Google TV – Overview and Predictions
Everyone has been talking about Google TV, a new product that Google announced at the end of Google I/O. The product is simple a set-top box that runs android OS on your TV. You can search for shows and watch web content on your TV. It's a full featured web browser with flash support that you can view in high definition and full surround sound.
Let me first say that I love the concept and I hope it works as well as they say it will. It's not a new concept at all in fact all these mini computers and nettop boxes are trying to do the same thing. The closest anyone has come to something like this is Boxee and they still haven't come to market with any hardware yet. All these devices want to bring your video and audio content as well as internet content to your TV. The only difference is Google is a big name and they have partnered big players like Sony, who's going to build it into their TV's, and Logitech, who is going to make the set-top box for TVs without Google TV built in.
People are comparing Google TV to Apple TV and I have to say they are apples and oranges. They are not the same devices and they have different focuses. Apple wants to sell you a device that streams your iTunes content to your TV and that's what it does. Google wants to sell you something that can find shows, tune channels, and stream content from all over the web. I think this is a good thing because Apple will have to improve and open their Apple TV design up because no one will buy it if they can purchase a device that does so much more for the same or less.
Google TV will allow you to search the web for anything as well as TV shows and movies. They have partnered with Clicker.com, which I have written about before, who aggregates web video content and finds shows and where you can watch them online. You can also use Google TV to change channels and tell your DVR to record shows. You will also have the ability to run applications like Netflix, Pandora, and others much like Boxee can do. There will be games as well and a market place where you can download them. Google TV will support Wi-Fi, IR, and bluetooth and supports input devices like keyboards, remotes, and mice.
According to Gizmodo,
“An Atom (or better) processor, discrete GPU, HDMI-out, Bluetooth, IR (with a transmitting "blaster"), Wi-Fi, and Ethernet, all while supporting a keyboard and a pointing device, as well as more traditional remotes such as Logitech's Harmony universals.”
According to Wired,
"The sleek black Apple TV-sized box will run on a 1.2GHz Atom processor with 4GB memory, 802.11n Wi-Fi, dual HDMI-out ports, Dolby 5.1 surround sound and a pair of USB ports. If you hook up a webcam, you can even video-chat at 720p."
As long as it can handle that HD video signal that's all a care about. My Apple TV just doesn't have the muscle to do HD streaming video the way it is now. That would be my only concern about Google TV is making sure that everything runs smoothly, which I can't imagine them putting a product out that was that way.
I think the Google TV product is going to change a lot of things. I think cable and TV providers better be careful what they are charging, because with something like this people might up and decided to cancel their cable. This product will also encourage companies like Apple to put better hardware onto the market. Competition is good, it gives us better and more interesting things to play with.