Sony’s BRAVIA Smart Stick is the smallest Google TV device to date. It looks more like a chunky, awkwardly-shaped USB flash drive than a set-top box. But the little device packs all the power of Google TV, letting you stream internet video, search your cable listings, and run select Android apps on your TV.

Priced at $150, the Smart Stick is a little cheaper than Sony’s larger Google TV devices such as the NSZ-GS8. There’s a small catch though: The BRAVIA Smart Stick will only work with some televisions.

Sony Bravia Smart Stick

Officially, Sony says the device only works with Sony’s 2013 BRAVIA TV lineup. But I have a feeling that’s because those are the only Sony TV sets with MHL ports. You might be able to use the Smart Stick with non-Sony televisions if they have MHL ports which can supply power to the device via the HDMI connector.

Update: It turns out the Smart Stick does drawer from a USB cable, so I have no idea why it would only work with recent Sony televisions.

The BRAVIA Smart Stick has 8GB of built-in storage and comes with a wireless remote featuring a QWERTY keyboard on one side and a clickable touchpad and media buttons on the other. It also has a mic which you can use for voice controls.

The device features and HDMI input and IR blaster, which lets you control your cable or satellite box, while viewing the Google TV user interface and Sony BRAVIA apps on top of your normal TV service. There’s also a picture-in-picture feature which lets you surf the web while watching TV.

While there are plenty of other Google TV devices on the market, the Sony BRAVIA Smart Stick stands out because of how little it stands out — the small size makes it not all that much bigger than a Chromecast. But since the Smart Stick runs the full Google TV experience, it can run many apps that aren’t currently available for Chromecast, and it doesn’t require you to use a phone, tablet or PC as a remote control.

On the other hand, you can get a similar experience for about half the price by picking up a Vizio Co-Star Google TV box from Walmart for $78.

Previously: Sony BRAVIA Smart Stick is a Google TV box… in a stick



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5 replies on “Sony’s smallest Google TV box costs $150, only works with Sony TVs”

  1. Sony has a potential big hit on their hands but decide to limit its success by making it work only with proprietary devices. Even though this costs more than the cheap HDMI sticks from China, I am guessing it will be more refined (visually and better tested), providing a better end user experience, so I would expect people would be willing to pay more for a stick from Sony than a no-name brand. Actually, to make this a really big hit, Google has to open up GoogleTV so that apps like XBMC can run on it.

  2. I bought a 24-inch Insignia HDTV from BestBuy to use for testing MiniPC dongles and TVBoxes for less than $150. Omitting the Micro-USB OTG power port on such an overpriced dongle is a crime. However, few folks without a 2013 BRAVIA set will be inconvenienced.
    In the TV broadcast business, we called this kinda stuff “Sonyisms.”

    1. Oops. Just read the press release and it says “plugs directly into the MHL port on the back of 2013 Sony BRAVIA TVs, with a USB cable to provide its power source.” So the question is why does the dongle required an MHL-enabled HDMI port?

  3. Based on pricing and compatibility it appears that Sorny is banking on the ignorance of the buying public to the more effective and less costly alternatives coming from China.
    But I guess if you have already been sold on Sorny’s stuff it is an option.
    -just not a great one.

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