If you like your big flat screen TV but are drooling over those new ‘Smart TVs, then the Sony Google Media Box is a great way to upgrade your perfectly good TV to a smart TV. This media box is one-size fits all, which will add a lot of capability to virtually any TV. It is the only current set-top box that supports Google TV plus it opens your TV to all the vast number of Android apps that already exist. Just like many smart TVs, it allows you to do multiple things on your TV at the same time – surf the web, watch live TV, and play a YouTube video.
I know the last thing you need is yet another remote but it comes with a fantastic “double sided” remote with a large touchpad and a full keyboard. It can become a universal remote so you don’t need to add yet another remote to the pile. This double sided remote is also pretty smart as it knows which side is up, and so if your fingers accidentally touch whatever is on the bottom side it won’t activate those commands. The controls are modeled after the buttons on an Android mobile phone and the apps work just the same as they do on your smart phone.
The track pad lets you pinch your fingers like on a tablet to zoom in and out. It has a Qwerty keyboard that makes it easy to surf the web or do any typing needed by the myriad of apps. You can also download a Sony Media Remote app on to your smart phone or tablet that will also let you control your media box and TV. This app will even throw anything that you are looking at on your smart phone or tablet on to your TV.
Opening an app on your TV will take over the entire screen of the TV, just like it does on a tablet or smart phone. If you like, you can also use the split screen button on your remote to show multiple things on your TV. You can set up your favourite apps which show up when you hit the home button on your remote making it easy to find the ones that you use most often. It comes with YouTube, Chrome, Google Play, your Photos, and the Sony Entertainment Network store as the default favourites but you can change that to whatever you like.
With the ability to surf the web using Google Chrome, there are many cool things you can do. For instance, you can watch live TV and in a pop-up window browse the web while you are watching. This allows you to keep watching a film while you Google who the particular actor is, or see statistics of an athlete that you are watching on TV. You can also tweet about something you are watching while you continue to watch it, or hit Facebook while all while not turning off the program. The other nice thing is you can resize and move the picture in picture window to adjust what you are watching.
Google Play is an online app emporium that you can use on your TV to play games, see local or international news, play music, access financial information and stock tickers, stream movies or TV programs, watch previews, and so much more. There aren’t as many apps available as you will find on the Apple platform but there are so many great apps so you will find anything you need. Also, there are more and more being added all the time.
Overall this is a nice looking media box that will add a lot of capability to your TV, at a pretty low cost. It has ports for an HDMI connection, two USB ports, built-in wifi, and an Ethernet jack. This is a great little box that is guaranteed to smarten up your TV and make the viewing experience more enjoyable!