Sony gets Google TV right

With prices that don't induce convulsions and no set-top box, the new Google TV-powered Sony's are just in time for the holidays.

While Sony's new line of Google TV/Android-powered televisions aren't cheap, they're not too far out of line with other high-end, full high-definition LED TVs. In fact, at these prices, if I were in the market for a television, the Sonys would be on my short list.

As ZDNet's Home Theater blogger, Sean Portnoy, explained this morning,

Pre-installed apps for the various devices include Netflix, Pandora, Twitter, YouTube, and Sony’s Qriocity streaming-video service. Also promised for later this fall is an app to control Google TV via select Android phones. Additional apps will become available via the Android Market early next year.

It’s obviously yet to be determined whether the Google TV interface will become a breakthrough success, but it looks like Sony’s off to a good start with Internet TV, especially since it hasn’t added its usual large pricing premium on new technology.

It's that last line that will make all the difference. CNN called the 46" TV's $1399 price "hefty", but with the included keyboard/navigation controls, WiFi, and a variety of inputs and outputs, the price makes me want to replace the 42" family TV this Christmas. These prices will make a lot of people want to buy them for the holidays, which, of course, is Sony's intention.

These TVs, with highly competitive features and prices, as well as access to the Web through a modern browser (Google Chrome), easy social media and multimedia integration, and a variety of Android Apps will do for Google TV what the Motorola Droid did for Android phones. If you're buying a television anyway, why wouldn't you want to have YouTube, Pandora, full Web access, Hulu, and Netflix streaming built in?

With Logitech's set-top box, the high price and add-on/set-top form factor will doom it to geek basements. Sony, on the other hand, has essentially just made Android and Web access an expected feature on mid-range flat screen TVs. Competitors will need to add Google TV quickly (and do it elegantly and cheaply) if they want to keep up with Sony for the holidays.

Welcome to the land of web-enabled TV. Now how am I going to convince my wife that our TV needs replacing?