Google TV might be in a bit of a pickle if a Best Buy and Sony sale is any indication. The platform launched a few weeks ago with the Logitech Revue and Sony Internet TV. Both are loaded with the same system and so both are suffering the fate of Big Media’s blockade. It’s a sad story, really. Google TV aimed to bridge the span between subscription-based TV and Internet content, but so far said bridge is still held up by bureaucratic red tape nonsense.
Sony seems to be solving one of the platform’s biggest deal breakers: the price. Google TV units are crazy expensive. The Logitech Revue launched at $300 and that price is still holding strong even at retailers like Amazon amidst nearly site-wide Black Friday sales. It’s the Sony set-top box model that’s uncharacteristically on sale right now even though it’s less than a month old. This doesn’t look so well for Google’s living room takeover plans.
The $400 Blu-ray Google TV mash-up dropped in the middle of October with a $399 MSRP. Traditionally Sony employs a pricing strategy similar to Apple’s in that they price it right the first time and significant price drops only happen when a successor is ready. It’s strange then to see the Sony Internet TV Blu-ray Disc Player’s price already cut by a whopping $100 bringing it down to $299. This doesn’t smell like a Black Friday sort of deal, either. No, the price cut is everywhere from Best Buy to even the unit’s product page.
At least $299 sounds a tad better than $399 seeing how it’s sort of a gimped Blu-ray player anyway with limited outputs and a crazy controller. But it feels like $299 is still too high for either units seeing how most of the novel Google TV features are either controlled by big media or they’re not available right now like Android Apps. At least this price cut — if it is a permanent price cut — makes things a bit easier for the average consumer.
Previously the Logitech Revue, the Sony Blu-ray player Google TV and the Sony LCD Google TV were all at different price points. Now, the set-top versions are $299 with the LCD embedded versions still commanding a premium over the standard sort. In my experience the Sony version seems to be more friendly with different sort of video codecs, but the Logitech Revue uses a somewhat better looking interface skin. Of course they both come with different remotes with the Sony shipping with a PS3-type controller where a full-size keyboard comes the Revue.
There’s still a chance that this lower price won’t stick around. Most of Sony’s Blu-ray line is on sale in the spirit of Black Friday but none share the 25% cut and the $299 price just seems like a natural position for Sony to place the unit if sales aren’t meeting expectations.
Price cuts never speak well to a product’s success and so Google TV may be in some serious trouble here. I already stated along with most every other reviewer that the feature set is half-baked, the units are overpriced, and now this lower price seems to say that consumers aren’t biting even though there’s a commercial for the Sony units nearly every 20 minutes during prime time TV. Sigh. If Google can’t disrupt big media, who can?
Google TV is a new experience made for television that combines the TV you know and love with the freedom and power of the Internet. Watch an overview video below, sign up for updates, and learn more about how to develop for Google TV.