Google unveiled a revamped version of its Google TV service on Friday, bringing new features aimed at making the product easier-to-use and more appealing to consumers.
The move is Google's another push to bring its Web savvy to television sets, hoping to tap into a vast new market despite consumers' lukewarm reaction to its initial offering.
Google TV, which currently comes built-in on certain Sony television models and on Logitech set-top boxes, allows consumers to access online videos and websites on their TVs, as well as to play with specialized apps such as video games.
Beginning on Sunday, Google will automatically upgrade the software on existing Sony Google TV devices that are already in consumers' homes, with software updates to Logitech coming shortly thereafter. New Google TV devices, from manufacturers including Samsung and Vizio, are expected next year.
Google has built Google TV on the "Honeycomb" version of its Android operating system.
Sony Internet TVs powered by Google TV and the Sony Internet TV Blu-ray Disc players will receive the Google TV update, which not only powers existing Google TV features, but also adds the Android Market for apps, which at launch includes hundreds of apps, including many designed and optimized for television. This update will roll out to all connected Sony Internet TV devices by early next week.
Sony released the world's first TV based on the Google TV platform in the U.S. last October - today's update brings a simpler and clean interface, improved performance, better search functionality and the Android Market to all currently installed Sony Internet TV and Sony Internet TV Blu-ray owners. Additionally, future consumers of Sony Internet TVs and Blu-ray Disc players will receive the update during the initial start-up installation. Other new benefits include better integration with Android and iOS devices, like smartphones and tablets.
With the Android Market integration, new fun and useful apps will be added regularly, Sony said. At launch, original Sony applications will include TrackID, which searches and identifies music heard on television broadcasts, packaged media or streaming video. Additionally, Sony Select will deliver a curated collection, highlighting featured applications to consumers in an easy-to-browse manner.