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Sony NSZ-GT1 Google TV Blu-ray Disc Player Review

Sony NSZ-GT1 Internet TV Blu-ray Disc Player

Sony NSZ-GT1 Internet TV Blu-ray Disc Player


  • Product Name: NSZ-GT1 Internet TV Blu-ray Disc Player
  • Manufacturer: Sony
  • Review Date: February 29, 2012 11:00
  • MSRP: $229
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool

GoogleTV. It was probably the most overhyped product in the past two years, and for good reason: it promises a lot. And, like Sony's Playstation3, it's set up to improve with time. So when we review this product, the Sony NSZ-GT1 - which sounds more like a Japanese sports car more than an Internet TV Blu-ray Player - there's a lot to caveat. I mean, are we reviewing the hardware? Yes. Are we reviewing GoogleTV? Yes. Are we reviewing the Sony layer that sits on top of it all and puts everything together? Yes.

clumsy controller handsI've got my work cut out for me - so let's get cracking. Overall, what you have is a fancy, and pretty attractive slot-loading Blu-ray player with this ambitious QWERTY, almost gaming-style remote control. It's got dual navigation controls - one for buttons and one for your cursor. The first is perfect, the second, well - it's less precise than a touchpad and seems to have a mind of its own most of the time. "Clumsy" is the word that comes to mind. There are volume and channel buttons, and playback controls for Blu-ray. You can switch sources as needed and power up and down all your gear - so in that way it's a fairly capable universal remote control. It's also got dedicated buttons for controlling cableTV or satellite set-top boxes and it has this full, comprehensive QWERTY keyboard that's laid out perfectly for thumb texting. But I gotta say, it's actually a little too small. In my hands it just feels like I'm dwarfing it with my big muttons.

So let's flip the player around. On the back you have the expected HDMI output along with Ethernet, three USB ports, an optical digital output and a jack for the included dual IR emitters. But there's also an HDMI input. What's great about that is that you can hook up your cableTV or satellite box. We have DISH network, and if you use a VIP622 or 722k set top box, GoogleTV can control your DVR and even add the DISH network program guide contents to the things you can search for and watch or record. If you don't have DISH, or a compatible DVR, the HDMI in will accept anything, and the IR emitter will give you full control over the device. It's also smart, so if you don't have a compatible DISH DVR - 'Record' functions won't show up.

rear inputs

But we're already jumping ahead. The setup process.That's pretty-much self-guided and it has those Sony quirks we love to hate... like when it couldn't get an Internet connection. It didn't pop up a message telling us there was a problem, it just spun its wheels looking for a connection... for 10 full minutes. We finally put it out of its misery by re-seating the cable that was causing the problem. And as soon as we got it a solid connection, it found the network and moved on.

Sony BD player angled

Everything about GoogleTV and this Sony Blu-ray player, is easy to set up, with a walk-through process that's similar on all the platforms we've experienced so far. The home menu has changed in GoogleTV 3.1 - and for the better. Now, you access your apps from an array of icons across the bottom of the screen - much like you'd expect on the lower dock of an android phone. We set up Netflix and noticed that our searches included results from the online service. Hulu Plus is still MIA, and that's frustrating, but it's also not Sony's fault.

Google TV searching interface

So GoogleTV is cool. Easy to use, easy to search. But we also loved the simple Blu-ray player features. Inserting a Blu-ray disc took over the system and got the movie playing right away, overriding anything else we were doing. Integrating a BD player with a GoogleTV box is a pretty good idea. It means you get all that functionality without having to upgrade your TV... Of course Sony also makes displays with GoogleTV built in... You really only need one or the other, so I guess they've got everything covered. Movies looked great on our reference display and, as a Blu-ray player, the Sony GT1 is actually quite good. Images are crisp and natural, colors are vibrant, and we didn't notice any issues with proper jaggie reduction or noise in our test discs.

So, for $229 you get a full-featured network streaming device, Blu-ray player and GoogleTV. Of course, you can get a PS3 now for $249, which will do everything the GT1 does except GoogleTV. So the real question is whether or not you want GoogleTV and whether or not you're setting your sights on the unified interface and advanced search it provides.

remote glamor

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About the author:
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Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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