The Good Integrated TV and Google TV software enables potential access to virtually all video sources media through one interface and search bar; full Chrome browser supports Flash and HTML5 video; includes RF QWERTY remote; built-in Wi-Fi; user interface overlays over TV content from cable/satellite box; can control TV, AV receiver, and cable/satellite box with external IR emitters; Android Market coming in 2011; relatively accurate color performance; sleek design; plenty of power-saving options.
The Bad Poor screen uniformity apparent with many Google TV sources; produces light black levels; some flashing in shadows at times; frustrating touch pad and overlarge keyboard on remote; sparse analog connectivity; major content providers like Hulu, CBS, and ABC are currently blocking Google TV; interface geared toward power users; Google's "universal" search doesn't search Netflix; antiquated Netflix interface; limited app selection at launch; lag and some bugs with current software.
The Bottom Line 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.
Sony Bravia NSX-GT1 series (Google TV)
Aside from actually hooking a PC to your TV, Sony's Internet TV with Google TV, aka the NSX-GT1 series, is the closest you'll likely come today to converging the two devices. That's both an advantage and a disadvantage compared with more conventional Internet-connected TVs, which typically rely on a "walled garden" of apps and streaming services to channel that fire hose of Internet content into discrete, useable streams. On the upside, the Sony's built-in Chrome browser--which behaves basically like the one on your computer, aside from an inability to get video from Hulu and many other sites--opens up the hose very effectively, offering significantly more content than those TVs. On the downside, Google TV threatens to soak users in too many choices, and suffers from many of the same bugs and issues that can make PCs frustrating.
The main difference between this Sony and the two other Google TV products available now, namely the Logitech Revue set-top box and Sony's own NSZ-GT1 Blu-ray player, is integration. The Sony TV builds Google TV right in, delivering the whole caboodle for one price--just add the Internet (cable TV optional). On the hardware side, Sony's compact, thumb-centric remote isn't as easy to use as Logitech's, but the bigger problem to critical viewers will be the TV's mediocre picture quality. While Sony Internet TV is surprisingly affordable for all that it can do, and we're sure Google software will evolve significantly in the coming months, at this point we have a hard time recommending the NSX-GT1 series to anyone aside from early adopters who don't want a dumb monitor.
Series information: We performed a hands-on evaluation of the 46-inch Sony NSX-46GT1, but this review also applies to the other screen sizes in the series. All sizes have identical specs and according to the manufacturer should provide very similar picture quality. The exception is the 24-inch Sony NSX-24GT1, which employs standard LCD backlight technology as opposed to the edge-lit LED backlight used on the larger sizes. For that reason the picture-quality related notes do not apply to the 24-inch model.