Sony launches Google TVs

Sony yesterday launched a new line of television sets integrated with Google TV, but faces tough competition from rivals including Apple.
Sony will launch four Google-enabled TV sets and one Blu-Ray player this month, each running the Android operating system, Google’s Chrome browser and pre-installed apps including Twitter, YouTube, Netflix and Pandora.
The HD TVs cost between $600 (€429) for a 24” model to $1,400 for a 46” version, while the BluRay player will retail for $400.
Google TV – a joint initiative between Google, Sony and Intel – was unveiled in March. The specifications include a browser capable of searching both the internet and live TV.
Early reaction to the Google TV lineup has been positive, but commentators have stated that the specially-designed remote control, which sports a full qwerty keyboard as well as regular TV controls, looks old-fashioned and overly complicated.
Google and Sony face competition from Apple, which launched its revamped Apple TV box last week, and Roku, which put a new line of HD boxes on sale last month.
Apple offers movie and TV show rentals, access to YouTube, Flikr internet radio, Netflix, and access to iTunes, while Roku includes content from Netflix, Pandora and more little-known content providers such as YuppTV and Roxwell.

Each product has strengths and weaknesses. Apple TV and Roku lack full-featured internet browsers, while Google TV lacks many of the Netflix features seen in the competing offerings.