The battle continues for control of your TV! Here’s the latest from the front lines. When we last wrote about it in May, many of the products were still pre-launch. A lot has changed since then: Boxee and Google TV were released along with new revs of Apple TV and the Roku. Who are the winners and losers? While the war is far from over, Google TV seems to be the big loser in the opening battle.
It would appear that Google TV has had some serious set backs. First, Google TV gets some lukewarm reviews. In reaction, Google then tells its partners not to present at CES since they are making revisions to the product. However, there is now an announcement that Vizio is announcing Google TV enabled HDTVs and blu-ray players at CES 2011. It’s reported that Logitech has halted production on the Revue but then Logitech denies the report several days later. Responding to reports of soft sales, Sony, the other Google TV partner has admitted the launch has been challenging but they are optimistic about the platform. While most of this news makes you think Google should hire a new PR firm, the one thing they could not spin is that major content providers such as Hulu and CBS have blocked Google TV. On top of this, the Revue’s $300 price tag seems to have priced the device out of the market.
TiVo and Boxee are turning out to be niche players in the TV war. While TiVo did announce its cool iPad application, many folks are still complaining about the Premiere not being ready for prime time. Boxee seems to be appealing to more technical consumers who are looking to be able to do things such as access locally stored content.
The current winners in the space are Roku and Apple TV. Both have sold one million devices so far and have two big things going for them: price point and ease of use. There are three Roku models ranging from $60 to $100. AppleTV rings in at $100. Both devices have a solid NetFlix application. For folks who have bought into the Apple infrastructure, the Apple TV is the way to go given its seamless integration with iTunes. For those who don’t buy into the Apple model, the Roku provides access to a large variety of content sources such as Pandora and Amazon Video on Demand.
At CES, there are bound to be lots of exciting developments in the TV War. Microsoft is getting ready to renter the set top box space once again after the success of the Xbox and failures of Ultimate TV (a TiVo imitator) and WebTV. Stay tuned for the next episode!