Sony NSZ-GS7 Review: Google TV Is Still Bad
Why It Matters
When last we exchanged awkward glances with the
Depending on how deep you want Google TV jacked into your TV life, setup will vary. Physically setting it up is just a matter of rejiggering all of your HDMI connections—but software setup is an uneven endeavor of its own. Trouble connecting to a wireless network, hair-pulling attempts at trying to conjure up byzantine IR codes for the remote, and futile searches for a new Pioneer receiver not in Google or Sony's database were infuriating. When the box spit back a list of obscure satellite providers I'd never heard of instead of Time Warner Cable, I had to receive help directly from a Sony engineer in Japan , who instructed me to enter a zipcode that wasn't actually my own. Don't count on that kind of treatment for yourself.
The setup, even if it weren't flawed with actual brokenness, is inherently complex just due to the number of factors. You have to potentially make several AV devices (TV, Google TV, receiver, cable box, router) simultaneously dance together if you want the system to work the way it's designed. That's no fun.
There are hints of great and friendly tech in the NSZ-GS7. Startup is near instant, and it doesn't take many taps to get to a live-updating list of TV shows to watch, free movies to stream (Netflix, Amazon VoD, and the rest of the familiar cast), and listings for what's up next. You can even buy movies if there's nothing gratis up your alley. The feeling of a big graphical box telling you that Black Swan is playing on HBO right now , and how much of it is left, is a good feeling. Clicking on it and having a little box automatically reroute your cable box to HBO, without futzing with a channel guide is a very good feeling. Your TV feels like it's working for you. Except for when it's not.
For every graceful HBO moment, there were a dozen to the contrary: a channel that wouldn't load, a command that wasn't recognized, or an inexplicable green screen of nothing. Maybe it was my cable box, maybe it was my receiver—but that's beside the point. An evolved TV won't make you have to troubleshoot by process of elimination, it'll just be fucking great. This isn't. The NSZ-GS7 makes your TV about one and a half times as useful and about ten times as complicated—a poor trade.
The box's best traits are good intentions—and everything beyond that is manifold mediocrity. Google TV in 2012 isn't even an interesting train wreck, just the aching frustration of a traffic jam. The software, based on the Honeycomb version of
But what of that remote? Oh, that's also bad—a big step up from the quasi-parody predecessor that looked fit to fly a Predator drone , but still bad. Putting functionality on both sides is super smart, especially given that the side facing down won't accidentally take commands, but it's still just too goddamn complicated. Sony and Google, please listen to this: there should never, ever, ever be a "Ctrl" button on a TV remote.
Should I Buy It
No. Someday, someone—probably Apple, as boring as that is to admit—will probably pull off the next great leap in television. A television that makes it as easy as possible to find and watch things, to sit and be entertained, that knows and loves both the internet and old fashioned programming. Simply, this ain't it.
Processor: Marvell Dual-Core
Internal Storage: 8 GB
Operating System: Android 3.2 Honeycomb
Connectivity: HDMI, Optical Out, USB, Wi-FI (802.11b/g/n), Bluetooth
Gizrank : 2.0