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Google TV to jump across the pond to Europe

Two Sony devices hosting the Web giant's television software platform are to be sold in a handful of European countries starting this September.

Despite being plagued with high prices, low sales, and difficulty with program distribution in the U.S., Google TV is expanding to Europe. Come September, Sony will sell Google TV-based products in Europe, according to GigaOM via a translation of a Les Echos article.

Slated to go on sale in France, Spain, Germany, and the U.K. are two devices: a set-top box costing 200 Euros ($266) and an integrated Blu-ray player for 300 euros ($399), according to GigaOM.

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt announced Google TV's rollout to Europe last August and Sony confirmed that two Google TV-compatible set-top boxes would go international during January's Consumer Electronics Show.

"We seek to support the content industry by providing an open platform for the next generation of TV to evolve, the same way Android is an open platform for the next generation of mobile," Schmidt said during his August announcement.

The Web giant's television software platform was designed to add the Web to conventional television-watching experiences by integrating users' TV sets with Internet, cable, and satellite hookups. Features of Google TV include being able to use a smartphone as a remote control, searching the Internet on the TV while watching a show, and creating a home page with app launch icons and TV channels.

The remote controls for the new Sony boxes to sell in Europe will reportedly pick up voice commands to operate the box and have a Google Play button that will connect directly to Google's app and content store, according to GigaOM. Also, the boxes will have Sony's own offerings, such as Music Unlimited, which users may appreciate since Google just recently pulled the plug on Google Music as a standalone service.