September 17, 2013 17.56 Europe/London By Robert Briel
Sony is launching a new accessory for its 2013 Bravia television line, the Bravia Smart Stick.
The dongle will turn any Bravia TV set into a smart TV set and make existing smart sets “even smarter”. The stick features Google Chrome search for results from cable and satellite DTH providers, the internet, and thousands of apps. “It’s so smart it integrates into a user’s existing cable or satellite service so there is no need to clumsily switch inputs to enjoy content from either source,” according to a Sony blog.
The smart stick will cost $130 (EUR97) and includes a universal remote, where users can either type or speak into.
The new dongle can connect to a Sony TV set not only through an MHL or HDMI plug, but also via infrared. Owners will also be able to pass through their cable or satellite box connection. Connected this way, users gain picture-in-picture functionality, allowing them to browse the web in full screen while a video plays in a smaller window in the right-hand corner of the TV.
Out of the box, the Smart Stick is pre-installed with apps like Netflix, HuluPlus, Pandora, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, Vudu, Redbox Instant by Verizon, AOL On, and two Sony-owned internet services: Crackle and Video Unlimited on the Sony Entertainment Network, and more. Viewers can personalise their TV experience by adding video, music, games, social networking and news apps from the Google Play Store.
The Bravia Smart Stick’s user interface integrates Google TV and Sony’s own Bravia apps, allowing viewers to stay in a single menu to launch any of their apps, including Bravia apps like the Internet Video Library.
Additionally, the Bravia Smart Stick’s Picture-and-Picture feature allows viewers to surf the web and watch TV at the same time in two independent windows on the television screen, without interfering with one another.
The stiuck is initially only avaiable in the US, where it will compete against the Google Chrome stick, which costs just $35.