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Sony fields Apple TV challenger

Posted: 19 Jun 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Apple TV challenger? Sony Bravia? Internet Video Link?

Sony has announced plans to ship a device for streaming Web video to an HDTV, launching the company's first challenger to the Apple TV.

The Bravia Internet Video Link, rolling out in July, will be priced at $300 and will stream video over a broadband connection to compatible Sony Bravia HDTVs, the company said. The device connects to the TV via USB and HDMI ports.

Compatible Bravia HDTVs are shipping today with a bracket on the back for holding the paperback book-sized device, a spokesman for Sony Electronics said. Available Web video, which is accessed through the TV remote control, will only come from Sony's movie and music divisions, or through partners Yahoo, Time Warner's AOL and Grouper. More partnerships will be announced at later date.

The Internet Video Link differs from Apple's device in that it doesn't draw its video from a Web-connected PC, and it doesn't have any storage. In designing the device, Sony decided not to include any PC-like functions such as Web surfing.

"We found that people don't want to surf on their televisions, and they don't want to read e-mail," Belloni said. "But they do want to watch video."

The Apple TV, which requires either a wired or wireless connection to a PC or Mac running iTunes, is priced at $299 with a 40Gbyte hard drive and $399 with a 160Gbyte hard drive. The device, which went on sale in March, includes a remote control.

In May, Apple announced that video from the popular YouTube site would be available through Apple TV as of the middle of this month. YouTube, owned by Google, is the most popular video site on the Web.

Apple and Sony aren't the only CE companies bringing the Web to TV. TiVo, for example, has added Internet connections to its digital video recorders that also deliver cable programming to TVs.

- Antone Gonsalves

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