What will quite arguably be the most powerful Internet-connected TV we've ever seen will actually be one of the most affordable. And it's from Sony. Crazy!!
We're at a special event space in New York where Sony has just unveiled the simply-titled Sony Internet TV. I know what you're thinking - I've got a TV that can connect to the Internet already. I can watch Netflix, YouTube, and all kinds of other awesome stuff. But I guarantee that whatever TV you have right now, you cannot actually browse the complete World Wide Web. That's right - the Sony Internet TV has a built-in Chrome browser, with complete unfettered access to the Internet. Never before has a TV manufacturer tried such a bold move.
Also bold about Sony's announcement is the rapid release schedule. It will actually be available in Sony Style retail stores this weekend. And pre-orders have opened up right now. The TVs are available in four sizes, ranging from 24 to 46 inches. The entry-level price? $599. For the top-end 46-inch model it's only $1399. That's pretty competitive with other IPTVs on the market right now, but keep in mind these TVs cannot produce 3D content.
To better control the Internet access at their disposal, users also must use a special remote "Keypad," a revolutionary new TV remote control - which actually borrows design elements from the PS3 controller - with a built-in Qwerty keyboard.
Oh, and what else? This is a Google TV after all....
Far and away, the coolest feature we saw was universal searching. Type in "NFL" while you're watching a show, and not only will you get local TV listings for the next NFL match, you'll get results for any "NFL" recordings you have on your DVR, the ability to instantly do a Google search for "NFL," or search your favorite social networking site to see what people are saying about the NFL. And if there's any sort of NFL events going on in your area, you'll get results for that too. All of this happens while the TV show you're watching remains on the screen.
We're about to get a full hands-on test with the cool new TV and will come back later with a full report. But our initial impressions - great value, awesome execution...but no 3D, and it sucks for anyone who's bought into all the TV hype over the last several months. But for those guys, Sony is also releasing a new Blu-ray player for $300 that also offers all the same connectivity. But you won't have the coolness factor of having it all powered from your TV.