Last year I bought "last years" Samsung Blue ray that had the same smart hub that's in their TV's. The thing had Wifi, plays stuff on USB drives (hard drive or flash), downloads my Windows media from my pc over wifi and essentially rendered my PS3 redundant (I'm not a big gamer, other than rock band and the like). It also can access Youtube and all of the other junk. The price? $89. It's hard to beat that.
My Roku lists HBO Go as an available channel.
Also, though Roku doesn't provide access to YouTube directly, there are supposedly Roku channels that provide this access.
Note that I haven't tried either one, however.
Right, Alex, and there's also not much excuse for these obvious shortcomings.
The average person today needs simply this: make the entire Internet accessible from my TV set. Just as it is from my sit-up-to-it PC, or smartphone, or tablet.
Why is this difficult?
And by the way, this average consumer already knows how to search and how to browse, how to add bookmarks, load Adobe Flash, how to keep Adobe Flash up to date, and all the rest.
This should be way, way easier to solve than cramming Internet access onto tiny smartphones or tablets.
Bert- You're correct in pointing out the browser, and there's another interface issue I neglected to mention (and it's not just Sony at fault here. I'm talking about the ersatz on-screen imitations of keyboards. Makes searching/accessing content on all the services a pain. Re the browser, the Sony one isn't horrendous, but of course it doesn't support flash so it's not much use.
I guess I don't get why this should be so hard.
Perhaps 3 years ago now, I saw a really cool Sony Vaio TV box. It could do Internet access, BluRay player, and PVR functions. It came with all the standard TV interconnects (HDMI and analog), and with a wireless keyboard and a wireless remote. Too bad it retailed for $1600. The OS was Microsoft Vista, at the time. And it allowed one to install a TV tuner for over the air broadcasts.
Not long after seeing that, I built essentially the same thing, out of a standard PC with Win7. *Anyone* can do this. My TV has RGB interface, so I used that vs buying an HDMI adapter card. Wireless remote keyboard and mouse. Cost way less than $1600, and I can use it for anything I use a typical PC to do, and also watch Internet TV, watch music videos, whatever, on my 42" HD set and decent audio system. Not to mention, Win7 Home Premium comes with a really nice Microsoft Media Center, in case you install a TV tuner card into the PC (I did not, mainly because TVs and PVRs already have built-in tuners).
Point being, if Sony could build that Vaio box so many years ago, why does Sony find it so difficult AT LEAST to build a proper Internet browser into it "connected TV" products?
Aside from Sony and other TV manufacturers, I really don't get why consumers, who by now have become so adept at anything Internet related, have this insurmountable mental block when it comes to TV content. There are plenty of Internet TV sites out there. Starting with the networks themselves, e.g. abc.com, cbs.com, nbc.com, etc. (each one offering full-length episodes), your own local TV broadcasters offer content online, Hulu and Hulu Plus, Amazon, Netflix, not to mention a vast amount of YouTube content and lots of other more obscure web sites, with movies and videos.
No need to be slaved to one portal, one search engine, AppleTv, iTunes, or subscriptions. C'mon people, wake up.
It would be great to see Sony get its mojo back.
IMHO, Apple has been a huge imitator of Sony's minimalist style and marketing as well as its bent for classy industrial design and a trend-setting sense of what's possible and cool.
Amazing to think there once was a day when we laughed at M'soft's early attempts at video game consoles in the face of the strength of Sony and Nintendo.