Review: Sony Internet TV Blu-ray Disc Player
The first Google TV Blu-ray player on the market is the Sony NSZ-GT1 ($399) – available only at Sony Style and Best Buy. We were able to get our hands on one, and after a few days of playing around with it, a review is in order.
The physical setup isn’t difficult at all. In the box you’ll find the player, remote, quick guide, HDMI cable, and a twin IR emitter. The player will be connected to your TV or AV receiver with an HDMI cable; the cable or satellite receiver will connect to the HDMI input on the player; and the IR emitter will provide control signals from the player to the cable/satellite receiver and either the TV or AV receiver.
The remote/keypad connects to the player with Bluetooth, but it also has an IR broadcaster to control a TV. If you do have an AV receiver, you will connect the emitter to the receiver and use the remote’s IR broadcaster to control the TV.
Once it is all connected, there is a simple setup wizard to fit the image onto the TV (very cool), internet connection setup, and Google account set up. Once this is done, you’re ready to go.
I had issues with the setup, and I’ll explain them here because I’m sure other people have had the same issues. Best Buy had two “open box” returns in the store here, so clearly somebody had some problems.
First, it took a long time for the internet connection to work. I plugged in an Ethernet cable and when I selected Ethernet as the connection, it sat there “looking for connection” for a good 5 minutes before I gave up. That’s unforgivable. Next I tried Wireless connection, and that pulled up local networks. When I selected my network and put in the password, it too would “search for connection” for a long time. After a few tries, it finally connected and on to the next step, the Google account. However, I accidentally selected on the remote “back” (it’s an icon) instead of “backspace” (also an icon) and it took me back to the internet connection. After a few more tries to connect, I finally got the system set up.
Next up on the problems, the optical sensor for the mouse wasn’t working. It was weird because I would click the button, and I could move the mouse very slowly and awkwardly with the button depressed, but it frankly didn’t work the way it should. I got on support with Sony and after another 15 minutes they finally fixed the issue by re-pairing the Bluetooth.
For a lot of people, setup was quick and easy, but it took me a good two hours to get it set up all told.
To describe the initial use of Google TV in one word: Confusing. In the video, you’ll notice I say “confusing” a few times. For the first few hours of use, I and everyone else who used it was simply confused on how to navigate around the menus, and find what we wanted right away.
But, after a while, and particularly after the cable channels were added, the general opinion changed to “this is actually pretty cool.” I guess when you get used to some of the quirks, and customize a few menus to your liking, everything starts to come together.
I can liken this to Apple and Android. The beauty of Apple is it’s intuitive immediately, but you have to adapt yourself to Apple’s process. With Android, the process adapts to you, and becomes much more personal.
I mentioned in the video I couldn’t figure out how to turn the player on from the remote. When the player is off, the remote seems to be non-responsive. However, when the player is on and you wish to turn it off, the power button works just fine.
It’s an expensive Blu-ray player with a lot of cool features, most importantly the television integration. Most Blu-ray players have the other applications, but the ability to search for what you want at the push of a button is a very cool feature. However, if you don’t watch TV, a PlayStation 3 is $100 cheaper.