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View Full Version : Google TV - finally a good alternative to Apple TV??




hitekalex
May 21, 2010, 06:04 PM
So what does everyone think of Google TV, that just got announced at Google I/O? I think this is good on a lot of levels..

First, it's an open Android based platform, which will be a HT enthusiast's paradise.. This of all the possibilities for various apps and add-ons. I would certainly expect things like NetFlix streaming on this platform, and bunch of other things that we have been craving for Apple TVs.

Second - it will give Apple a much needed kick in the pants and maybe they will finally upgrade Apple TV to something above "a hobby".

It will certainly be interesting to see how this platform will develop.

Google TV - Everything You Ever Wanted To Know (http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/21/google-tv-everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know/)



espanta
May 21, 2010, 08:55 PM
does it do the things that the atv does? ie read and play my media or access the itunes store?

seems like a great product actually (if it works as claimed), I would love to access my television content in an easier fashion than the current mess all those menus are.

hopefully it gives apple a kick in the pants and (most importantly) opens the platform up to developers.

i dont think apple will ever integrate into tv sets or with cable boxes so these two products dont seem to be competing much besides youtube viewing.

nuckinfutz
May 21, 2010, 09:25 PM
So what does everyone think of Google TV, that just got announced at Google I/O? I think this is good on a lot of levels..

First, it's an open Android based platform, which will be a HT enthusiast's paradise.. This of all the possibilities for various apps and add-ons. I would certainly expect things like NetFlix streaming on this platform, and bunch of other things that we have been craving for Apple TVs.

Second - it will give Apple a much needed kick in the pants and maybe they will finally upgrade Apple TV to something above "a hobby".

It will certainly be interesting to see how this platform will develop.

Google TV - Everything You Ever Wanted To Know (http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/21/google-tv-everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know/)

I think largely it's window dressing until you can find a way to break the Content Cabal.

Searching for content is easy. A Tivo or any capable DVR system can find shows and list the next times a show will play. I'm not really buying Google's assertion that finding shows is all that hard. What people want (IMO) is more content for a lower price and less hardware to support (i.e. CableCards and other STB killing tech)

Google TV sounds good but it doesn't appear to address some of the fundamental issues that affect TV viewing. They're just adding in a bit of web stuff (already available) with some search on the top. Nothing really groundbreaking honestly.

hitekalex
May 21, 2010, 09:28 PM
does it do the things that the atv does? ie read and play my media or access the itunes store?

I am certain it won't directly access iTunes Store (personally could care less about that).. But it should be able to stream non-DRM'ed content off your home NAS server.

Of course it will have capabilities above and beyond a plain media streamer.. the possibilities of an open platform are endless.

godslabrat
May 21, 2010, 09:49 PM
I'm thinking most people who would buy a GoogleTV would say "Well, if I have Hulu and Netflix, I really don't need iTunes." There's a good chance they would be correct. Apple's insistence that iTunes be the alpha and omega of the HT experience is what's holding the AppleTV back. Even if iTunes provides and excellent service at a fair price (I would contend that it does), it's still just one service in an industry that offers dozens.

I think that's the push Google is going to give Apple in this area-- in order to look competitive, AppleTV needs to embrace Netflix, BluRay, Tivo, YouTube, Hulu, direct network streaming, apps... whatever. It does not need to support ALL the above but in a world where STBs are sold based on how many bullet points are on the box, Apple needs to at least provide more features. And at the end of the day, people might still think iTunes is the best overall feature of the unit, but that decision should be made by the customer, Apple shouldn't make it for them.

As for this device specifically... I find it interesting, but given Google's schizophrenic approach to choosing pet projects, I'm going to watch from a safe distance.

dynaflash
May 21, 2010, 11:31 PM
As far as I can tell ... no mention of how or if you can watch your own content whether via streaming or (syncing in apple parlance). As well I saw a quip in that article alluding to $400.00 or so price range for the logitech companion box !! For the old WebTV (even on steroids) not so sure I would stand in line at that price.

Having said that, no question that now there is a serious gorilla in the room hype-wise for the living room market besides Apple. It is inevitable that someone is eventually gonna get this right and profit huge.

With any luck Apple (more correctly Jobs) will get pissed off enough to finally toss a bit of weight behind the appletv.

I do wonder while reading all of this if *maybe* the folks at Apple saw something coming down the pike the whole time they kept referring to the AppleTV as a "hobby". Optimistically it could be that Apple wanted *someone* to lift their skirt a bit before committing to the next AppleTV form factor. On the other hand maybe not. Only time will tell.

nuckinfutz
May 22, 2010, 12:26 AM
So I watched the hacked up keynote at Google IO for the GTV. Lordy if Google isn't giving something away for free they show clearly that marketing is not a talent they possess in spades.

Vic G did an excellent job with Android and then it was all downhill as from there as far as presenter quality went.

GTV really looks like a product that promises to enrich the lives of people strapped to their TV for 5 hours a day but Google really failed to show "me" how exactly this was going to change TV viewing.

1. Search - umm finding content on a premium cable/satellite package isn't that hard.

2. Web content - slow loading HD content, widgets and apps isn't exactly groundbreaking.

3. You Tube has peaked. I go there now and then but it's really annoying and reading the comment section is like visiting trailer park trash central.

4. It doesn't fundamentally change the way we get content. They're piggybacking on Cable Ops and Satellite providers with the "ole IR repeater" which means you're still shelling out money to Comcast, Time Warner, Dish Network and now you have a new overlord sitting at the table to pitch their apps and marketplace.

I don't think there's anything Apple has to fear. Apple TV may not be a runaway success but Logitech couldn't beat it with the Slim Devices gear. Sony is on track to have 1 hit per decade and is a shell of the former great company.

I fully expect Apple to revisit the next Apple TV and deliver a iPhone OS/ARM based system with less focus on being your TV wunderdevice and more about supporting the Mac/Mobile ecosystem and light duty gaming. I don't see Apple care about putting their OS in TV and other products. Apple likes to control their software via their hardware. Call it Walled ...call it closed but in the end it will be elegant, work properly and tastefully designed.

fpnc
May 22, 2010, 01:02 AM
I'm thinking most people who would buy a GoogleTV would say "Well, if I have Hulu and Netflix, I really don't need iTunes." There's a good chance they would be correct. Apple's insistence that iTunes be the alpha and omega of the HT experience is what's holding the AppleTV back...
Sure, you might get access to Hulu and Netflix but you'll either have to pay for it or slog through commercials and how will that be any different to what you can do today with cable and an Apple TV? Furthermore, the Apple TV already offers pretty good integration to the internet (streaming movies and TV, internet radio, YouTube, video and audio podcasts, and photo sharing sites) so what will Google TV really bring that it new? A TV-focused internet browser? Not really practical for most home A/V setups. Google search? Okay, that would be something of an upgrade but there are already a wealth of TV channel guides for the iPhone/iPod touch/iPad that offer search and you can both control and search the Apple TV's internet services using any one of those devices.

Then there would be widgets and games for the Google TV. These are something that aren't yet available on the Apple TV but I don't see these as a huge game changer in favor of Google TV. If it were or if it comes to be then I'm sure that Apple could respond with a similar set of features (like opening up the App Store to the Apple TV).

It's nice to have options but Google TV shouldn't be any real threat to the media system that Apple is building with iTunes, the iPod/iPhone/iPad and Apple TV. In any case, content will be king and iTunes already has a pretty good lineup and there is no reason to expect that this would change even if Google TV proves to be a success.

Mach1.8
May 22, 2010, 07:23 AM
Everyone in the media keeps talking about Hulu being where GTV is going to leapfrog the competition(such as it were). This is rubbish...Hulu will never allow access to its content on a TV as it would directly compete with the network. If they do allow access, it will be on a pay basis. YouTube is a big giant "meh". There are so many devices that give you access to that content and it's not especially compelling stuff to begin with.

At the end of the day, this announcement induces a big yawn from me...and it should for thte rest of the world too. If anything, I'm excited because maybe this will spur :apple: to update the ATV in a meaningful way.

hitekalex
May 22, 2010, 09:48 AM
I think what everyone is missing is what Google TV can potentially become, once people and 3rd party companies start develop apps and add-ons for it. Think about it - it has the potential of becoming an iPad of Internet-connected TV.

If the content owners like CBS, ABC, ESPN and others deliver apps for Google TV (like they already do for iPad) - you now have direct Internet-based access to just about all of the TV content worth watching.

Add to that NetFlix, Amazon, Blockbuster, and Pandora - and you have access to enough TV, movies and music to cancel your Comcast/Dish/DTV subscription.

You're not tied to iTunes Store or any particular provider "ecosystem" - you have access to it all. I am not even mentioning various peripheral apps that could be easily added to this platform - Skype Video conferencing, VoIP, Online Gaming, various Weather/Stock/News widgets.

I see the biggest value in Google TV platform not just in what it offers when it ships.. but it will evolve to once Android developers start putting out thousands of apps for it. That's the biggest thing that sets Google TV apart from just about all of the other media streamer platforms (Roku, WD-TV, Apple TV, PS3/XboX) - it's based on free open-source platform that anyone can develop for. You're not at the mercy of the device vendor for added features.

Finally, for the sake of Apple TV, I hope they open it up to 3rd party developers and do it soon. Otherwise this platform is as good as dead.

Mach1.8
May 22, 2010, 11:10 AM
If the content owners like CBS, ABC, ESPN and others deliver apps for Google TV (like they already do for iPad) - you now have direct Internet-based access to just about all of the TV content worth watching.


The problem is, that will never happen. I can't see (in the near term, anyway) networks creating apps that deliver their content to the TV via the Internet. That effectively cuts out every local network affiliate. No way they are going to marginalize the cable and satellite providers either...this is where all the money is. Having the content (ad supported, BTW) on a small iPad screen is one thing, but translate that to a 50" plasma, that's a different story. It's the same reason I don't think Hulu will be on this or any other STB any time soon.

Will someday we see an ala carte purchase plan with the ability to choose what network streams we receive? Maybe...but that kind of scenario is way too consumer friendly, and the cynic in me can't see that ever coming to pass. But, as they say, never say...;)

trip1ex
May 22, 2010, 01:10 PM
I agree Google is delusional when they say content is hard to find and that what we need is millions of more channels.

And I don't see GTV breaking through the grip cable and satellite companies have over content.

And that's the real problem the ATV has. It needs more content and better pricing.

I certainly don't need a GTV to search my Tivo for content. I mean that demonstration/example was retarded.

And GTV certainly isn't going to mean Hulu on your TV. Content providers won't allow it. Plus Hulu quality is crap for a big screen TV and I'm not that picky about quality.

And if a hardware manufacturer is going to take GTV and make a DVR and DVR software then good luck. Tivo has been in that space for a decade and has struggled to compete against the free cable and satellite DVRs and against their always changing tech.

msavwah
May 22, 2010, 08:46 PM
I certainly hope Apple brings their A-Game soon.
The last thing I want is google on my tv, really had enough with google spreading far and wide and trying to get into everything. The upside of course is the competition, and hopefully Apple will put em in their place here soon. I have an :apple:TV and I love it, but I'm ready to see what happens beyond hobby status.

Mach1.8
May 23, 2010, 08:37 AM
As far as I can tell ... no mention of how or if you can watch your own content whether via streaming or (syncing in apple parlance).

That's really the $64,000 question for me right now. Does anyone know the answer? If you can't watch your own content using GTV, I can't see this thing going anywhere.

Rich1963
May 23, 2010, 10:08 AM
Nothing game-changing to see here, folks. Move along, please.

Seriously, along with the comments already made above (search already available for TV programming, will it even play my content?, Youtube has peaked and is going to begin to become more walled off with paid content), one other thing needs to be added - Google is a dominant player on the web that makes the vast majority of its cash from advertising via search.

I already have advertising in the form of commercials that I always attempt to fast-forward through while watching my desired content. What advertising layer is Google going to add on to this to make money? And don't forget about the Admob purchase - this is going to be exploited to the fullest across Google's empire...

And with the alliance Google is claiming to have formed with other major content ands media providers, I can't see TV and content becoming more open and easily accessible. I already have restrictions placed on how long I can keep a pay-per-view show, what can be watched over HDMI/HDCP versus analog-out, etc.

The AppleTV, for all of its short-comings, does EXACTLY what I want it to - it is an ipod for the television to move my itunes library in to the living room. It is just a little buggy and needs a refresh.

hitekalex
May 24, 2010, 11:58 AM
As far as I can tell ... no mention of how or if you can watch your own content whether via streaming or (syncing in apple parlance).

That's really the $64,000 question for me right now. Does anyone know the answer? If you can't watch your own content using GTV, I can't see this thing going anywhere.

I believe gTV will support UPnP/DLNA streaming.. in which case, you'd be all set with watching your own content from PC/Mac servers. I would be quite surprised if it doesn't.

dynaflash
May 24, 2010, 03:27 PM
I believe gTV will support UPnP/DLNA streaming.. in which case, you'd be all set with watching your own content from PC/Mac servers. I would be quite surprised if it doesn't.
Right, so given that "how" becomes the question to the wider audience. I can probably manage to browse a file system like anyone here. But its the "how" that interests me in terms of wide adoption.

Rich1963
May 24, 2010, 05:11 PM
If this becomes simply browsing a file structure, it's dead on arrival from a 'watch your content' point of view. Nobody wants to have friends over so they can view a hierarchal file/folder system while you try to explain and brag about the merits of this thing. One of the beauties of the AppleTV is that is has a nice, but limited, facade with which to scan through your library.

And while it is running some form of Android, it still needs to somehow have Apple's 'watch it on any product in the OS ecosystem' to really catch on. Otherwise it is yet another device in your repertoire containing a movie that is stuck within the limited range of the TV/Computer server.

It will be interesting to watch. They either become an Apple contender or a bumbling wannabe like Microsoft.

hitekalex
May 26, 2010, 12:04 AM
It will be interesting to watch. They either become an Apple contender or a bumbling wannabe like Microsoft.

Really? Win7 Media Center is in most ways vastly superior to anything Apple has put out in home theater space.. Microsoft's problem is very poor marketing and just lack of public awareness about WMC. Most people with Win7 computers don't even know they have a top-notch media center software already built into their system. But.. we digress..

phenixdragon
May 26, 2010, 07:16 AM
I'm thinking most people who would buy a GoogleTV would say "Well, if I have Hulu and Netflix, I really don't need iTunes." There's a good chance they would be correct. Apple's insistence that iTunes be the alpha and omega of the HT experience is what's holding the AppleTV back. Even if iTunes provides and excellent service at a fair price (I would contend that it does), it's still just one service in an industry that offers dozens.

I think that's the push Google is going to give Apple in this area-- in order to look competitive, AppleTV needs to embrace Netflix, BluRay, Tivo, YouTube, Hulu, direct network streaming, apps... whatever. It does not need to support ALL the above but in a world where STBs are sold based on how many bullet points are on the box, Apple needs to at least provide more features. And at the end of the day, people might still think iTunes is the best overall feature of the unit, but that decision should be made by the customer, Apple shouldn't make it for them.

As for this device specifically... I find it interesting, but given Google's schizophrenic approach to choosing pet projects, I'm going to watch from a safe distance.

I agree. The only reason why I don't have an Apple TV is because it lacks so many things. I don't really use iTunes besides to manage my music but for movies, TV, etc...I use other products such as Netflix, Windows Media Center, even Hulu now and then.