Google TV: The Next Generation Set-Top Box To Bring Web's Best Into Living Rooms - HotHardware
Google TV: The Next Generation Set-Top Box To Bring Web's Best Into Living Rooms

Google TV: The Next Generation Set-Top Box To Bring Web's Best Into Living Rooms

We've been joking for years now that Google is taking over the world. Slowly but surely, our laugh is growing dim, because it actually does actually look like Google is doing their best to achieve global domination. First it was search domination, then it was e-mail domination, then it was breaking into the clean energy market, then announcing a 1Gbps Internet service, and now they're planning to invade your TV set. It's not quite 2012, but boy if it doesn't feel like it.

According to new reports, Google has teamed with Intel and Sony (two obviously huge names in the media and technology industries) in order to develop a platform, which is rather unimaginatively named Google TV. The goal is to bring the best of the Web to the living room "through a new generation of televisions and set top boxes," but we have to think this has already been done. The Apple TV does this; a number of Western Digital boxes do this; Roku does this; Vudu does this; homegrown HTPCs do this. The difference of course, is that Google's name isn't on any of those, and as we've seen with the HTC-built Nexus One, having Google's name on anything makes it instantly more recognizable and potentially more viable.



When you think about it, this makes perfect sense for Google. Google is a master of indexing, and their fingers are stretched throughout the Internet. Taking something that they're already good at and honing it for release on a TV seems relatively simple, and with digital consumption on the rise and typical pay-TV subscriptions on the decline, it's a perfect opportunity for Google to jump in. Imagine this: Google's laying fiber now in order to bring out a 1Gbps Internet service. What makes you think they wouldn't use that same fiber to deliver television and Web programming? Or should we say, why wouldn't they?  Verizon's FiOS service is the primary competitor here, though traditional broadband cable services obviously compete on the same turf as well. Oh, and that Nexus One we mentioned? What if you had a "triple-play" bundle from Google to get your cellphone, Internet and television programming? It sounds like a pipe dream, but when you lay out all the pieces, you're actually not that far from this very situation becoming a reality.

The other important aspect here are the partners. Sony is a huge name in the TV arena, and lately they've been struggling. Sony needs help to regain their swagger in the industry, and nothing says "swagger" like an official partnership with Google. Imagine a Google-powered TV. Now, wouldn't that sell well? Also, Intel is a giant in the chip industry, and Google needs CPU power in order to bring in content from the Web, power the user interface and make things smooth for the living room user. Intel definitely has the research and product line to make it all happen, and it's definitely a name people associate with quality.

Beyond just programming, users will also have access to Twitter, Web apps, photo websites and everything else that makes the Internet great. You can even imagine using Google to sift through media files in the cloud and enjoy them right on your TV. With a dream team like Intel, Sony and Google, the possibilities are nearly limitless. We're told that this partnership has been boiling for months now, and they've also looking into technology from Logitech to potentially source hardware and accessories to make managing the experience a lot easier. You could even imagine Android being used as the main interface to navigate through.  Given the lackluster UI presently installed on most cable boxes and the like, we think Android would bring a fresh face to a tired sector. One source close to the project had this to sa it's pretty telling and relates back to our original statement:
"Google wants to be everywhere the Internet is so they can put ads there."
Also, reportedly there is a prototype Google TV set top box already in existance somewhere, and there's even the possibility of using the Chrome web browser in order to surf to content.  Google in your living room?  You can almost count on it, be it sooner or later.
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Actually. The Apple TV and the Western Digital thing both stream media from your PC to your TV. Though the Apple TV does differ by allowing you to rent movies and play internet radio on the device itself.

I'm guessing that Google TV will stream Internet TV shows. That or it'll allow you to use your Google Services on your TV, just like MSNtv or AOL TV.

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Yeah Taylor it looks like there aim. With Google you can never tell though. They move so fast from or add things so often your kind of perplexed when they don't. As for this type of thing (streaming media etc), as I have stated on other posts, this is where I see everything going.

So I think it is a smart idea for a company to pursue. The tie ins to a lot of things, such as cellular expansion, fiber and provider roles seems to be one of there primary concerns now. So I am sure they will continue to expand the company. There development path or paths move so fast, and change things in general though.

So actually knowing where there going is perplexing at times, as you have no clue where exactly there heading. This overall seems to be a very good, current and future project. Who knows maybe in a couple of years they will take over Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon's place in all there markets, not to mention there current interest in energy production as well. I can see it you will pay your rent, mortgage, taxes water and Google bill (cellular/smart/residential phone, cable or entertainment, electric, internet, GPS etc).

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Sooner or later, it's not just living without electricty or internet that's going to be shocking news. But living without Google might be hard to choke too (that is after their world domination).

But along with the 1Gbps, I think it'll soon be possible to not need telephone lines and cable lines (thus saving on pricy home phone bills and cable tv bills) and use Skype phones and Google TV all through the internet line.

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In paper, it sounds like a great idea for Google...in paper. The reason why it can backfire is because of the unimpressive launch of Nexus one. The problem with Google is that it is trying to do too much. They are trying to extend their brand to other products that may not actually fit their image. In other words, Google is having an identity crisis right now. When people think of Google, the first thing they think of is search engine....not an OS or a TV. Transitioning and managing their brand seems to be Google's biggest weakness...and it shows with their plan to expand that showed nothing but poor results.

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Kyouya:

In paper, it sounds like a great idea for Google...in paper. The reason why it can backfire is because of the unimpressive launch of Nexus one. The problem with Google is that it is trying to do too much. They are trying to extend their brand to other products that may not actually fit their image. In other words, Google is having an identity crisis right now. When people think of Google, the first thing they think of is search engine....not an OS or a TV. Transitioning and managing their brand seems to be Google's biggest weakness...and it shows with their plan to expand that showed nothing but poor results.

That is an interesting point that you have there. I think this release might be more in line with what you are talking about with Google sticking to its brand. This isn't really a Google TV, it is still a Sony TV. What Google seems to be trying to do is giving users a good experience with the web through its tools (search engine, maps, e-mail, docs, etc.).

I'm interested to see how this works out. This is still a great case study of brand management.

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I'll be looking forward to it!

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IPTV is a definate new an up and coming but until they can incorporate local channels into their service I don't think it will gain huge grounds. I would love to see it work but I could not live without watching my football team. Then again, there may be a way to already do that. Does anyone use IPTV on a regular basis now that would know? I tinkered around with a few things but thats it.

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Well, personally the terms of IPTV varies. I currently think of TV as a linear straight line while I might think of IPTV as either a select your own show or linear straight line TV broadcasted over the internet with additional interactive features.

Still, I think Google will make you enter a Zip Code so that it can add any local stations that might have IPTV to your guide. Since Dish Network and DirecTV use the same guide. Then it can work since Google can add those stations to the guide you're downloading using your Google Account.

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IPTV has been promised for along time.

It has sooooo much potential. I wish someone could really implement it properly.

Like maybe a netflix style interface but expanded beyond just movies.

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I agree with acartz. I love the Netflix interface (at least in WMC) and have often felt it would be sweet for something like that just expanded. Imagine HULU+Netflix, in one easy to use interface. Add the ability for the TV shows to be live, and we would have a winner.

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I think all those companies are trying to avoid the bundles.

Really with the current state of technology all we need is one cable for all household needs, or at least one stream.

I am sure that's what the politicians are working towards, so they can have all the power and control, to monitor and give only what they want you to have. Tell the people what to buy and what to think and make them pay for it at the same time through corporations. Then once all that power is established come in and use it to their advantage. We all know to them, the ends justify the means!

Personally I would love to have around twenty different companies who all provided an all inclusive service, that way they would have to compete for customers and put them first. Yet with all this merging and buying and bailouts. The competition is dwindling and the customers are pretty much meaningless, because people are going to buy no matter what. That is why, when you call customer service at most major corporation's now...What/ Who do you get?

I would love more competition aimed towards quality service. I feel they have become to content on the base of customers who buy either way.  If they really want us to see all the ads the sell space for, step it up a notch and make them more entertaining and artistic.

 

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Instead of having consumers buy SEPARATE TV's for Google integration, why not make a box to connect to your TV that will then integrate Google into your TV? It would appeal to a much broader audience. I mean seriously, now everyone has big 50" TV's. So if Google really wants to profit from this endeavor, they are gonna have to make it appeal to EVERYONE who have these TV's ALREADY by making a box that they can simply connect to their TV to get these benefits. 

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