Review: Sony Google TV NSZ-GS7

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A few weeks back, I picked up a Sony NSZ-GS7 Google TV unit.  Here is the review!

NSZGS7 1

Sony’s entrant to the Google TV market is the NSZ-GS7 Internet Player with Google TV.  I recently had two first-generation Apple TV’s die on me (the power supply seems to have failed in both) and I wanted to try out Sony’s answer to the Google TV when replacing one of them.  The main draw to me was the prospect of integrating an improved channel guide and universal remote capabilities with my 6 year old Sony 60” TV and my DIRECTV receiver, as well as to open up some Android apps such as the IP camera viewer and Chrome.  Before we get into how this is working out in my home network, let’s see what Sony says about this product.

TV will never be the same.

What’s on TV? It’s completely up to you. Find what you’re craving with instant access to shows on live TV, streaming content, made-for-TV apps and Google Chrome™. Take control of your entertainment with an intuitive new remote that features a touchpad and backlit keyboard for easy operation. One box, unlimited entertainment.

Enjoy live TV, movies and more.

The TV & Movies app is the easiest way to find the best entertainment available. Choose what you want to watch exactly when you want to watch it—comedy or drama, live or streaming, right now or this Friday night. Devour the content you crave, from broadcast shows to cat videos and everything in between.

More apps, more choices.

A host of made-for-TV apps like Netflix®, Pandora® and Twitter® are pre-installed on your Google TV right out of the box. Want more? Download an endless variety of apps in the Google Play Store™. You’ll find video, music, games, social networking and news apps—just like the ones on your smartphone. Very convenient.

Remote control like no other.

You’ve never seen a remote quite like this. With a large touchpad on one side and a full keyboard on the other, it’s optimized for ease of use. The clickable touchpad works just like the one on your laptop, with one-handed operation plus pinch-and-pull for zoom control. Flip it over and you’ll find a backlit QWERTY keyboard. There’s also a 3-Axis motion sensor for gaming.

Find content quickly and easily.

Browse everything that’s playing right now—whether it’s on live TV, or available through an online service like Netflix. With Google search built right into your TV, you can cross-search results from your cable provider, the internet, apps and more to instantly find the content you crave.

Browse the web on the big screen.

Experience your favorite websites on a grand scale with the built-in Google Chrome™ browser designed for speed, simplicity and efficiency. And because it features a Flash Media Player, you can view Flash-based video sites for endless video content and engaging interactivity. Auto updates ensure added security.

And watch this video overview.

And now onto the review!

Hardware

The Sony Google TV is based on a Honeycomb build of Android, so this is running and ARM processor, similar to the Apple TV.  It is a small box that connects between your cable/satellite box and your TV or receiver.  This is nice as it does not take up an HDMI slot, and since it passes the receiver signal through the box, the receiver can operate with the Sony Google TV powered off.  There is a small power supply that hangs off of the back, and this unit supports Wi-Fi as well as ethernet connections.  I connected this device to my network via both Wi-Fi and ethernet, but left it connected to ethernet for general use as I had an extra port behind the TV.  It measures (W x H x D) : 8 x 1.3 x 5.1 in (204 x 35 x 130mm) and weighs about 1.3 pounds, very small.  It stacked on top of my DIRECTV receiver and looks right at home in my home entertainment center.

The remote is pretty confusing to use, and even though it is backlit, the buttons on the back side are hard to read in the dark.