commit a ‘stolen identiy’ crime where they may register your name to obtain money furthmore anything else that may cause ones life  to be a nightmare.

Computers with software may be able to protect users from attacks but social networks where you have no control of the core websites security can be an issue if an up-to-date security is not integrated by the organisation. Mobiles and Tablets have been on the increase and in 2012 they will be even more easier targets for obtaining user information.