Following its beleaguered launch in the US last October, Google TV is finally to be launched in the UK in the form of a Sony set-top box, which will set consumers back around £200. Whilst the initial US launch was fraught with problems, such as a dodgy user interface, it seems that these have now been solved before roll-out to the rest of the world.
The device was showcased earlier this year at January’s CES and will be available to buy in shops from July 16 2012. However, pre-orders are already being taken and can be placed on Sony’s website; the idea of the box is to give viewers a more personalised TV viewing experience.
Whilst the new product will roll out in the UK first, it’s thought that this will later be followed by Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Netherlands and then Brazil and Mexico.
"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,” said Gildas Pelliet, European Head of Marketing.
"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 with the freedom of the internet and using the familiar Chrome browser"
The remote that comes with the set-top box will be dual-sided, with a touchpad for cursor control on one side and a QUERTY keyboard on the other for search, email, social media updates and so forth. The remote also has a motion sensor for playing games and users can also use their smartphone as a remote with the addition of an app.
The box uses the Google Chrome browser and allows access to popular channels such as YouTube; a variety of apps will also be available from Google Play which will be optimised for TV – it’s thought that these will be added to as time goes on.
A Blu-ray version is about to be launched in the States and it’s expected that this will become available in the UK at some point in the near future. Whilst it’s really not much different to the Smart TVs that are now available to buy, it’s a less expensive way to enjoy similar benefits.Google are also expected to announce their version of the tablet ‘Nexus’ at its I/O Conference later this week.