Selecting apps, too, can take some time, as the touchpad on the remote fails to register clicks, and the loading times feel truly delayed.
A lack of speed isn’t all Sony’s Google TV is burdened by, with many of the apps crashing shortly after loading. While our preview model was not an Australian unit, it was a production model for overseas, so it’s safe to assume that the problems associated with the performance will be reflected in the local unit.
Strangely, the long wait times lead us to believe that the hardware hasn’t been spec’d to match the version of Android used here, resulting in less than impressive performance.
The app selection equally doesn’t have much available, with well under a hundred apps listed for download. Some of these include American specific services – such as HBO and Amazon’s video on demand – as well as the service you expect from Google – YouTube – and support for Sony’s two entertainment channels, the Music and Video Unlimited Networks.
In Australia, don’t expect to get either HBO or Amazon working, though Sony’s services do offer the same content we see on the PlayStation, smartphones and tablets on Google TV.
YouTube runs fine, however, although the interface is a bit all over the place, and can leave a lot to be desired. It’s a good thing that the remote features a keyboard and a touchpad, because we’d hate to brown YouTube videos on a generic remote.
Interestingly, while the Google TV box does feature two USB ports for plugging in flash drives or hard drives, the video player wasn’t actually functional, greeting us with a “Coming Soon” message and stopping us from testing local video content that we had downloaded.
Things aren’t much better in the gaming department, with virtually no games available to purchase or download, and those that are there feeling like poorly made demos that a kid would run from in a second.
Overall, we haven’t come away feeling like Google TV is the top notch Apple TV competitor you might expect it to be, with the faults resting on some poor design and sluggish performance.
At the moment, the Google TV box comes free with selected models of Sony Bravia TVs, and that’s probably an acceptable price.
Later in the year, Sony plans to make it available for $349, a price point that we’re not sure we’d agree with.