GTV delivers one of the most comprehensive applications platforms available by providing web and internet content alongside a browser with Flash video support. Unfortunately, in this case, despite the quantity of applications provided, the overall experience is often disjointed and inconsistent.

For example, search is a major part of the overall GTV experience. Where in many cases it works quite well with a limited subset of the content federated on the device (i.e. the STB’s guide data), it does not provide a true unified search, browse and consume model consistently across all of the applications available on the box. The video below demonstrates the experience as we dig deeper into the search results.

As we can see from the example presented in the video where search works with Netflix’s RSS feed, but not with the application itself so the level of integration does not provide the level of polish I would expect in a consumer oriented device. Google has some work to do integrating the existing applications both with search, and linking the disparate experiences with each other. The GTV should know that the Netflix application is installed and launch videos from the native Netflix application, instead of leading users through an elaborate and futile cycle. That said, as a workaround for the current state, it is possible to add the item to the “Instant Queue” after "search and browse" and watch it by launching the Netflix application manually. Which also serves to highlight the limited Netflix implementation (it only supports the “Instant Queue”) so the built in browser is really the only way to add and view content not previously queued up.

Not surprisingly, enhancements to the “TV” experience are a big part of the functionality GTV brings to the living room. For those with just a Cable STB, features like guide data search (which prefers HD content), picture-in-picture (PiP) and easy browsing from the couch are welcome additions. The main issue I have with the current implementation is that it is a very singular PC or mobile like experience, where TV viewing (at least in my house) is much more communal—I cannot hijack the screen to perform other tasks (like looking up an actor/actress to see what other shows they are in) while consuming content with other people in the room.

When looking at GTV’s approach to non-linear TV consumption, it is important to make a distinction between web content (YouTube,,, etc.) which is only intended to be consumed in a browser and internet content (i.e. Netflix, Amazon VOD, VUDU, Revision3, etc.) which [while also available in a browser] is really optimized for a full screen TV-like experience. Besides the basic Netflix application and leveraging the browser availability of some internet video services (e.g. using Amazon VOD through the web browser), the GTV, in its current implementation, is mostly focused on getting web content to the TV. I hope that this is only temporary because, frankly, it is not a good fit. Web content is not optimized for full screen HD displays, and the picture quality is atrocious for most of them.

Atrocious picture quality—You don't want this on your big-screen TV!

There are also many other issues like content providers blocking access to the device (Hulu,, Viacom, etc.) as well as content moving from full screen to “in browser” for a commercial but not going back to full screen when the ad is finished creating a very unfriendly user experience.

Fortunately, a foundation for consuming internet content does exist both through dedicated applications (we can hope that this will get better when the GTV Marketplace becomes available) as well as the included podcast application which supports the search, browse and consume model very well for RSS based audio/video content while also supporting text feeds.

Setup Impressions Player Performance
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  • vshah - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    is it nsx-gt1, or nsz-gt1? it varies in the title/article.
  • ganeshts - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    Editorial mistake :) Fixed, thanks!
  • piroroadkill - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    I'm not entirely sure who this is aimed at: the setup process looked pretty long-winded for most people who sit infront of a TV, being spoonfed content while drooling. I mean, seriously, a question whether you want the thing to boot slowly or quickly? It should make the best guess for defaults in the majority of cases, and give you the option to fuck with it later: look at how the Windows installation process has been streamlined over the years.

    Then the tech savvy guys? They already have an htpc and are more than willing to play around to get it right, using xbmc or some such...
  • bji - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    Sony consistently makes the worst remote controls of any major consumer electronics manufacturer. It's likey they don't employ even a single user interface person to help design these devices, they just either rely on out-of-touch engineers or dumb marketing people to design their remotes.

    The ultimate example was the Playstation 2 remote. It was a grid of buttons with the DVD controls (ffwd, play, rewind, etc) placed fairly randomly and with no tactile distinction whatsoever between the keys. So totally lame.

    Ever since the Playstation 2 remote I've been paying attention to Sony's designs and every time I see a Sony remote I am reminded that they still have the suckiest remote designers.
  • nutmac - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    I would love expand HQV 2.0 benchmark comparison against popular players, such as PS3.
  • babgvant - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    That's a great point; I've never seen a media centric review of the PS3. As hard as it gets pushed as the ultimate BD player, it would be really interesting to actually test that.
  • Voldenuit - Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - link


    while I found your review well-written and informative, I can't help but feel that you were a little too lenient with it in your final thoughts.

    A google device that has no universal search? Fail.
    A media streamer that has no worthwhile codec and container support? Fail.
    A remote that is unusable by anyone without an IT degree? Fail.
    A consumer device that you have to press Ctrl-Alt-Del to reboot when it hangs? WTF?

    At the $300 asking price with the level of functionality and robustness out-of-the-box, the NSZGT1 deserves to be publicly lambasted, if not downright ridiculed.

    Even Apple's RDF wouldn't be able to disguise this Thanksgiving turkey.

    Also, any chance AT will revisit the Boxee Box with the revised firmware?
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - link

    Andy will respond to your comments on his leniency towards the NSZ-GT1 :)

    We will take a look at Boxee Box again as soon as TrueHD bitstreaming is enabled or December 15th, whichever is earlier.
  • babgvant - Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - link

    GTV is a CE device targeted at mainstream users, so the abysmal container support is forgivable; otherwise, those are all valid points. That said, I think the platform's potential outweighs the teething issues; so while the current implementation is clearly unfinished, and I worry that Google doesn't understand the difference b/w the TV and mobile user experience, it is still too early to get out the pitchforks and torches. Six months from now will be another story.

    IMO the current MSRP for this player is too high (Sony even dropped the price $100 a few days ago, so they must also recognize this); it's crazy that we can buy a better BD player (faster, quieter, more power efficient and has 3D) from Sony for $140 less. Between us, unless the apps platform gets exponentially better real soon I think they will need to knock another $100 off the top to be competitive in the mainstream. I could have made that clearer in the FT.
  • Aloonatic - Wednesday, December 1, 2010 - link

    Grrr, lost my comment with FireFox crashing, so my reply in brief...

    Re: $300 - This is a BluRay player too, let's not forget.

    Then the rest of my rambling comment was mostly a complaint about Sony controllers, when they will invest in people to sort out this problem? They haven't produced a good controller/remote since the original PS controller, and that was a less than subtle copy of the SNES controller (and they are just copying Nintendo again with Move) which was OK at the time, but now is very old and tired but still they persist with it with the PS3?!?! Sort it out Sony! It's not like you are a corner/cost cutting budget brand for Jebus' sake!

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