Despite Google’s assurances to the contrary, could we be living in a post- Google TV world, as evidenced Sony’s recent FCC filing for a Chromecast-like media streamer? Though the mysterious device follows the naming convention of the company’s Google TV boxes – it’s model NSZ-GU1, and they’re NSZ-GT1 and NSZ-GS7, respectively – it lacks HDMI pass-through, a hallmark of Google TV. Test diagrams indicate the GU1 is a stick, powered by an external AC adapter (or, presumably, capable A/V equipment), that plugs directly into an open HDMI port. It does come replete with an IR blaster and Bluetooth, but those features aren’t necessarily indicative of anything; IR probably helps toggle the power and inputs on television sets without HDMI-CEC, and Bluetooth could be used to stream audio to a speaker system.
What are we to make of Sony’s foray into the streaming dongle space? While almost certainly not a Google TV, the NSZ-GU1 could very well be the first third-party Chromecast. Google didn’t given any indication that Chromecast would be a program open to manufacturers, but it’s possible the search giant believes (probably rightly) opening technology like DIAL to as many manufacturers as possible could hasten developer adoption of the “cast” platform. That’s a boon for Google TV, which will be updated to support Chromecast-compatible apps in the near future. Look, then, for a lot of cheap dongles to flood the market in the comings months, but don’t expect Google TV to go away anytime soon.