What is Google TV

Gone are the days of cable TV with forgettable reception and monopolistic packages. The time has come for web-integrated customized and configurable TV through the set-up boxes. This article goes into the detail of this kind of a TV and Google’s stint with the same. It will cover the following topics in the given order – What is a smart TV, the evolution of Google TV, the key features about the latest version of Google TV – 2.0, the loop holes and finally the verdict regarding the product.

What is Smart TV 

Smart TV is a TV which has the integration of the internet and Web 2.0 features into television sets and set-top boxes. These devices resemble TV which can also seem like computers. These new devices have online interactive media, Internet TV, on-demand streaming media. From the etymology point of view the name Smart TV has come derived from the name “Smart Phone” as internet, web widgets and software applications are integrated in these TVs similar to the modern Smart Phones. 

What is Google TV

Google TV is a Smart TV platform from Google. The key information regarding the Google TV is listed below:

  1. Announcement – May 20, 2010
  2. Launched – October 6, 2010
  3. Developed by Google, Intel, Sony and Logitech
  4. Platform – Integration of Google’s Android operating system and the Linux version of Google Chrome browser

Integration with other Products:

  1. Google Products –

    • Android OS: Google’s Android operating system provides the underlying foundation which allows developers to create applications to extend system’s functionality. 
    • Google’s Chrome browser: It provides the window to the Internet which allows consumers to browse web sites and watch television simultaneously.
  2. Partner Products – 

    • Netflix: Netflix has built an application that allows customers to access Netflix’s large library of movies and television shows. 

Android and Apple smartphones may be used as remote controls for Google TV. Google TV products ship with wireless remote controls with a full QWERTY keypad. An update in November 2011 allows access to the Android Market and increased the search to find content from live TV, Netflix, YouTube, HBO GO, and more.

Expert Reviews of Google TV:

Google TV reviews have not been very encouraging for the potential customers. Though the idea and the evolution of the features over the previous version have been appreciated, the final product still does not excite the entire population. While few find the product a mix of good ideas not properly implemented, few others find the potential still unrealized , .
Further, some feel the product is too advanced for the average crowd but the technical enthusiasts will enjoy the services. Though Google TV provides a whole new range of experience, its inconsistencies in the user interface and the fragmentation with different designs might trouble the average viewer.

Issues related to codec support have also been reported which make the wait frustrating. Market response has been equally cold and Google’s launch partner Logitech reduced the price of its Google TV model, Revue (from $249 to $99) to clear unsold inventory. Also quality issues led to a lot of returns from customers and this number exceeded the number of units sold in the first quarter of the current fiscal year. Even Sony has been compelled to reduce the process of its Google TV-powered HDTVs to capture more of the market.

Google might have to do a lot before it can rule the market, at least in this segment.