San Francisco – Sony has taken its largest step so far into the so-called connected TVs, introducing a line of devices optimized for Google that seek to merge television and Internet content right in the consumer’s living room.
The electronics giant said Tuesday the HDTVs will also allow users to surf the web, use applications, download content online and to organize and find programs easily.
It remains to be seen whether consumers will actually be interested in it. Previous attempts to bring the online experience to television have so far failed to impress customers.
But Sony, with the help of the Google brand and what it called a massive marketing campaign aimed at young people, hopes to convince consumers that television and the Internet may simply coexist in a single device.
“A lot of people want to see something more on TV,” said Jeff Goldstein, vice president of products and services for the connected home at Sony Electronics. “I think the adoption rate of this type of equipment will be very fast,” he said.
Forrester Research expects 43 million U.S. households to have a connected TV by 2015, up from less than 2 million units in 2010.
The research group said earlier offers were not attractive enough, and that many people that already have Internet-connected televisions never bother to connect them.
The new TVs from Sony come with broadband network Wi-Fi connections, feature Google’s Android platform and the Intel Atom chip.
The TVs start at a price of $600 dollars for a 24-inch model, and reach $1,400 for a 46-inch model.
The Sony products go on sale Saturday at the Sony store and then will be available in U.S. stores from Best Buy. Until after the holiday season, Internet TVs will only be available in the U.S.