With the arrival of Chromecast, it was inevitable that TV manufacturers would jump on the streaming dongle bandwagon, and it looks as though Sony is the first to release its copycat streaming product.
What Is the Sony Bravia Smart Stick?
The Smart Stick is a dongle (like Chromecast) that works with your HDTV (just like Chromecast). The Smart Stick plugs into your TV’s HDMI port and includes Google TV software, which basically turns your basic Sony Bravia into a smart TV.
Although very Chromecast-like, the device is more like an Apple TV or Roku box. Google TV includes Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Instant, Vudu, Crackle, and more (Google Play works, too). It includes a remote control and other Google TV features (like voice-search support and picture-in-picture, which allows a user to see a browser in one window and TV in another). The Smart Stick runs both Google TV and Sony’s own Bravia apps. Since it is a Google TV device, it can install and run Android apps as well.
Sony Bravia Smart Stick versus Chromecast
So, the Smart Stick sounds cool, but here’s the catch. The Smart Stick is priced at $149 (whoa!) and only works with Sony’s 2013 Bravia line of televisions (double-whoa!).
This raises the question: Why would anyone pay this much for a device that is probably identical to the Chromecast (a $35 device)? The truth is we don’t really know what’s going to be included with the Smart Stick. But the fact that Sony is building Smart Sticks — and copying Chromecast — creates even more questions. Is this the end of the “smart” era of TVs? Will TVs be simply high-end monitors from now on?
With Sony (and Samsung) rushing to upgrade their TVs with Internet capabilities, it’s just a matter of time before all manufactures follow suit (and don’t forget the new and improved Apple TV coming hopefully soon).