Sony's Smart Stick is a £100 smart TV dongle for Bravias

Sony's new gadget adds smart TV features to your boring old Bravia, but it's far more expensive than similar alternatives from Google and Sky.

Sony's new Smart Stick dongle will let you add smart TV features -- apps and video streaming over the Internet, powered by Android -- to any TV with an HDMI port. But it's more than four times the price of Google's very similar Chromecast stick -- and 10 times Sky's Now TV Box.

The Smart Stick will cost $150 (around £95), according to Variety, whereas Google's smart TV gadget is just $35 (£22). Both are based on the Google TV system, a version of Android built for tellies that has so far failed to set the world on fire.

Most of the reason for the price difference is Sony's Qwerty remote control , which we saw at CES last year. Here's a video Luke made of it:

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Weirdly, the Smart Stick appears to only work with Sony Bravia TVs too. It does have more features than Chromecast though, allowing you to plug in your set-top box via HDMI and browse the Web in a little window while you're watching TV.

The Japanese company also has more services -- US companies such as Amazon, Walmart, Verizon and AOL are all onboard, as well as its own Crackle and Video Unlimited -- but Chromecast has the big hitters: Netflix and YouTube, of course, as well as the Google Play rental store.

There's no word on whether the Smart Stick will come to the UK, but the US-centric service lineup indicates it's probably some way away. Chromecast still has no official UK launch date.

It's similar to the Vita TV we saw last week, which is similarly shunning Britain, in its case to focus on Asia. As well as Sony's suite of video streaming stores, the Vita TV lets you play downloaded Vita games and stream from your PlayStation. It comes with a DualShock 3 controller.

If you're looking for a way of getting BBC iPlayer and other catch-up services on your non-smart TV, Sky's Now TV Box comes with its own remote and costs just £10, thanks to a hefty subsidy from Murdoch and co. The only catch is it doesn't have Netflix or LoveFilm -- Sky wants you to use its Now TV service for that kind of thing.

How have you got the Internet going on your telly? Which services do you use the most? Would you buy a Sony dongle if it was more reasonably priced? Stream your consciousness into the comments below, or onto our well-connected Facebook wall.

 

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