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Sony HDMI plug-in Google TV adapter photos leak

Sep 4, 2013  |  Rick Lehrbaum
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[Updated Apr 7, 2014] — Recently filed FCC test documents offer a sneak peek at a new device in Sony’s NSZ-series Google TV media player lineup. Although the NSZ-GU1 plugs directly into a TV’s HDMI connector, it’s considerably larger than HDMI stick-style adapters like Google’s Chromecast or Plair’s device, which eschew Google TV in favor of remote management by a computer or mobile device.

From the device’s “NSZ-GU1″ model designation, it seems likely to be part of the Sony Google TV lineup, which currently includes NSZ-GS7 and -GS8 models. The “S” in “GS7″ and “GS8″ could stand for “set-top,” since those devices are standalone set-top boxes, whereas the “U” in “GU1″ may be due to this new device being a plugin “upgrade” option for Sony’s Bravia TVs.



Sony “NSZ-GU1 Media Player” (aka “Bravia Smart Stick”) photos from FCC filing
(click images to enlarge)

As seen in the photo and illustration below, the NSZ-GU1 device plugs into the TV via an HDMI connector compatible with the Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) standard. The unit also provides a micro-HDMI input connector whose purpose has not been revealed, but which might be for receiving video from the HDMI outputs of tablets and smartphones or other A/V components.


NSZ-GU1 end view and user guide illustration
(click image to enlarge)

A table of specifications in Sony’s NSZ-GU1 FCC test report (shown below) says the device’s MHL video output connector supports screen resolutions up to 720p at 60fps, and provides audio in Linear PCM, Dolby Digital, and Dolby Digital Plus formats. Internal PC board photos (shown farther below) reveal that the device’s embedded processor is an ARM-based Marvell system-on-chip, although details regarding RAM and flash memory capacities are not visible.


Sony NSZ-GU1 specs as listed in FCC filing
(click image to enlarge)

There’s also a “connect” pushbutton, a micro-USB jack, a 2.5mm IR blaster jack, and built-in 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 3.0 wireless. The device measures 109 x 42 x 22.5mm (4.3 x 1.7 x 0.9 inches) and runs from 5V DC supplied through a choice of the MHL connector (from the TV), or the micro-USB connector (from an external source, which could be a non-MHD TV’s USB port). The NSZ-GU1 ships with an NSG-MR9U remote control, and includes Micro-HDMI, Micro-USB, and IR Blaster interface cables.


NSZ-GU1 PCB photos from FCC filing
(click images to enlarge)

 
Google TV vs. remotely managed avatars

In July, Google began shipping a $35 HDMI stick-style Chromecast device (shown at right; click to enlarge) that wirelessly beams content from the Chrome browser of a desktop, laptop, or mobile computer to an HDTV. The Chromecast initially supports the streaming of content from Netflix, YouTube, and Google Play, under control of a Chrome browser running on devices or computers running Android, iOS, Windows, Mac OS, and Chrome OS, but not Linux. Chromecast runs a stripped-down version of Google TV’s Android-based software — enough for it to download its own content using instructions received from the user’s browser on a separate device, but without a standard Google TV user interface or the ability for users to install arbitrary Android apps on it from Google Play.

Chromecast was preceded by a similar device, the the $99 Plair, which shipped in April. Like the Google Chromecast, Plair’s device (pictured on the right; click to enlarge) beams multimedia content from Apple, Windows, and Android devices (though not from iOS devices, to our knowledge) to “any HDTV” using an available HDMI port. Web-based content sources currently supported by the Plair device are listed here. Rather than running Google TV, Plair is based on a customized embedded Linux OS that draws on some Android components, primarily to enable future use of custom Android app apks, according to the company’s CEO.

 
Update (Apr 7, 2014)

Subsequent to our initial post, Sony introduced the NSZ-GU1 as the “Bravia Smart Stick.” The device, which runs “Google TV,” is currently available for about $150 from various sources including Amazon.



Sony’s model NSZ-GU1 “Bravia Smart Stick”
(click image to enlarge)

 

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