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Sony launching TV dongle to take on Google Chromecast

Sony plans to launch a TV dongle to allow users to download apps and stream online content in a similar way to Google’s Chromecast dongle.

The Bravia Smart Stick will be released later this year and give Sony TV owners the opportunity to stream online content to a TV set and turn any HDMI TV into a smart-TV.

The dongle comes with Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, and Google Chrome all pre-installed with plenty more apps available to download via the Google Play Store.

One nifty feature is that it allows users to browse the Internet on the TV set whilst still having the TV show available in a sub-window. Unlike the Chromecast it comes with a remote that has a microphone for voice control, a touch pad, and traditional remote control buttons.

One stumbling block for the device is the price, which is set to be $149.99 [£94] – a lot more expensive than the Chromecast’s $35 [£23] price with analysts worried this will blight its success.

"For many consumers this will boil down to the fact that it's $150 [£94] versus $35 [£23]," said Ian Maude, a digital media expert at Enders Analysis told the BBC. "Sony is offering yet another device without offering anything that different from other internet-enabled set-top boxes. There is clearly demand to watch Internet video via the TV set, but there's a whole new price point for these devices and at $150 [£94] I don't think the Smart Stick will fly."

No exact release date for the Smart Stick has yet been announced with it likely the company will announce this, along with regional availability, later on this week.

Google’s Chromecast is still only available in the USA with a UK release date yet to be announced or whether the price will remain at its current level in other territories.