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Google Media Television

Google Giving Google TV Another Shot 199

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the this-dream-sponsored-by-google dept.
MrSeb writes with a piece on Google's renewed push for Google TV adoption. From the article: "In spite of a mediocre launch caused by an overpriced device and low consumer adoption, Mountain View is attempting to breathe life into Google TV in the way of a major marketing push at CES 2012. By announcing partnerships with companies like Marvell and LG, and an effort to cut costs by switching to ARM architecture, Google is hoping to finally achieve the mass adoption it has been hoping for with the service. Is this a case of too little, too late?"
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Google Giving Google TV Another Shot

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  • by JoeMerchant (803320) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @08:08AM (#38649720)

    Just to make sure... TV is dead, stream me my entertainment on-demand or don't bother making it.

    • If you define "tv" as screen time among all the gadgets we use in our life and work. Some people spend 80% of their conscious time staring at a screen of some kind from a cell to desktop to television. Younger people put their boomer elders to shame in this respect.
    • by sleigher (961421)
      All I want to know is when I can buy a device that will allow me to stream the channels I want? I am willing to pay a monthly fee for those stations. I just want the live stream of the station.

      Don't say cable. I want to stream the channels I want. Not 150 other channels I don't want. I would even pay up to 2 or 3 dollars a month for the channels I do want. And I will watch their damn ads too. I say 2 or 3 dollars because 150 / $65 = $2.30. Rough guess anyways...

      Roku cannot do it. Even with pla
      • Simple, just block every channel except those that you want to "subscribe" to. Viola your cable bill now only pays for subscription channels you want. My service can even come and set this up for you (or provide detailed instructions) for a small fee!
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Riker: "TeeVee?"
      Data: "It was a form of entertainment that died out sometime in the middle of the 21st century, sir."

      -- The Neutral Zone

    • it integrates so well with my TV. It controls my cable box, Blue ray player, stereo, etc.... Until all content is streamed-- this is the perfect box to have. The Boxee, Apple TV, and Roku are all stand alone. This is Google's real advantage-- you can migrate over.
  • by jimbouse (2425428) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @08:09AM (#38649728)
    I think Google's real challenge is with the content owners. If it would 'just work', then I believe the product would sell.
    • by rsmith-mac (639075) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @08:18AM (#38649790)

      Bingo. Google needs content, and a lot more than they have now. YouTube rentals only fill a very narrow part of the spectrum; they need partnerships with Comcast, Verizon, and other cable operators like Microsoft has for their Xbox 360 media initiative to get access to their streaming libraries. Not to mention the major networks, Hulu, Major League Baseball, Amazon, and a bunch of smaller operators.

      Without content their box is just a useless hunk of plastic and silicon. Throwing it in a bunch of TVs won't change the status quo.

      • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @11:40AM (#38652260) Journal

        And THAT is why its gonna bomb. Google has basically enjoyed "free" content for years with their search, Gmail, etc. Sure they pay for their backend but they aren't about to cut a check to say every video that someone consumes that isn't on Youtube. MSFT and Sony paid a hell of a lot of money to get content for their players and Google think they can basically pull a Google search and get the content for free...ain't happening. Google is gonna end up with their ass blocked for anything worth watching so the ONLY content Google is gonna end up with is YouTube and shit like clog dancing so nobody is gonna care.

        Google's entire business model is the "throw it at the wall and see if it sticks" model which doesn't involve paying out big fat checks and the content owners aren't gonna let their media go to Google for free. Google can switch to ARM, MIPS, hell it could run it on fricking hamsters because that isn't what makes the GTV DOA, its the fact that Google is blacklisted across the board. You'd have better odds with a WDTV or a Roku than with a GTV because Google will NEVER pay the money, that would go against their entire "find more ways to monetize search" model which has worked VERY well for them in the past, but content is a whole nother ballgame. Hell just look at all the channels loaded by default in every single Windows box from HP on up under "Internet TV". You think all those companies like CBS just let MSFT copy their website's content and put it in a WMC wrapper? hell no! You can bet MSFT paid a pretty penny indeed to have every one of those channels and Google thinks they can just copy the website address and throw on their own wrapper and make some cash, boy are they in for a shock.

        Like it or not Google is dead meat if they don't shell out the bucks and Google has made it pretty clear when the content owners first started blocking them they ain't paying shit, so they ain't getting shit, simple as that. MSFT has had a hard on for the living room since WebTV back in the 90s so they'll pay, Sony knows it helps sell PS3s so they'll shell out too, Google is the one left out in the cold. Frankly I don't blame the owners, they gotta pay for bandwidth too ya know and if Google was allowed to pull this shit they'd get a massive hit with no ROI, whereas MSFT and Sony cut them a check.

    • I think Google's real challenge is with the content owners. If it would 'just work', then I believe the product would sell.

      Well Roku has managed it - can't imagine why Google wouldn't be able to do the same thing, with all the money they have.

  • Problem with some of the google services, including the first TV service attempt: They hook you and drop the service later on. Everyone deserves a second chance, but this time, consumers and partners will be much more carefully. But they have some experience now - they might not make the same mistake twice.
    • Exactly, I came here to say the same thing.

      I like Google, but I don't feel ready to commit to a service they might drop next year if they decide to, for whatever reason.
  • Root it, Root it, Root it, Root it...

  • Or (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spad (470073) <slashdot@spad.YEATSco.uk minus poet> on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @08:13AM (#38649764) Homepage

    Is this me stating my opinion as a question while strongly implying that it's a fact?

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@noSPaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @08:24AM (#38649834)

    I guess this is in response to the supposed Apple TV (as in, the physical device with a screen rather than the little streaming box they currently have) that Apple is allegedly working on, and Google sees the chance for some collateral sales when the inevitable marketing tsunami from Apple arrives.

    Nothing wrong with that I think, but it's going to live or die on content. As someone has already pointed out, the TV (and TV peripheral - DVR/online box/streaming device) market is hard to get into so you need a compelling reason for people to want to get your particular device.

    • by DragonWriter (970822) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @02:31PM (#38654720)

      I guess this is in response to the supposed Apple TV (as in, the physical device with a screen rather than the little streaming box they currently have) that Apple is allegedly working on, and Google sees the chance for some collateral sales when the inevitable marketing tsunami from Apple arrives.

      Reports of Google's next iteration of GoogleTV and that it would be incorporated into TVs from more manufacturers instead of primarily as a standalone set-top devices (or integrated into other devices like blu-ray players) started before reports about the next generation of AppleTV; I would be hesitant to describe either as a response to the other, and even moreso to pick a direction.

      I think the GoogleTV is more Google exploiting the fact that TV prices are dropping and manufacturers are looking for sources of value-added features to sell in higher-priced models, and that GoogleTV-supported streaming sources (including, and especially, YouTube) have acquired a lot more professional content than anything to do with AppleTV's plans.

  • Needs PVR Ability (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jedi Holocron (225191) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @08:26AM (#38649848) Homepage Journal

    None of these devices, Google TV or Apple TV, are going to take off unless they offer a simple and effect way for a customer to record a show. This can either be Over The Air or Over The Cable. People WANT this feature because it is ingrained into their thinking.

    The ability to On Demand order and watch a show over Broadband still needs widespread adoption and availability. See other posts here about "content."

    Without easy PVR functionality, then these devices are just extra devices duplicating my already includes services in my big old stupid DVR/Cable box.

    • What people want is a lot of TV they want to watch and for a small price or free.

      The reason for Netflix popularity (with the recent mess-up excluded) Is with its streaming for $10.00 a month you get a lot of options and they are/were updated frequently, which is a lot cheaper then buying DVD's of those TV shows you liked, and you don't feel bad after watching them not going back to them for a few years.

      But unfortunately the media providers are still wary of this medium and want to over charge for this.
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Without easy PVR functionality, then these devices are just extra devices duplicating my already includes services in my big old stupid DVR/Cable box.

      See, my PVR functionality is my DVR/Cable box, so I don't need my additional device to do that for me. I guess, being able to record shows off the 'net sounds good, but with bandwidth caps and the like, I don't do such things over my internet connection.

      For me, being able to stream my entire media collection that I already have (including the Digital Copy of

      • Yup. I'd agree with your comments. But you're clearly a trendsetter.

        Most people still think in terms of "setting the VCR" however, IMO.

    • by Cogneato (600584)

      I dropped cable for streaming + antenna 2 years ago and though that I would miss DVR. As it turns out, I don't miss it at all. If I want to see a show that was previously broadcast, I find a way to stream it online. In the rare case when it isn't available, I have been surprised at how easy I find it to wait for the DVDs (as I did with Walking Dead), or just not care to watch it ever. The simple fact is that I have access to so much high quality entertainment that I can watch on my own schedule, that I don'

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @08:33AM (#38649912) Journal

    Set top boxes (or pucks, as they're becoming) are still an open field. Nobody has managed to create one without screwing some portion of the consumer market, or getting screwed by content providers, or both.

    I've had a Roku box and an AppleTV, along with a not-quite-the-same Popcorn Hour and a HTPC. What I've decided is that these things, when combined with a TV, are a lot like tablets. They're great for consumption, but the key is having applications which cater to various niche markets. To me, that means two things. You have to offer a framework for the content providers to make money, and you need to give application developers the chance to expand the usefulness and content options available.

    I gave up on the old Popcorn Hour a long time ago. The HTPC is nice, but I don't have the time to "manage" they system regularly and keep up with patches and bugfixes in add-ons. It works as a media player with the real remote control. I've tried the online streaming and it works, but the content is woefully limited. The Roku had some major launch issues with their v2, and I gave up after a month of poor streaming and difficult-to-manage navigation. The AppleTV is the easiest to use, but is a tough sell with their pay-for-everything-all-over-again model. I've jailbroken the ATV2 and use PLEX to stream my library for now. It's stable enough that the family is using it, and knows to just let it reboot when the application crashes (which it does frequently, as it's not a supported client).

    That's a very longwinded way of getting to applications. The iFoo and Android platforms are successful because they offer a huge array of content and content sources, all supported by their own separate dev teams. I don't have to wait for Google or Apple to create a Hulu+ client - the Hulu guys will do that. If it sucks, I won't buy their service. Same for Netflix, or Pandora, or any other service.

    I expect that if, and I say if, Apple opens the doors to applications on the ATV, the market doors will close very, very quickly on everyone else. They're the only box that has the silky-smooth, easy to use interface that makes it easy for a non-techie to use. Even when things go wrong, it like a weeble - the screen blinks black, and two seconds later you're back at the home menu, like nothing every happened. That's comforting to the average Joe or Jane, and it's easy to get the family to understand (i.e. - a reset requires zero interaction and nearly zero time). If it weren't for the (nearly) iTunes-only content model, it would be an absolute winner.

    So yes, there's an opportunity here - but it does require not fucking it up. And tech companies have proven that, on the whole, that's the one thing they're really good at. Your move, Google.

    • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @08:45AM (#38649994) Homepage

      "They're the only box that has the silky-smooth, easy to use interface that makes it easy for a non-techie to use."

      I dont know I never use it unless I needed to reboot the Atv box to get bac kto the XBMC install on it.

      The latest XBMC makes the apple TV interface look like a complete turd. having a 2tb NAS full of bluRay and DVD rips delivers an experience at home that apple on their own refuse to give me.

      • I'm glad you got XBMC to work. I got it to work, but not being a linux guy was pretty baffled by the options to install the various packages. It also had issues with streaming when I was playing with it, and the interface sucks. Every try and scroll/page through 400+ movies? Yeah, try that with plex and it's a whole different world, with very little setup required, plus it has supported clients for iOS devices. XMBC can do more, but Plex does what I need it to without requiring that I mess with the internal

        • by Lumpy (12016)

          You must have tried it years ago.

          Installing options are point, click, drool.

          And the media manager works just fine scrolling through 65,535 movies. search and sorting by genre,name,actor,director, lighting guy, electrician, and catering are all easily possible.

          • It was probably 8 months ago. Hulu never installed, I couldn't find netflix, and most of the packages had non-descriptive names and clicking on them to install did nothing. Again, it was an early ATV client. As for scrolling, It would have taken the better part of 10 minutes to get from beginning to end of my movie list with the remote. It didn't see to cache the entire list locally. Plex takes about 15 seconds.

            Actually, one of the problems was the all-inclusive interface. Sure, you could get to everything

          • I should add - the graphics in XMBC are cool, but I'm one of those guys who has a black desktop with no wallpaper. To me they don't add appreciably to the day to day experience, though they make for nice eye candy when friends see it for the first time.

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          > but not being a linux guy was pretty baffled by the options to install the various packages

          apt-get install xbmc

          > and the interface sucks. Every try and scroll/page through 400+ movies

          Which Plex solves how exactly?

          Plex is essentially an XBMC for. However Plex manages this problem was likely already solved in the original (XBMC).

      • by iamwahoo2 (594922)

        To be fair to the grandparent, they did say that ATV is the only "box" that delivers a good interface. XBMC is awesome, but lets be honest, only a techie is going to install and maintain that software on dedicated hardware. To make money on these TV gadgets, the products are going to need to appeal to the very large market segment that is willing to spend money on a smartphone but does not have the desire to root or mod the software.

    • I expect that if, and I say if, Apple opens the doors to applications on the ATV, the market doors will close very, very quickly on everyone else.

      I just got an Apple TV about a week ago, and haven't had a chance to check into it, but it seems that there are a number of apps already supported via "AirPlay" on the unit: http://theapple.tv/apps/ [theapple.tv]

    • by mounthood (993037)

      You have to offer a framework for the content providers to make money ...

      Google is afraid of defining the market, and Apple isn't. Neither strategy has overcome. Cable was defined by the technology, and the business changes (pay TV, channels that are bundled/premium/rebroadcast, etc..) were forced on the industry because of what the technology would allow.

      The next major change (Internet TV) will be a software change, and software doesn't enforce any particular business arrangements. So what Google needs to do is create a system that both allows the content providers to make mo

    • Content. Online Streaming. Simplicity.

      Just setup PlayOn to play through a net connected BR player to have access to all the web video. Very cheap and you get all the online content without the recording/converting/storage issues. You can play Discs, watch Netflix, Vudu, etc as well as live tv. This has been our cable-less solution for over a year now and the price is right.
  • Android (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @08:34AM (#38649920) Homepage

    I've been seeing a lot of Android-based mediatanks and mediaplayers lately, complete with TV guides, dedicated apps and, ofcourse, access to the entire Android market.
    What's the benefit of GoogleTV over these Android-based alternative?

    • by symbolset (646467) *

      Google TV is simpler and runs on cheaper hardware. Presumably updates will be more frequent and consistent. You can get the TV with full Android also - I think Lenovo offers it. Or you can do it with an HDMI dongle.

      My TVs are all minimally smart already (Netflix at least), so the dongle or STB is the way for me. Fortunately the dongles are very cheap - like $79. Personally I would prefer the Android version, as the marketplace is an amazing value add.

  • by chroma (33185) <chroma.mindspring@com> on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @08:35AM (#38649924) Homepage

    Over the holidays, I got a chance to give Google TV a serious tryout at my parents' house. They bought the Sony Blu Ray player with Google TV built in.

    I liked it so much that I ordered one for my living room. It arrives tomorrow.

    The Netflix/Amazon/web integration works very well and there's even an app store. I'm planning to use it for all my TV viewing and getting rid of cable.

    • by Idbar (1034346)
      I agree. I don't know what is it with the "overpriced" word on the summary. I got mine for $800, a 42 inch LED 60Hz. By the time everyone was so disappointed it wasn't 120Hz or 240Hz (don't really know why they need that for Internet streaming anyways), that they failed to realized that it was an $800 set (not a $1200+) and it had a CPU inside.

      Netflix integration is great (It has declined a bit since, its latest version is not as intuitive as it was originally), and the capability of flash, allows you to
  • so that it works with the likes of Ubuntu TV [slashdot.org], Boxee, and maybe even Miro [getmiro.com] so we don't have even MORE competing standards I'll be happy with it. Having LG on-board is the best thing I've read about this, hardware manufacturers are often one of the most important steps, and my LG Blu-ray player is the coolest thing in my living room. Even if the Blu-ray drive quit working that player would still be the central part of my entertainment setup considering all the online and UPNP support built in. LG is the rig

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      LG already has a "smart TV" platform box as well as TV's. I just wonder if LG is going to skip their crap software and put GoogleTV on it instead.

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      Meh, I'd rather just everybody program applications for Wii/XBox360/PS3. Netflix is so popular simply because they make it easy for people to use. You don't have to buy a new box. You don't have to hook a computer up to your TV (which until computers started having HDMI cables a couple years back was was quite cumbersome). You just turn on your game console, which already has a wireless remote, and browse content and watch it. I don't know why more of these online systems don't just support devices that
      • by pecosdave (536896) *

        You basically just backed up what I said.

        Try convincing an average 65 year old they need to buy an X-Box, oh, I'm sure a few will be on board but the very fact the thing is known for playing video games will chase them off. LG builds their own "platform" and have been doing it for a while making the boxes you mentioned redundant, even the video game ones for the purposes we're discussing. LG builds their content players into their devices. Currently I'm still using an non-HD 36" Mitsubishi Dimatron, it's

  • If it's not $99.00 and they get rid of the crappy HDMI passthrough that was an epic fail. IT's dead before it hits the shelves.

    They also need to make it so I can change the browser ID string so that I can bypass checks on sites like NBC.com and ABC.com and watch their streaming on the TV.

  • by ciderbrew (1860166) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @08:43AM (#38649982)
    I'm sat in the UK and want to watch content from Japan (not porn!) - Apart from streaming or putting a dish on the roof (not an option) howelse can you get it apart from streaming / downloading it? Swap the ads to sell local crap and show me programs I want.
  • Here's the way I see it. If I can download my content apps: Hulu Plus, Netflix, Amazon On-Demand, Pandora, etc from the Marketplace and get TV screen sized content from the Android Marketplace I'm buying.
    Now if Google TV acts as a content organizer ACROSS these apps and marketplaces, then Google TV provides something I can't get from any other set top box - Integration. I want the couch friendly schedule, but I don't want to jump between apps to view my content. If the price is right, you'll blow compet

    • by Idbar (1034346)
      I have the set (The Sony TV -- Sorry, for buying Sony!). The recent update allows you to run Pandora in background and even put a widget on the screen. Now allows to install apps and has access to some App Market that I haven't found use for yet (But it has some games and other apps). I think you can now stream from your Mac as well.

      I think with these changes, they finally seem to be working on the right track.
  • Perseverance really is key to success. Google tried Buzz, Waves and now, with Google+, it seems the social networking (and related) initiatives have brought some benefits.

    Microsoft also didn't give up with the XBox, and is finally doing OK.

  • I'm rooting for them (Score:4, Informative)

    by vawwyakr (1992390) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @09:30AM (#38650460)
    Unless they change a lot and add a lot of content I see no use for me in any of these set top boxes/built in TV interfaces. I have a media center PC and it does everything they do and then also a whole lot more. None of them can just go to NBC.com and pull up last night's show for free. If they did then either they'd need some sort of agreement with the broadcaster which would probably be too expensive or they'd need a fully function web browser which would eliminate their dumbed down interface. I see no reason I should pay someone to give me less than what I could easily get on my own.
    • I want the PC stuff, but I don't want the PC user experience. I don't want a keyboard, I want a remote - preferably one remote for the whole operation. I don't want to have to navigate to a page, sift through web cruft, just to get to the video. I don't want to have to shut down or switch from a browser to a media player to a media streaming application (unBox/Netflix/Hulu+) except by flipping to a "home" menu and selecting the app. Actually, I take that back - I really don't want to have to switch at all,

  • Ok-- I'm not the first one here to point out that google TV failed because of lack of content, but IIRC the idea was initially that it would be able to pull in any content off the web-- including hulu, abc.com, nbc.com, etc... but the content owners immediately blocked google tv from their web sites. What I don't get is... why didn't google just code around this and give you the chance to change the user agent? Make it look like firefox on windows xp to the servers and call it a job?
    • by txsable (169665)

      There is actually an option on the Logitech Revue to change the user agent, but doing that breaks the custom UI interfaces for youtube, dailymotion, etc. I have not tried this but I'm seriously considering it.

      We got the Revue and a digital antenna last fall after deciding that we didn't want to pay $120/month (at the time we cancelled) for cable services that kept getting less "service" for more money every month. (it was $85/mo when we subscribed 4 years earlier,and we didn't change anything in our subsc

  • by EXTomar (78739) on Tuesday January 10, 2012 @12:10PM (#38652618)

    As An Owner Of A Sony Google TV it worked out surprisingly well. Especially after the last major update which added the interface to Android Marketplace.

    I had initially got the thing because I needed a "medium" sized HDTV and the current specials made it a reasonable buy. I've seen "Internet on TV" so my expectations where really low. I have several things that play Netflix. I have several things that do DLNA. I have plenty of devices that have web browsers in them (although very few entertainment/living room devices do that). This TV has all of them it. What ended up happening is that it combined some of the disaparate components into the TV itself. Its about as close to a HTPC as anything consumer electronic thing I have without actually being a HTPC. But it still has gaps. I would claim that my Sony Google TV would be a little weird as a family room HDTV but its a great bedroom or office TV mostly because you don't need a bunch of little boxes to go with it.

    After being happy with my Google TV, I see the next step as a full blown "Smart TV" like "Smart Phones" that revolutionized cell phones. The software components are all there but it needs better and tighter integration. Especially with a home internet connection, your TV should be leveraging the search and information it has to some intelegent things out of the box.

    Things to improve with Google TV:
    - Boxee style "Show Me Later". There is a way with Boxee to put a link on your browser to "tag" things you find on the Internet to watch on your box later. What I do with Google TV is remember where it is and browse to it.
    - Subtitle support. If a video stream has subtitle text encoded it should display it. Mutliple devices do it multiple ways where this seems to be something that could be better supported in the display instead of the player.
    - Agressively scrape information but depricate non-display friendly information. I don't think reading email on TV is a good idea but a Smart TV should recognize emails from your mother and father from their European vacation with pictures and a Youtube video where those videos and pictures are great to view on a TV.
    - Google has a nice calendar feature, lets start using it. I'm not suggesting that one should be mixing their professional meetings and appointment data with when "Survivor" is on but a Smart TV should to track both events. The goal here is to get the TV and PVR and other devices to recognize the same calendar and do some smart things with the information. Recognizing you have favorite programs or a video streams but have a conflicting appointment should make the devices save or promote features.

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