Updated 12:15 p.m. PDT with quotes from a press conference following the announcements.
As Google looks to extend its empire to the living room, it's already lined up some heavy hitters in the consumer electronics world as allies.
On Thursday at the Google I/O conference the company announced its strategy for intermingling TV and the Web in home electronics via a platform dubbed Google TV. It's a technology that will be built into TVs, set-top boxes, Blu-ray players, and other devices that will allow people to do things like use Google Search to find videos from the Web and whoever your channel service provider is, as well as watch full-screen YouTube videos, find shows on Hulu, buy TV shows on Amazon on Demand, among others.
The first partners include Sony, Dish Network, and Logitech. All of them plan to have their first Google TV-based products in stores by fall. Best Buy is going to be the first retailer to sell them.
Sony will have both a TV and a set-top box with Google's Android-based technology. The Sony Internet TV and a set-top with a Blu-ray Disc drive will go on sale in the fall. No price was provided.
"This will create whole new content experiences that can only be imagined," said Sir Howard Stringer, CEO of Sony, in a press conference after the event. Sony already offers an oddly-named service called "Qricocity" for linking Internet-delivered movies to big-screen TVs, but Stringer thinks that the Google TV software can offer a much wider range of content because of the ease of switching between traditional television and the Web.
Dish Network will be handling the integration slightly differently. The satellite provider says any Google TV device can be plugged into their Dish Network receiver over HDMI and then use the Google TV search feature to find Dish content along with Web content and then save to their Dish DVR. Dish says its software will be updated on all its HD DVR receivers sometime this fall.
However, Dish customers will need to buy new boxes in order to make this happen, said Charlie Ergen, CEO of Dish Network. That's mainly because the software requires a special Intel Atom processor with special hardware acceleration for graphics.
Logitech also revealed a device it's calling a "companion" box that will run Google TV. It's a set-top that will hook up to any HDTV and will allow a person to use Google TV with any other channel service set-top box, whether that's TiVo, Comcast, Time Warner, or others. It uses the same technology inside a Harmony remote that configures all the entertainment devices in the living room to work together. The box comes with a controller that is a small keyboard, remote control, and touch pad for navigating the service. Later, Logitech will sell a camera that will let users make video calls from the TV, and an application that will let any smartphone act like a Google TV controller. Devices of "other form factors" are planned for later as well. The set-top will be available this fall.
Beyond these products, it should be noted that this is the beginning of a new partnership between Sony and Google. Besides the TV and set-top box, the two companies plan a more broad integration of Android and other Sony devices, for home, mobile, and personal technology.
Tom Krazit contributed to this report.