Sony has just announced a new Google TV set-top box, the NSZ-GS8. Apparently replacing last year’s NSZ-GS7 that lead the charge of second generation ARM-powered Google TV hardware, this one appears to be quite similar. As seen in the picture above (check after the break to see the old remote for comparison) it adds a microphone this time around, necessary to enable the voice search features added to the Google TV platform last fall. We’re not seeing any other changes, but we’ll let you know if we hear of any differences. In lieu of actual new devices, Google TV fans can at least take heart that Sony is continuing development on the platform — good to hear after the NSZ-GP9 Blu-ray player that was also announced last year ended up being cancelled prior to its release. Like its predecessor, the NSZ-GS8 carries a sticker price of $199 and should reach stores by early July.
Someone must have declared it Google TV Update Week without telling us: just days after a Vizio Co-Star upgrade, Sony’s NSZ-GS7 Internet Player is getting its own tune-up. The Sony update parallels its Vizio counterpart in focusing mostly on the features from the fall 2012 Google TV revamp, including PrimeTime and the updated YouTube app. Viewers pining for Amazon VOD access can also grab its app through Google Play. Sony mostly claims an edge over Vizio through its support for the equally new voice search feature: owners just have to chat with Sony’s remote to get things done, instead of leaning on phone or tablet control. However GS7 owners plan to steer their TVs, they’ll just need to check for a software update in the days ahead to rejuvenate their set-top boxes.
Sony mentioned during CES 2012 that it would bring its Google TV-powered hardware to Europe this summer, and now it’s official. Along with Google, it’s announced preorders are available for the $199 NSZ-GS7 internet streaming set-top box in the US and UK (showing a ship date of July 9th for now), with plans to launch in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico and Netherlands later this year. UK users can expect localized content from The Guardian among other sources, and more reveals are promised at Google I/O this week. There’s an internationally-aimed trailer (embedded after the break) and more information from Sony and Google at their respective sites, we’ll see if the mix of reworked hardware and updated software makes this venture more successful than the last round.