Well, Google unveiled what they are simply calling “Google TV” today. What they showed was a fairly impressive vision. First, what is Google TV?
It’s bringing together the worlds of TV and the web in one unified experience
Sony will be embedding it in their devices such as TVs and blu-ray players.
Logitech will sell as a separate set top box.
There are no monthly fees or subscriptions for Google TV itself.
It can control all of your home theater components.
It adds a search bar to your TV that lets you find the program you are looking for across all sources: web, NetFlix, TiVo, over the air TV, cable boxes, etc….
Or you can watch this quick video explaining it:
The fact that Google TV is a platform is what makes it so powerful. It’s an open architecture that anyone can develop for. It’s like the Iphone application store except for your TV (for some reason I am at a loss at what apps I would buy for my TV). Since it will be open source, I get the impression anyone can build a piece of hardware with Google TV in it?
What are it’s challenges? The reason TV is so popular is that it’s so easy. Just jump on the couch and start surfing. TiVo has been moderately successful since it made that experience even better. Google TV has some technical challenges to overcome to achive this experience. For TV, it relies on integrating with cable boxes or TiVo . Sometimes that integration is easier said than done (there were references to IR blasters today). If it’s not seamless and responsive, it will fall flat on it’s face. Someone may need to build a Google TV box with an integrated TV tuner/DVR for this to really take hold. The DishTV integrated box holds a lot of promise.
The good news is by Google entering this arena, it will force everyone else to make their products better. TiVo, Apple, Boxee and friends will all have to step it up a notch. It’s all good for you the consumer!