Oct 13th, 2010

Sony Internet TV was just announced, and while it’s awesome, it’s mostly awesome because of what Google TV brings to the table. The four actual TVs are nice and all, and the Blu-Ray player is great, but it’s what Google TV allows you to do that makes them great. So what separates Sony Internet Television from other Google TV offerings like the Logitech Revue?

The remote.

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The design of the Sony Internet TV remote was modeled after the Sony Playstation 3 controller and it isn’t surprising – this thing makes operating your TV fun and almost game like. The navigation is natural, and while a few nuances take a bit getting used to, mostly anyone who has played Playstation or XBOX will jump right into the experience and forget that learning curves exist.

Check out how familiar this looks/feels in the hand:

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Just like a gaming controller, each hand clutches a side of this remote with your thumbs doing most of the work. The layout is compact enough so that you can easily reach every button yet large and spacious enough so that typos and mistakes are pretty much non-existent.

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The bulk of the main area is taken up by the full QWERTY keyboard which I absolutely loved. Get familiar with that little dedicated search button in the lower left, because with the Omnibox searching everything from the TV Schedule and your DVR to the web and YouTube, you’ll find yourself using it an awful lot. That’s part of what makes the Google TV experience so great… browsing TV is redefined into a Matrix-like experience with tons of options flying by you, selecting whatever you desire.

On the top left you’ll see the D-Pad which allows you to navigate through menus and options. On the top right you’ll see Android’s familiar Home, Menu and Back buttons along with a fourth “Dual View” button that, for all intents and purposes, provides picture-in-picture with whatever you’re currently doing. Those buttons encompass a trackpad that allows you to operate a mouse for clicking and selecting links and actions that require a bit more precision. I’m hoping you can change the tracking of the mouse to speed it up a bit as it was a tad slow for my liking, but that’s a minor complaint.

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The top of the remote has L1 and R1 trigger or bumperish buttons. These buttons are supposedly to aid in scrolling (the left side) and zooming (the right side) but I never found an instance where I was manipulating them properly. Even so, I can anticipate they’ll be used quite often and their placement, because of the similarity with gaming, makes them pretty impeccable.

If you were to look at pictures of the remote itself you might not realize how perfectly sized it is. We pulled out the Nexus One and took a mini-photoshoot comparing the two so you could size it up at a few different angles and we think you’ll agree – especially when you get it in your hand – that it has the makings of an awesomely fun TV experience.

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Just like many other gaming remotes, this bad boy is powered by your regular old Double A batteries and actually, a picture of the back battery pack opened up also gives a good indication of the size:

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Beau-tee-full.

Keep in mind that this remote, at least with the Sony TV experience and Dish TV, works with RFID. That means no matter where the remote is or which way it’s pointed, your actions are still going to properly control the TV. No more pointing your infrared laser at just the right angle or trying to bounce it off walls.

If you ask me, this is hands down the Best TV Remote in the World. The Sony Internet TV Remote is an awesome piece of hardware that simply gets it right. The size is just right, the layout is familiar and usable, the QWERTY is large and spacious, yet the total package is compact and simple. It’s organized in a way that you will likely feel like you’re riding a bike and just start Googling and navigating away, but for those who need a helping hand, this remote doesn’t seem overwhelming or complex. Getting the hang of it is simple.

I’m 98% sure I’ll end up either buying one of the medium sized Sony Internet TVs or at least the Blu-Ray player, simply because I want the remote so bad. I think it will optimize my experience with Google TV. If you’re in need of a TV anyways I would strongly consider buying the Sony Internet TVs and if you don’t yet have a Blu-Ray player, you should snag this one because it just became the best Blu-Ray player on the market. It’s tough to explain without sounding geeky, but I love this remote and along with Google TV it is – in my opinion – the World’s Best TV Remote. At least for the time being.

By the way… when and if Sony starts including Google TV with their PS3 and next gen consoles? Pshhh… game over. Those things will fly off the shelves like whoa.

local_offer    Google TV  Sony Internet TV