Sony last week took the wraps off the Bravia Smart Stick, a $149.99 dongle that will plug into the company’s newest TV models via High Definition Multimedia Interface ports and deliver a variety of over-the-top video services, alongside the ability to “pass through” video signals from set-top boxes.
The consumer-electronics giant’s new entry will offer some features found in the hot-selling $35 Google Chromecast video streamer, including access to Netflix and YouTube, but will also tap into the more robust Android-powered Google TV platform, use a voice-activated remote control and link to Sony’s own Bravia app store.
Though the live-TV HDMI pass-through feature gives Sony a differentiator, the device’s market is limited because it is only compatible with 2013 and newer Sony Bravia TV models. That limitation makes the new entry a tangential competitor to devices such as the Roku Streaming Stick and the Apple TV box.
But the Bravia Smart Stick will support many of the usual suspects from the OTT video world, including Vudu, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, Redbox Instant by Verizon, and Sony’s own Crackle and Video Unlimited services.