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First Look: Sony NSX-GT1 series (Google TV)

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First Look: Sony NSX-GT1 series (Google TV)

4:31 /

Easily the most capable Internet-connected TV ever made, Sony's NSX-GT1 series calls for a tech-savvy buyer who can live with Google TV's growing pains, a touchy remote and so-so picture quality.

Hi, I'm David Katzmaier from CNET and I'm with the very first Google TV integrated television. This is the Sony NSX-GT1 Series. This is the 46-inch member of the series. There is also a 40-, a 32-, and a 24-inch member, so all those features the same Google TV functionality. As you may hear Google TV allows you to browse the internet right on your TV using this nifty little remote here. We'll talk about that in a little bit, but first off, we'll tackle the styling on this TV. Google went with what we think is a pretty Apple-inspired look. The edges of this TV are rounded. There is also a white backside. It's an LED TV, so it's pretty thin about 2 inches deep. There is also this wire stand, which is pretty unique. It looks a little unstable, but in practice, it supported our TV just fine. There is no swivel, however, on the stand. The remote is designed to be held in two hands and operated just by the thumbs. There is a touchpad on the right that approximates a mouse, although not quite as well we'd like. We'd found a little bit jumpy and somewhat unresponsive. There is also a standard cursor selector under the left thumb. There is a fair of these shoulder buttons here; one for zoom and one for scroll that we'd really like, and there is also a relatively large QWERTY keypad below that can use to type in information and searches and that sort of things, so all in all, it's a pretty intimidating remote. It does use RF, so you can actually operate the TV without having line of sight, but, all told, we did prepare the Logitech keyboard. Speaking of control, the Sony can also command your AV gear, including an AV receiver and a cable box, so you can search your Cable box listings. You can also, of course, connect an antennae for over the air and the TV does search those relatively well, although for full integration, you're gonna need to connect a disk network DVR that allows DVR search since you cannot search or schedule recording currently with any other devices. A couple of things that separate the Google TV from the current internet connective TV's are the search bar that allows you to search, not only the web, but also of a variety of other connected internet video sources such as Amazon video on-demand. Very disappointed to find, however, that the search does not currently incorporate Netflix, although we do expect Google to add that in the future. There is also a built-in Chrome browser that supports flash that allows you to go to pretty much any website out there. The big restriction, however, is that you cannot currently view video from Google.com or a variety of the network video websites like CBS and NBC. Right now, those sites are blocking Google TV and we really don't expect that to change, so it's not really the full function web browser that it could be, although a lot of the other websites out there like Comedy Central and pbs.org work just fine for video. On the browser, there's a couple of apps that shift on a TV, including NVA and CNBC. We expect future apps to come out for this TV as well, including compatibility with the Android market in 2011 that shouldn't able a whole bunch of different apps on the set. Connectivity on the Sony TV is definitely geared towards digital. There are 4 HDMI connections; 2 on the back and 2 on the sides, as well as 4 USB ports that you can use for future expandability or if you have a USB thumb drive, you can plug in on the side to view video, photos and music. On the other hand, the TV does not currently support a lot of DONA functionality, so if you wanna stream network videos, you might have to wait for that functionality that would be added in the future. Speaking of streaming, the Sony does operate a little bit better if you're using Ethernet port. It does have built-in Wi-Fi, however, if you can't really run the cable to your TV in the living room. Even beyond Google TV, Sony did make this a relatively entry-level model, that means there is now 120 hertz with 3D features, but there are plenty of picture adjustments you can co into the menu and play around with things like white balance camera and picture setting, so we did like those were nicely integrated into regular Google TV interface. Speaking of picture settings, once we did get them dialled in, the color accuracy on this TV was pretty good, but on the flip side, a lot of its other performance aspects were not that great. It does have relatively light black level, so it doesn't have that punchy nice deep black that you see on some other competing models. There is also relatively uneven screen uniformity, so you see brighter edges and some banding on the screen, a relatively faint, but a lot more noticeable on Google TV with its flat fields than all other standard video sources. Other picture quality aspects include the ability to handle [unk] 24 well, which is nice in this glassy screen, which we didn't like quite so much, especially under the lights it did tend to reflect the bright lighting pretty strongly. Overall, Google TV's performance is a little of a mixed bag on the Sony. We did appreciate that response time in most cases, although lag did set in relatively frequently, especially compared to standard TV's that don't have always internet functionality. We did also find that the Wi-Fi was a little bit spotty. Again, we recommend it connecting via Ethernet. That's a quick look at the Sony NSX-GT1 Series with the Google TV, and I'm David Katzmaier.

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