Sony internet player with Google TV review
Media streaming set-top boxes are nothing new, but Sony's latest device takes a huge leap from the norm, being the first we've seen to use the Google TV operating system, which is a big-screen version of the Android OS found on smartphones. Available in the US for over a year, this is the first time Google TV has gone on sale in the UK.
At its heart is a heavily modified version of Android 3.2 Honeycomb, which behaves in a similar fashion to a smartphone albeit with more TV-friendly tweaks. A quick-launch bar displays your most frequently used apps and shortcuts along the bottom of the screen, and a picture-in-picture mode lets you browse the web while watching TV.
The app drawer feels very similar to Android and obscures your currently playing program
In addition to the usual Android apps, which include a web browser, image viewer, music player and YouTube player, the NSZ-GS7 also includes Google Play store access. However, it’s a limited version filled only with Google TV-compatible apps, so many popular apps are missing. As this is primarily a streaming box, it should come as no surprise that Netflix is installed as standard, but BBC iPlayer is missing. Instead, you must use the web browser. Because it supports Flash, you have a wider choice of services than you would on a smart TV, but it isn’t as slick as having individual apps for each channel or content provider. Sony’s SEN video services are also present should you not find anything to watch elsewhere.
The shortcut menu is much more useful, appearing as an overlay rather than taking up the whole screen
When it comes to playing your own content, file format support is mixed. We were able to play Full HD WMV and MP4 videos, but couldn’t get native DivX files or MKVs to work. You can search for third-party video players on the Play Store, but we couldn’t find one that would play our files at the time of writing.