The Lowdown on Sony's Google TV Stick
The Smart Stick does not mirror devices or Chrome, and is controlled using the TV’s remote control or its own Google TV remote. Like other Google TVs, it will have built-in apps along with the full range of Google TV apps to download from the Google Play store. Users can connect their cable or satellite receiver to the dongle for live TV and DVR integration with the Google TV and control by an IR blaster connected to the port on the stick.
When the Sony Smart Stick is connected to a compatible Bravia TV, Google TV apps appear in the Bravia main menu under the appropriate category—TV and Movie under the video category, web browser under network, games, and so forth. The stick does not have a separate menu of its own; because of this integration, it will not work with Sony models before 2013, nor with any other TV brands.
Sony’s press release stated that the Smart Stick will require a USB connection for power. The stick dongle connects to the TV via an MHL (Mobile High Definition Link)-enabled HDMI port on the TV. MHL ports typically supply power to charge the connected mobile phone or tablet. Unlike the Roku stick that also derives its power from an MHL port, Sony engineers confirmed that the Smart Stick must also be connected to a USB cable for supplemental power. The USB can be connected to a wall adapter or a USB port on the TV.
While there was a big to-do about Sony releasing the next best Chromecast, the NXZ-GU1 is merely a dongle that turns your 2013 (and presumably future models) Sony Bravia into an integrated Google TV. Interestingly, and perhaps tellingly, a Sony rep told me that the Smart Stick will have a limited manufacturing run. I’ll be getting one in a few weeks and will let you know how well it works as part of Bravia’s streaming media solution.