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Sony's BRAVIA Smart Stick isn't the Chromecast competitor we'd hoped for
Sony stirred up some excitement recently when their new streaming dongle landing at the FCC. While not a whole lot was known, the immediate reaction was that it could be a Chromecast competitor. Now that Sony has announced their new gadget, the reality of the situation is much different than anticipated.
Dubbed the BRAVIA Smart Stick, Sony’s new streaming dongle is set to work with Sony smart TV sets, and couple Google TV functionality with Sony’s own smart TV features. Rather than switch between the two, users will now be able to see Google TV and Sony’s BRAVIA apps in one menu. The dongle also features a passthrough, so users won’t even have to switch inputs to view live TV.
The upside is that the combination of BRAVIA and Google TV brings functionality to the table that, separately, they may not have. For instance, Google TV doesn’t have HULU Plus, while BRAVIA doesn’t have the Play Store. Bringing them together on one menu is an added bonus, and easier to use than switching inputs and remotes.
The downside is that the BRAVIA Smart Stick only works with Sony TVs. While Sony has roughly 11% of the Smart TV market, a proprietary dongle in a declining sector won’t do them any favors. For what it is, the $150 price tag on the BRAVIA Smart Stick is also really steep. The $35 Chromecast has an ace up their sleeve in using your smartphone or tablet to control the action when casting from a supported app. The remote for the BRAVIA Smart Stick is the same one Sony used for their NSZ-GS7 set-top box, and was widely panned as being overly complex.
If you have a Sony Smart TV, give this a look. If you’re part of the other 90% of the market, the Play Store still has the Chromecast for sale.