/ Technology

Google TV set-top box arrives – is £200 too much?

Google TV is making its way to Britain’s goggle boxes with a Sony set-top box – but would you shell out £200 to search the internet on your big screen?

Google TV is a smart TV service that allows users to browse the internet through the company’s Chrome web browser, watch videos from sites like YouTube and play apps on your TV. The software looks great, it’s easy to use and presents what could be the best way to watch YouTube on a big screen.

The Sony NSZ-GS7 hardware, which will go on sale on 16 July, is also impressive. It’s a small and stylish black box with built-in wi-fi and a double-sided remote control that has a trackpad, full Qwerty keyboard and sensors meaning you can control apps by tilting it.

In fact, it looks like a great bit of kit and includes the top three features people were looking for in a smart TV, according to a recent poll run on our Which? Tech Daily blog (built-in wi-fi, a better remote control and a better web browser).

Search: How much is Google TV?

So what’s the downside? The price. It’ll set you back a whopping £200. That’s twice the price of Apple’s TV, and when you’re more expensive than Apple you know you’re charging a lot of money. For just an extra £15 you’d be able to buy a 22-inch Samsung smart TV – and that actually comes with a screen.

Google TV has struggled in the States since its 2010 launch and that’s partly due to price. The fact that it will set you back £200 in the UK seems like Google hasn’t learnt its lesson.

I do think it’s definitely a step in the right direction for a smart TV, but if you’ve got a spare £200 to spend on a TV accessory, you probably already own a smart TV and a subscription service like Sky or Virgin Media that offers access to online content.

What’s wrong with a mobile or tablet?

Plus, who actually wants to search for things on their TV? I can understand people wanting to quickly look up something while watching telly, but surely using your smartphone or tablet is much easier than actually using your TV?

Watching videos on a big screen obviously has its advantages and, with more services offering better quality videos, it’s definitely an area that’s going to grow. But games consoles, smart TVs and much cheaper set-top boxes already cover most of this. Is anyone really going to spend £200 on a Google TV?


Why bother? All these types of set top box are underpowered and fundamentally limited in what they can do next to a media PC – they also tend to have a shorter useful lifespan as well. Better going with a media pc with the latest atom processor on board which can also support bluray and broader video streaming as well.

WE do all of this already, we have an x box and a standard Pc linked to our main TV, my son controls the lot with his smartphone.
Why would we need a google box, and more to the point why the hell would I pay £200 for it?

I think it depends – If the Google box allowed me to access all TV stations on my TV as well as the Internet – then it would save me around £40 a month in fees – and – save the electricity of running the computer. But if it simply accesses a very limited range of services as it appears to do – Then no. I can access YouTube – video etc very well already on my Virgin actual 10 Mg broadband.

Kate says:
9 October 2012

I’m interested in this. We use Freeview and don’t want to pay the monthly subscriptions for Sky or Virgin packages, or have a dish. However, I’d like to easily (without wiring up the laptop each time) use my telly to watch iPlayer and get other things like rentable movies. Our ‘smart’ Panasonic telly doesn’t access iPlayer. Now that you can access Google play content too, this seems like a decent option for us – like Freeview, it would be a one-off charge to have the full benefits of internet TV. The remote control is a big plus. I think £100 is more what I’d expect to pay though.