Sony unveils ‘connected’ TVs using Google platform

* TVs range from $600-$1,400, Blu-ray set-top box for $400

* Built on Google’s Android, feature Intel chips

* Internet TVs have yet to catch on with consumers

By Gabriel Madway

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 12 (BestGrowthStock) – Sony Corp (6758.T: ) is
making its biggest push yet into so-called connected
televisions, unveiling a line of Google-enhanced sets that aim
to fuse TV and Web content together in the living room.

The electronics giant on Tuesday announced high-definition
TVs that also allow users to surf the Internet, use apps,
stream online content and better organize and search
programming.

It remains to be seen whether consumers will be interested.
Previous attempts to bring the online experience to TV have so
far failed to impress.

But Sony, with the aid of Google’s brand awareness and what
it called a massive marketing campaign aimed at younger
consumers, hopes to convince buyers that the Web and TV can
coexist simply in one device.

“There’s a lot of folks out there who want to see something
more out of their TV,” said Jeff Goldstein, vice president of
connected home products and services for Sony Electronics.

“I think the adoption rate on this type of device is going
to be very fast,” he said.

Forrester Research expects 43 million U.S. homes to have a
connected TV by 2015, up from fewer than 2 million in 2010. The
research group said earlier offerings have not been powerful
enough, and said many people who currently own Internet TVs
never bother to connect them.

Sony’s Internet TVs, which come Wi-Fi-ready to connect to
broadband networks, are built on Google’s Android platform and
feature Intel’s Atom chip.

They start at $600 for a 24-inch model and range up to
$1,400 for a 46-inch. Sony is also launching a $400 set-top box
that has the same functionality as the TVs, and also includes a
Blu-ray player.

The products go on sale Saturday at Sony retail outlets,
and will be sold at Best Buy (BBY.N: ) stores shortly after.
Until after the holiday season, the Internet TVs will be
available only in the United States.

The TVs and set-top box come with a novel hybrid remote
control, a two-hand device that features an optical mouse and a
QWERTY keyboard.

The key facet of Google TV is a search box that accesses
Google’s search engine to scan live programs, DVR recordings
and the Web, delivering a simple list of results that can be
accessed with a push of the button.[ID:nN20140090]

Users can toggle between live TV, Web content or apps from
familiar names like Pandora, YouTube, Twitter and the NBA. The
TV feed can be locked in a corner of the screen, so viewers can
surf and watch at the same time.

Apps from the Google’s Android Marketplace, optimized to
run on TVs, are expected to be available early next year.

Google is partnering with Sony and others as it aims to
expand its ad search business beyond its Internet stronghold
into the $70 billion TV advertising market.

Last week, Logitech International SA (LOGN.VX: ) showed off
its $300 set-top box for Google TV. [ID:nN06282907]
(Reporting by Gabriel Madway; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

Sony unveils ‘connected’ TVs using Google platform