Sony plans to offer connected set-top-box, remote control across Europe priced at €200. Google TV is to launch in the U.K. for the first time in July, nearly two years after it made its bumpy U.S. debut.
The news emerged on Monday via a press release from Sony, which detailed plans to begin selling its Google TV-powered Internet Player in a number of markets outside the U.S., starting with the U.K., and then rolling out in Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Netherlands, Brazil, and Mexico.
Priced at £200 or €200, Sony’s NSZ-GS7 allows customers to use Google Chrome to search and browse for TV and Web content, and use Google Play to access specially designed apps. The set-top-box also comes with a dual-sided remote control that on one side is a TV remote augmented by a trackpad, and on the other a full QWERTY keyboard. A free app, called Media Remote, also turns the user’s smartphone or tablet into a fully-fledged Google TV remote.
“Expanding the reach and interoperability of the powerful Android platform with Sony’s smartphones, tablets and renowned Audio & Video products, we are proud to continue our relationship with Google through the introduction of the new Google TV Internet Player,” declared Gildas Pelliet, European head of marketing at Sony, in a statement. “Entertainment content is available through so many channels and sites, and Google TV helps consumers easily find what they want to watch, listen or play.”
Google meanwhile will be hoping its Web TV service gets off to a better start in the U.K. than it did in the U.S. Within a week of launching, three TV networks blocked Google TV customers from accessing catch-up TV content hosted on their Websites.
Google TV’s early days were also plagued by software issues that were particularly damaging to hardware partner Logitech, which booked a $34 million charge in Q3 2011 on price cuts related to its Google set-top-box, the Logitech Revue. That, combined with a stretch of poor overall financial performances, cost then chief executive Gerald Quindlen his job a month later.
Bill Scott, chief operating and commercial officer of connected TV specialist easelTV, said Google needs to overcome three fundamental issues in order to truly shake up the TV market: resolve tensions with content owners; provide a seamless experience across Internet and traditional broadcast TV; and drive the rollout of affordable devices from multiple vendors.