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GoogleTV: World Domination or Just Another Box?

by September 27, 2010
GoogleTV - Is it for everyone?

GoogleTV - Is it for everyone?

There's no question that Google is an amazing and capable company. Like Apple, when they go out on a limb to create something new, people tend to take notice - and have a certain level of anticipation. Such is the case with GoogleTV. The mystery and hype surrounding this Android-based system is off-the-charts. So, it was with great enthusiasm that I played with the system over at DISH's booth at this year's CEDIA Expo. From my brief time spent there I came away with a few question, and a few observations - the answers and evaluations of which will serve to either make this product the next evolution in TV, a wild dream that never fully comes to fruition, or a limited-time solution that is nifty but doesn't hit mainstream adoption. Read along and see if you can help me figure out which it is - cause I really don't know.

GoogleTV search

GoogleTV Is Going to Integrate Beautifully with Network-aware Devices

As demonstrated by DISH, GoogleTV is simply amazing when paired with a network-aware device. What I mean by that is this: If you have a product like the VIP722 or 922 that can be controlled via the Internet and has web controls for DVR functionality and search, then GoogleTV is going to be able to interface directly with this box and run searches across all of your sources. But let's take a "dumb" set top box like older products found with Time Warner or Comcast - not so impressive. If navigating your DVR is going to have to be done through a complex, indecipherable series of IR commands that literally navigate your cursor around a manu system - well, it can't even be done. This is significant because it means that while GoogleTV can FIND programs that are on cableTV, it likely can't set your DVR to record them for you. Oops. And seriously, what's Google to do? Its technology is simply more advanced than what's found on most legacy cableTV set top box systems.

Now, with that said, DISH is set to interface directly with GoogleTV (and are demonstrating this already) and it looks like DirecTV is also in a good position to do well with this as well. Verizon Fios seems to have added this feature in 2009, so they will also be ready to allow for remote programming of their DVRs. And even Comcast has their MyDVR Manager software that clearly demonstrates a remote web-based interface for those using the newest Guide versions. The industry seems to really "get" how important this is, and as a result, Google is poised to take advantage of these features in a way that might trump any of the features AppleTV has to offer (simply because of its flexibility and open architecture).

GoogleTV Isn't New - It's Familiar

While GoogleTV is new, it's not really "new". People are very familiar with searching for content. They do it most every day online. Google takes what it does best - Search - and implements it in a way that expands what people already know. People who use the more advanced features of their DVRs already know they can search the 10-day or 2-week program guide for shows. What they can't do (yet) is extend that search to the web. GoogleTV changes that, aggregating everything you can possibly access into one searchable system. That's progress - and it makes a lot more sense.

What Is the Scope of GoogleTV?

This is where you start to really see the amazing limitless possibilities of GoogleTV. Google has demonstrated interfacing it's search-all system with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video on Demand in addition to the web (individual websites for example) and of course your DVR. OTA (over-the-air) antenna shows would also, presumably, be easy to integrate. What we don't yet know is whether they will also add the ability to use Android apps on the TV as well. While this seems to be a side-issue (meaning it's certainly not in the scope of what GoogleTV is) it will also allow the company to compete with a potential onslaught from AppleTV should they decide to enable apps on that device. In contemplating the two device (GoogleTV and AppleTV) there doesn't seem to be much of a relationship or contest. Google is going after usability, aggregation, and search, while Apple seems fixated on selling you $0.99 episodes from as many studios as it can get its hands on. The fact that Apple may add apps to its device is a potentially huge selling point, but overall Google seems to be nailing the future of TV browsing, while Apple is going niche.

So What's the Conclusion?

GoogleTV is poised to be a huge change in how we view TV. It will, however, likely affect premium users more than your average user. That's because without the latest Internet-connected set top boxes, GoogleTV will be somewhat crippled in its implementation. It seems clear, however, that cable and satellite companies will be very motivated to integrate this technology and get on board, allowing people to experience the wen in their living rooms. Microsoft, who has been trying to do this for years with its Media Center software should be livid. After all, they certain had the resources and connections to make this happen. In typical Microsoft fashion, however, they prefer to lead by following - and Google is simply too big to buy out. At this point it will be very interesting to see how quickly GoogleTV proliferates into the marketplace. That's really the only remaining question at this point. This is the future - how quickly it comes is up to consumer demand and the industry's ability to meet it with supply. So to answer my original question: World Domination is my vote.

 

About the author:
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Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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Recent Forum Posts:

IndoSlim posts on October 13, 2010 21:15
highfigh, post: 754649
If people didn't watch TV every minute of every day, would they be more productive? Is the screen size really going to let people watch TV and not cause eye problems? Will people be sensible about this and NOT watch while they drive?

What?! Do you make any sense? Is your post totally irrelevant? Do you even know what this story was about? Do you ever post anything besides questions? Does anyone ever answer them?…………………………….Doubt it.
highfigh posts on September 27, 2010 09:09
admin, post: 754636
There's no question that Google is an amazing and capable company. Like Apple, when they go out on a limb to create something new, people tend to take notice - and have a certain level of anticipation. Such is the case with GoogleTV. The mystery and hype surrounding this Android-based system is off-the-charts. So, it was with great enthusiasm that I played with the system over at DirecTV's booth at this year's CEDIA Expo. From my brief time spent there I came away with a few question, and a few observations - the answers and evaluations of which will serve to either make this product the next evolution in TV, a wild dream that never fully comes to fruition, or a limited-time solution that is nifty but doesn't hit mainstream adoption.


Discuss “GoogleTV: World Domination or Just Another Box?” here. Read the article.

If people didn't watch TV every minute of every day, would they be more productive? Is the screen size really going to let people watch TV and not cause eye problems? Will people be sensible about this and NOT watch while they drive?
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