This review is primarily of the Sony Internet TV NSZ-GT1 Blu-ray player hardware -- make sure you read our full Google TV review to get a feel for the platform itself!
Sony Internet TV Blu-ray Disc Player with Google TV
- Great QWERTY remote
- Fast Blu-ray Disc loading
- One less set-top box under the TV
- Won't pass 5.1 surround sound
- No integration between Blu-ray and Google TV
- No support for 3rd party programmable remote
There are a total of four USB ports (one on the front) which comes in handy for external drives and maybe even accessories down the road -- althoug not surprisingly, the Logitech USB camera for the Revue doesn't work with the Sony. The Sony also lacks the built-in IR emitters of the Revue -- there's a wired two-headed IR blaster, but after using the Revue's built-in emitters we much prefer them to stringing IR blaster cables. This all brings us straight to our biggest complaint: there's also no IR receiver. This is a definite deal breaker for some -- you can't use a universal remote or home automation controller to control the player while watching Blu-ray discs. This wouldn't be a big deal if the included QWERTY remote had better Blu-ray player control buttons, but as it stands right now, it isn't exactly enjoyable to navigate your favorite movie.
The Internet TV Blu-ray player has most of the features we've come to expect from a modern Blu-ray player, like the ability to bitstream all the latest lossless codecs, resume non-BD-J titles, and, of course, playing back discs, including interactive BD-J content. But if you were hoping for a tightly integrated Google TV and Blu-ray playback experience, we're sorry to smash your dreams: there's almost no integration whatsoever. At the least this is simply annoying, but at the most it can be extremely frustrating: you can't eject a disc while watching TV, for example -- you have to first go to the Disc Player application, and then hit eject. You also can't use Dual View while you're watching a Blu-ray disc, and switching to anything else is basically like stopping the disc, which isn't good considering most Blu-ray Discs won't resume after stop thanks to a deficiency in the design of the Blu-ray interactive platform. Luckily when you hit the Home button on the remote you are warned, but sadly hitting the Top Menu button without holding down the FN key at the same time will take you straight to your cable box's guide without a warning. This is just one of many examples of why the QWERTY remote doesn't make a good Blu-ray remote -- a problem that's exacerbated by the lack of an IR receiver, since you can't use a universal remote. HDMI-CEC is supported though, so you should be able to use your TV's remote to control playback.
The built in DLNA client wasn't anything to write home about, and was just as mediocre as most of the other slow DLNA clients we've played with. Overall it works, which makes it a useful feature when you don't care about anything except having a way to consume your pictures and music. The one problem we did have was playing a song and then trying to hit the TV button, only to find the music was playing over the TV's audio. It took us a second to figure out to go back in and stop it first, but it wasn't the end of the world or anything.
We're sad to say that the lack of IR sensor to use a universal remote and the inability to pass 5.1 surround sound from our DVR makes this box all but useless to us. Of course we recognize that not everyone has a programmable remote and a surround sound system, but we suspect those people could care less about Blu-ray playback as well. While Sony might improve some of this with firmware updates, at $400 we'd recommend you instead buy a $300 Logitech Revue and stand-alone Sony BDP-S570 Blu-ray player if you're looking to add Google TV to your setup. Sure it'll run you almost $100 more than the Sony Internet TV Blu-ray Disc Player, but we think it's worth the extra Benjamin -- and input switching -- to enjoy real surround sound and use a modern programmable remote.