Earlier this year, Google announced their plans for Google TV - the smart TV service which allows users to watch live TV combined alongside browsing the web, all in one place. This week Google launched a website to demo the features of the new service – due to launch this month.
Google TV is designed to be a platform that combines people’s current TV sets and content from websites in to one place. With built in Google Chrome and access to the Internet, users will be able to browse the web as usual and watch TV – all on the big screen. Google have partnered with Logitech and Sony to offer consumers 2 options when they decide how to plug in to Google TV, either through a Sony TV or a Logitech Revue set top box. Logitech showcased their line of products yesterday with Sony’s preview of HD TVs complete with Google TV built in planned for October 12th
The idea in theory sounds amazing. Being able to watch sporting events and see scores and statistics online at the same time or watching a big news story unfold and tweeting about it all on one screen. Essentially it’s a TV that comes built in with a web browser, or a set top box that allows you to browse the web whilst watching TV (isn’t that called a laptop?
Below are the first two videos Google released explaining what Google TV is all about.
It’s hard to tell at this stage whether Google TV will be a huge rip roaring success. The initial response on the news are mixed, with some people citing the $299 price tag for the box as too expensive given that a similar service is offered by Apple for less that $100. Some are concerned with the quality of web browsing on a larger TV screens and the potential impact on price plans by internet service providers when faced with inevitable bandwidth increases. Others are simply pointing out that it is possible to have a similar experience by plugging in your existing computer or laptop in to the TV for free.
It will certainly be interesting to see how companies will adapt to working within this new technology. Will they be slow to adjust their ways of working and end up in the same situation that the music and print industries? According to their blog, Google have been inundated with requests from big companies to work with them on Google TV. HBO have already signed up hundreds of hours of content for an on demand service, and the NBA have built an application for users to enjoy games in real time as well as catching highlights from games – all in glorious high definition. Websites have also begun optimising content to maintain quality when browsing on a substantially larger screen.
The service also raises questions on how shows will turn a profit for companies. When TV was offered on demand on network websites, it was initially free of adverts. But as the popularity of on demand grew, so did the opportunity for advertisers to make masses of cash from this new and increasing audience. Companies may need to consider Google TV ad placements as part of their media plans moving forward, but this will obviously be hugely dependent on the viewing figures.
Content creators could also benefit massively from the introduction of Google TV. As it stands, third party developers will not be able to add their own applications until 2011, but once they can this could potentially eliminate the need for getting a deal with a broadcaster in order for their content to be seen. In a competitive market like TV, this could be a way of offering the little guys a great opportunity to have their content seen by a mass audience.
Below is the video released by Google this week showcasing the applications available on Google TV.
Google TV is here and they seem to have big plans for it. With major networks and websites already buying in to the idea of Google TV, early signs indicate that they could be on to a good thing here. There’s no confirmed release date for Google TV in the UK, but initially what are your thoughts? Would you be willing to part with £190 for a set top box to have access to Google TV? Leave a comment below and let us know.