It’s been something of a labour of love for Google, this whole TV thing. While Google TV is already up and running in the US, its European launch has been hampered by a number of factors – getting ditched by its original hardware partner Logitech for one. And the fact that a handful of major networks refused to license their content. Now Schmidt and his team have turned to the global hardware (and slightly hard-up) giant Sony to have another pop.
The Google TV device will launch in the UK – the first stop on Google’s European agenda – in July and retail at around £200. An ambitious price point, more than double the amount Apple is charging for its TV widget. And Google hasn’t done this baby any favours with its name, either: NSZ-GS7 is hardly ‘catchy’.
What do you get for your money? Internet streaming through your telly box. Access Youtube, Flickr, search using Chrome, or even check your email through a single set-top device. ‘I can do that with a laptop and an HDMI port,’ we hear you cry. Well, Google TV comes with an eighties-sized remote control with a full QWERTY keyboard on the back too. Ctrl, Alt, Channel 4? Now, that’s a gadget.
And this is just the first iteration. A Blu-ray version with come out around October time, allowing users to watch HD video from online movie sites. The NSZ-GS7 mark II will set you back £300.
But before you decide to pimp your TV, it’s worth knowing that reviews of the technology so far aren’t great. ‘The NSZ-GS7 makes your TV about one and a half times as useful and about ten times as complicated—a poor trade,’ says Gizmodo. ‘The Sony NSZ-GS7 has sleek hardware and an innovative remote, but it's hampered by the still too-limited and frustrating Google TV software,’ states CNET.
And MT has to ask, does checking your Twitter account on a massive screen add any value? Really? Or maybe we’re just reluctant to lose our last remaining ‘lean back’ technology to the pantheon of ‘lean forward’ technologies demanding our attention. TV’s never sounded less relaxing…