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Sony Bravia Smart Stick is a Google TV Dongle

By - Source: PR | B 10 comments

Sony is cramming Google TV into an HDMI dongle, but it will only be compatible with specific TVs.

Sony is launching an HDMI plug-in adapter of its own, the Bravia Smart Stick. Unlike Google's current Chromecast video streaming device, Sony's solution will be based on a full-featured Google TV platform. Yet unlike Chromecast, it won't cost a mere $35, but a meatier $150 when it hits the market.

The deal with Chromecast is that users take their existing devices and apps like YouTube and Netflix, and "instruct" the Chromecast device to pull a specific video from the Internet and play it on the connected HDTV. Users can even instruct it to pull supported content that's currently visible within a laptop's Chrome browser. Thus typically the only media shuffling is between the Chromecast device and the Internet, not the user's device and the HDTV.

MORE: Best Shows on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Yahoo Right Now

As it stands now, the only apps that support Chromecast are Netflix, YouTube, Google's Play Movies & TV, and Play Music. Other media companies have support in the works including AOL On, HBO Go (good luck with that: HBO can't even update the Android app to 4.3), Hulu Plus, Pandora Radio, Redbox Instant and three others.

Meanwhile, having Google TV on a stick means users can download and install apps directly to the platform. These include Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Instant Video, Walmart's VuDu, Redbox Instant by Verizon, AOL ON, Crackle, Sony's Video Unlimited and loads more. The platform also provides an on-screen TV guide, picture-in-picture, and a dedicated QWERTY remote control so that the user's phone remains just that: a phone and not a makeshift remote control.

Sony's Bravia device was supposedly revealed on Friday in a Sony blog and instruction manual that have since been pulled. The company said it's an MHL dongle that will also include Sony's own Bravia apps, similar to what the company provided in its previous set-top boxes. Currently, it's unknown how much on-board storage this device will provide given that it will have access to Google Play.

Unfortunately, it seems that Sony's Google TV stick will only work on the company's 2013 Bravia TV line. That said, continue on drooling over Google's super-cheap Chromecast as a possible streaming solution, as Sony just kicked itself in the pants with this one. Still, if you're willing to purchase a Sony Google TV product for above $150, the company has the not-so-discreet Internet Player for $169.99.

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  • 0 Hide
    vpoko , September 18, 2013 5:41 PM
    So there's actually something inside this device to detect the type of TV and prevent it from working if it's not a Sony? I can't think of any essential feature a TV should have (other than an HDMI port) that, in its absence, would render this thing useless. If that's really what Sony's doing, dumb move.
  • 0 Hide
    kinggraves , September 18, 2013 6:29 PM
    Sony's always been the type to try and force things along rather than go with common market standards. Either way, there are still numerous Android MiniPCs that have functionality better than Chromecast for a slightly higher price, like $50. Like all Sony products it's overpriced for what it does.
  • 0 Hide
    otacon , September 18, 2013 10:55 PM
    Why people buy this crap is beyond me. Get a Roku3 and be done with it.
  • 1 Hide
    Ryan Klug , September 19, 2013 4:59 AM
    I won't be replacing or augmenting my PlayStation 3 any time soon.
  • 0 Hide
    Murissokah , September 19, 2013 6:44 AM
    Err... so the one reason I could think of for buying this, which is bringing my 2011 Bravia up-to-date, is a no-go?
  • 0 Hide
    Murissokah , September 19, 2013 7:02 AM
    "So there's actually something inside this device to detect the type of TV and prevent it from working if it's not a Sony? I can't think of any essential feature a TV should have (other than an HDMI port) that, in its absence, would render this thing useless. If that's really what Sony's doing, dumb move"

    Thought the same, but then I realised it is an MHL connection. It uses the same physical connector as HDMI, but has added features, such as providing the power needed by the dongle. It is meant to be used with smartphone too.

    There are MHL adapters that may get this dongle to work, though it seems like too much trouble for something that is already more expensive than it should.
  • 0 Hide
    Murissokah , September 19, 2013 7:02 AM
    "So there's actually something inside this device to detect the type of TV and prevent it from working if it's not a Sony? I can't think of any essential feature a TV should have (other than an HDMI port) that, in its absence, would render this thing useless. If that's really what Sony's doing, dumb move"

    Thought the same, but then I realised it is an MHL connection. It uses the same physical connector as HDMI, but has added features, such as providing the power needed by the dongle. It is meant to be used with smartphone too.

    There are MHL adapters that may get this dongle to work, though it seems like too much trouble for something that is already more expensive than it should.
  • 0 Hide
    Murissokah , September 19, 2013 7:03 AM
    Thought the same about the dongle working with other TVs, but then I realised it is an MHL connection. It uses the same physical connector as HDMI, but has added features, such as providing the power needed by the dongle. It is meant to be used with smartphone too.

    There are MHL adapters that may get this dongle to work, though it seems like too much trouble for something that is already more expensive than it should.
  • 0 Hide
    vpoko , September 19, 2013 12:49 PM
    Ahh, thanks Murissokah. I had never even heard of MHL.
  • 0 Hide
    shin0bi272 , September 19, 2013 1:19 PM
    Im not familiar with the location of the HDMI ports on the specific TVs but can we please address the size of this thing? If you have your tv mounted on the wall or in any sort of location where size is a factor how does sony expect you to use this monster? You either have it poking into the wall or out the side of the tv right? What if I cant fit that in my space? or dont want my tv to grow a retarded stubby wing?
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