By Patrick Avenell

Sony's Google TV box will soon be available as a standalone purchase for RRP $299 from Harvey Norman stores nationwide. Officially called Internet Player with Google TV, Sony originally released this product as an exclusive gift-with-purchase to promote its premium Bravia HX850 and HX750 TVs.

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This is how described the Internet Player with Google TV at that time:

The small box connects to the internet via Wi-Fi or Ethernet and provides the user with access to the Google Chrome browser, YouTube, the Sony Entertainment Network (including Video and Music Unlimited) and apps from Google Play, such as the popular social media sites.

The baked-in functions are all optimised for viewing on a large screen TV, as are some of the apps available from Google Play, and while the millions of other apps on the Android market are installable, there will be varying degrees of suitability.

User control is provided through the dedicated remote control, which talks to the Google TV box via Bluetooth, meaning there is no need for direct line of sight. On one side of the remote is a track pad for controlling the on-screen cursor, which also doubles as the traditional left-click button on a mouse, plus a number of shortcut keys. On the reverse is a full QWERTY keyboard. An inbuilt gyroscope means that whichever side of the remote is facing down is de-activated.

The device comes with 4GB of available storage, plus a USB port, so it is possible to store and import content for viewing on the TV screen. Google TV can also be used as a faux Apple TV unit, with in-built AirPlay meaning that movies, music and images stored on iDevices can be played back through the TV.