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Google TV Suffers Setback

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the they'll-get-over-it dept.

Google 202

An anonymous reader writes "Google TV has now been around long enough for the geeks to play around with it. And they have come back with disappointing reviews. While most were excited at the concept of wedlock between the TV and Internet, the marriage itself looks destined to be challenging."

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Chapter 1 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34635052)

September 16, 1991. Today it finally began! After all these years of talking and nothing but talking we have finally taken our first action. We are at war with the System, and it is no longer a war of words.

I cannot sleep, so I will try writing down some of the thoughts which are flying through my head.

It is not safe to talk here. The walls are quite thin, and the neighbors might wonder at a latenight conference. Besides, George and Katherine are already asleep. Only Henry and I are still awake, and he’s just staring at the ceiling.

I am really uptight. l am so jittery I can barely sit still. And I’m exhausted. I’ve been up since 5:30 this morning, when George phoned to warn that the arrests had begun, and it’s after midnight now. I’ve been keyed up and on the move all day.

But at the same time I’m exhilarated. We have finally acted! How long we will be able to continue defying the System, no one knows. Maybe it will all end tomorrow, but we must not think about that. Now that we have begun, we must continue with the plan we have been developing so carefully ever since the Gun Raids two years ago.

What a blow that was to us! And how it shamed us! All that brave talk by patriots, "The government will never take my guns away," and then nothing but meek submission when it happened.

On the other hand, maybe we should be heartened by the fact that there were still so many of us who had guns then, nearly 18 months after the Cohen Act had outlawed all private ownership of firearms in the United States. It was only because so many of us defied the law and hid our weapons instead of turning them in that the government wasn’t able to act more harshly against us after the Gun Raids.

I’ll never forget that terrible day: November 9, 1989. They knocked on my door at five in the morning. I was completely unsuspecting as I got up to see who it was.

Read more... [avrtech.com]

Roku has the best device in this market (2, Informative)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636386)

We own both Apple TV and the identically priced Roku XD|S. The XD|S's far superior connectivity, huge advantage in variety and depth of content, and wider range of supported display modes over Apple TV make it a no-question win. The open source channel kit itself serves as incontrovertible evidence that the XD|S isn't intended as a port into a walled garden.

I wish we had found the XD|S first. Would have saved us $99. Oh well. The Apple TV, meanwhile, has found use here as a more-or-less dedicated Internet radio station appliance.

My only connection to Roku is as a happy customer. My connection to Apple is similar, just not quite as happy.

Geeky devices (5, Insightful)

devxo (1963088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635054)

And in other news, Apple TV is selling like hot cakes [techcrunch.com] . It just shows, like always before, that casual people don't really care about the geeky things those devices can offer. The older I get the more I can side with them too - when I was a teenager I had lots of energy and motivation to play around with computers and other technical stuff I had. Then I got a job, a girlfriend, went to travel the world and saw how much you're giving up by spending so much time with that. In the end, it's not really even that interesting.

Now I also just want devices that work great. I don't really have any desire to play around with them, apart from the occasional configuration to make things smoother for me. But there is a limit for that, and I'm not gonna spend hours and days coding something to accomplish it. This is also why general population will never turn to use Linux if something doesn't change, and can you really blame them?

Re:Geeky devices (5, Insightful)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635216)

When all the major networks ban your TV product, it's pretty much destined to fail.

Re:Geeky devices (1)

Flector (1702640) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635296)

Isn't the simplest idea a cheap hdmi-out computer with a remote keyboard and scroll wheel?

Re:Geeky devices (2)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635500)

That's what I use. Works great. The bits missing from the Google TV stuff is integrating the current TV listing / viewing with internet content. Say you're watching Lost and there's an obvious cameo. You hit pause, get the list of actors for the episode, and load an IMDB page for the person in about 3 seconds. In a non-integrated solution you have to do a lot of extra manual switching and searching to get the data together.

Re:Geeky devices (2)

ghjm (8918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635846)

Personally, I just turn to my wife and say, "Honey, who's that guy?"

Re:Geeky devices (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34635994)

Personally, I just turn to my wife and say, "Honey, who's that guy?"

He meant when watching TV, not when you come home from work early. -rimshot-

Re:Geeky devices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34636266)

Yeah but if you had an integrated internet tv appliance you'd still have it in a few years along with half your stuff.

Re:Geeky devices (1)

kriston (7886) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636104)

Wow, even the stillborn AOLTV had some integration between TV listings and internet content.

Why do I want a Google TV when I have a TiVo, anyway?

Re:Geeky devices (2)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635548)

Isn't the simplest idea a cheap hdmi-out computer with a remote keyboard and scroll wheel?

Geek: Here's a simple idea. ...

Consumer: HDwha? [Consumer wanders off cross-eyed.]

[Consumer seen a half hour later happily leaving the Apple store with an Apple TV in hand.]

Re:Geeky devices (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636378)

Isn't the simplest idea a cheap hdmi-out computer with a remote keyboard and scroll wheel?

You mean the very thing I've been doing for over a decade (sans HDMI, until it was available)? How is anyone supposed to sell that? And you mean people are using their OLD computers for this task? They're not buying new hardware? And it's compatible with everything? And they can already access the FULL internet with whatever browser they CHOOSE? And they can multitask? Share files over a network? They can fucking COPY discs with the included DVD/CD burner? They can strip out the ads? They can normalize the volume? They can completely bypass or menus and waste-of-time interfaces? And the subscription cost is ZERO?!

If people spent half an hour thinking, dusting off their old PC, and hooking up cables, they'd be GODS of their media.

But no - they choose to restrict themselves, let themselves get fucked by the media corporations, endure ads, use hardware that's tiny and shiny but functionally deficient, etc. And they pay for the privilege.

They get excited at the prospect of "apps for my TV!".
Fuck them. "Apps" are what you get at Chili's. (I recommend the sampler or the Texas Cheese Fries.) Software. Programs. Perhaps even applications. Not "apps".

They see a commercial and genuinely feel the excitement of the fake dad who says "Look son, you're on the big screen now, boy!".
Fuck them again. I've told those idiots a billion times how computers are useful things. They have a cable box outputting over coax through 2 daisy-chained VCRs. Yet only when faced with the prospect of computer + t do they go "Uh... why?". They fail to see any potential. It takes a fucking marketing term to get their dumb assed to figure out that computers are useful, TVs are accessible, and that the two might be able to cooperate. Those fucks figured out applesauce and pork chops without a problem. But somehow computer + tv only results in blank stares.

Re:Geeky devices (2)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635314)

Yep. "Google does not support iTunes, and the top video networks such as NBC, CBS, ABC and Hulu have blocked it out."

So basically GoogleTV can't let me view any of the networks I view most often. :-| Rather than spend $250 for this, I'd rather get a DTVpal DVR which pulls television off the air and records it. Then when I come home, I just playback whatever I missed from last night (primetime) or while at work (mostly movies and international programs). ~40 channels free of charge.

Re:Geeky devices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34635878)

No, the networks you view most often wont let you view them on GoogleTV. It's a subtle but important distinction.

Re:Geeky devices (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636490)

Does knowing this "subtle but important" distinction somehow make the unavailable networks available? Because if it doesn't, I don't see how it's particularly important here.

Re:Geeky devices (1)

jimpop (27817) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635378)

> When all the major networks ban your TV product, it's pretty much destined to fail. ...sure, if all you ever watch are major network TV shows. BUT, if you really don't care for network TV in your home (i.e. I got to a pub to watch baseball/football), then Google TV might just be right for you. I dumped cable TV in November, and am still loving my Google TV. My favorite apps are Netflix, Youtube (Gadget Show, Fifth Gear, Rocketboom*, Zadi, etc), Revision3, Cartoon Channel, Adult Swim, and Daily Motion. What more in life is there really?

Re:Geeky devices (1)

lp_bugman (623152) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636060)

Obviously you have no wife.

Re:Geeky devices (1)

jimpop (27817) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636198)

....as well as complete control of the TV remote. ;-)

Re:Geeky devices (1)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635862)

When all the major networks ban a TV product I would think an anti-competitive FTC investigation should be something worth looking into. Basically they banned a browser with a specific user agent string based on the company that provides the device. Can you imagine if all the networks decided to ban Dell computers but not HP?

Re:Geeky devices (1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636724)

This is analogous to buying an HD FM radio and complaining that it can not receive shortwave signals.

There's no reason to appeal to the government. Just get a device that receives the media streams you want.

Re:Geeky devices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34636882)

You're wondering why people think Google is dangerous?

Re:Geeky devices (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635348)

Its inability to run the software people want to use is what needs to change, nothing else.

Re:Geeky devices (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635398)

And in other news, Apple TV is selling like hot cakes [techcrunch.com] . It just shows, like always before, that casual people don't really care about the geeky things those devices can offer. The older I get the more I can side with them too - when I was a teenager I had lots of energy and motivation to play around with computers and other technical stuff I had. Then I got a job, a girlfriend, went to travel the world and saw how much you're giving up by spending so much time with that. In the end, it's not really even that interesting.

Now I also just want devices that work great. I don't really have any desire to play around with them, apart from the occasional configuration to make things smoother for me. But there is a limit for that, and I'm not gonna spend hours and days coding something to accomplish it. This is also why general population will never turn to use Linux if something doesn't change, and can you really blame them?

Apple TV selling a million times over the course of 4 months sounds very disappointing to me.

Re:Geeky devices (4, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635716)

> Apple TV selling a million times over the course of 4 months sounds very disappointing to me.

Really? What is your frame of reference for being disappointed?

I would doubt you would say the same thing if Tivo, Boxee, Roku or any other drv/media box company announced a similar number.

And I would be they would all be EXTREMELY pleased to have a number like that for that period of time.

Re:Geeky devices (2)

Flytrap (939609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636488)

Apple TV 2 was launched in October 2010 http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Desktops-and-Notebooks/Apple-TV-Sells-1-Million-Units-297554/ [eweek.com] . That is less than 3 months ago. By comparison, Roku, an arguably superior offering, is yet to reach its 1 millionth sale (across all models), after 2 years!

Most news articles comenting on the 1 million units milestone have made a point of comparing it to the 74 days it took for the original iPhone to reach the same milestone. That is a phenominal achievement by anyone's yard stick. However, I doubt that the Apple TV will follow the same trajectory as the iPhone.

Looking forward, even Roku CEO, Anthony Wood, acknowledges that Apple TV will only become even more compelling as he expects Apple to launch an App Store for Apple TV, which would bring along many more content sources, more games, and more attention to the Apple TV http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2010/12/20/businessinsider-roku-2010-12.DTL [sfgate.com]

Re:Geeky devices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34635440)

At the same time, I'm starting to really realize just how much of the "american dream" traps one into what you describe. I'm 29, divorced, no kids. All of that in part because I was working my ass off to avoid finding myself old and tired. And now I'm 29, only need to work a couple days a month, and have tons of time energy and money to keep learning and improving my mind as my body starts to slow down. Which I think really is the way to go about it.

Re:Geeky devices (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635506)

Nothing like the growth of apathy as a rationalization for closed, hacker-unfriendly systems!

Re:Geeky devices (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635702)

Nothing like the growth of apathy as a rationalization for closed, hacker-unfriendly systems!

Come off it and get out of the basement. On a population basis, the number of people interested in 'hacker friendly, open systems' is a rounding error. THERE IS NO MONEY IN IT. There IS money in simple. There is money in just works.

Re:Geeky devices (3)

The Good Reverend (84440) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636190)

I dunno about that. Roku's super simple to set up and use (it "just works"), but has an open SDK and a fantastic (open) private channel system for those interested in doing more. It's the best of both worlds (plus very inexpensive as well).

Re:Geeky devices (1)

vgerclover (1186893) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636512)

There is no reason for it to not be both.

Re:Geeky devices (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635894)

There was ever a time when 99% of the population cared that their device was open source and hacker-friendly outside of your mind?

Re:Geeky devices (1)

segedunum (883035) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635550)

And in other news, Apple TV is selling like hot cakes [techcrunch.com]

Selling a million devices versus the sum total of TVs sold is actually very disappointing.

Re:Geeky devices (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34635950)

One company selling one million units of something cutting-edge that most of the population still can't grasp in about four months versus dozens of companies selling something as well-understood as televisions over the course of decades.

Yeah, that's a fair comparison.

You win the medal for most stupid Apple hater I've ever seen.

Re:Geeky devices (1)

Dasuraga (1147871) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636234)

People know what a DVR is. TiVo came out 11 years ago now. That being said, 1 million is a non-negligible install base. But for a $99 gadget, it could do better(especially with an Apple logo on it).

Re:Geeky devices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34636284)

The Apple TV is NOT a DVR. A DVR requires cable or satellite. The Apple TV is about cutting your dependency on cable and satellite providers for getting your TV shows and movies. With iTunes you pick the ONLY shows you want, no need to drag a whole network in your subscription. Their pricing, however, needs some work.

TiVo is a USA-only box, completely unknown to most people in other countries.

So no, the concept of the Apple TV is not well understood, you just proved it yourself.

Re:Geeky devices (1)

the cdrive (1144027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636702)

Actually, a DVR requires a source. Cable and Satellite are sources, as is Over The Air Broadcast. My Windows 7 box serves as my DVR and media center with OTA Broadcast just fine.

Re:Geeky devices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34636834)

You're right that OTA is a source, however not everyone has access to OTA. Count yourself lucky.

Re:Geeky devices (3, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635556)

Except you don't need to play around with it to work. It does what Apple TV does, plays more.

It's just not the global plug to free crap some people want.

And Apples TV s not selling like hot cakes. They've sold a total, since inception, of 1 million units.

Re:Geeky devices (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635642)

And it certainly took Apple more than enough iterations for them to finally hit on a winning formula. I mean, Apple TV has been around since 2006.... although it may be the $99 price point now...

The older I get, however, I don't want devices that just work great. I want less. Of everything. Today, in media overload, I find it a relief to have the TV off (thinking of getting rid of all service altogether and using the screen to watch Redbox, maybe Netflix). I listen to some music, but never the radio. Even Pandora gets on my nerves -- it seems to play the same thing over and over again even if I thumbs up 3 different songs a day, it keeps coming back to my seed. I enjoy media, and while Apple becoming a media empire has pros and cons, I don't want media to encompass my life or be the limit of my experiences.

Re:Geeky devices (1)

Flytrap (939609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636638)

From Apple's web site (http://www.apple.com/hotnews/):
Apple today announced that it expects sales of its new Apple TV to top one million units later this week. The new Apple TV offers the simplest way to watch your favorite HD movies and TV shows and stream content from Netflix, YouTube, Flickr, and MobileMe — all on your HD TV, for the breakthrough price of just $99. iTunes users are now renting and purchasing over 400,000 TV episodes and over 150,000 movies per day. the emphasis is mine

It may have taken Apple a while to get to this formula... but that still trumps Microsoft which is still advocating an HTPC in the living room or using an expensive gaming console as a media server and Intel and Google who are advocating putting an embeded computer inside the TV (whether it be Android or Meabo powered) and then using a keyboard and track pad/ball to navigate one's TV [yish]

Re:Geeky devices (2)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636304)

The problem is that it seems like everyone is trying to stuff more internet in my television, when what I really want is more television in my internet. There is a difference.

Re:Geeky devices (1)

Ben Newman (53813) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636582)

First this is an attempt to become the defacto platform for Internet enabled tv, So you'll have set top boxes, televisions with integrated functionality, dvrs with it built in, blu-ray players, etc. The "Google TV Box" is to Google TV what the Nexus One is to Android.

Second, I think their strategy is just like every other Google product out there. They are going to enter the market early with a so-so product and then just iterate the hell out of it. So this version might not be all that great, but in 2 years when they've gone through 8 upgrades its going to be much better. Android, Chrome, Docs, even their search engine followed this exact strategy. This is how they've always done business. I'm not saying they're going to succeed here, its a tricky market and a product that doesn't have a a quick answer to the "What problem does it solve" question, but knowing Google I wouldn't count them out on a review of a v1.0 product.

Re:Geeky devices (1)

MMerc (684605) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636962)

I myself have went through the same transition with the same conclusions and wholeheartedly agree with what you said. My hope is that at least one person gets the message, because I can guarantee their life will be for the better.

Folks talk about... (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635100)

... "the concept of wedlock between the TV and Internet" as though it was a new thing.

Yet obtrusive, annoying and unblockable popup ads started showing up during display of the main content years ago...

Why a STB? (1)

doroshjt (1044472) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635124)

Is a search appliance for video that complex that they need a STB for it? Running as a stand alone application that you can put on a HTPC would be much more useful to me.

Re:Why a STB? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635210)

Is a search appliance for video that complex that they need a STB for it? Running as a stand alone application that you can put on a HTPC would be much more useful to me.

STBs that do one thing and require minimal management are more accessible to the general market than an application that needs to run on an HTPC, which is idea that hasn't taken off with non-geeks as much as it once seemed it might.

Re:Why a STB? (1)

RalphTheWonderLlama (927434) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635280)

I'm guessing it's cheaper than an HTPC :)

Re:Why a STB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34635372)

> I'm guessing it's cheaper than an HTPC :)

Hmm, doesn't really seem like it. The TFA says $300-400 for the STB. My HTPC cost me right around $300 a few years ago including a nice HTPC style case. So the price is about the same.

Of course, I had to actually order my own parts and bolt them together, which took time, maybe an hour. The STB comes "pre-assembled", so will be easier for most people. But to balance that it's less flexible than my HTPC is.

Re:Why a STB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34635332)

Is a search appliance for video that complex that they need a STB for it? Running as a stand alone application that you can put on a HTPC would be much more useful to me.

What the hell is a 'Hot-Top PC'?

Summary = Article 1st Paragraph (1)

slshwtw (1903272) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635138)

For those that have the attention span to read either the entire article, or the summary, but not both.

Problem identified... (2)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635150)

Sounds like they should have release Google TV beta first.

Joking aside, this is probably why Apple is taking such a cautious approach with Apple TV. They realise that there is potential, though it is not clear how it should manifest itself. Playing around with other solutions like XBMC and Plex it feels like there is certainly a future, but it may still be a few years down the road. Maybe devices like the Wii would be better, if it simply offered the missing components like being able to stream from a home media server?

Re:Problem identified... (1)

defaria (741527) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635268)

Huh? There are many solutions for streaming form a home media server not the least of which are Windows Media, things like PS3MediaServer and ushare as well as Playon, Tveristy (not sure about that one), as well as XBMC and Boxee, etc. You don't need a Wii to do it. As for many years down the road, I'm going on my 3rd year of not having cable/sat at all and doing everything from the net. It's not that hard. It's here. It's now already.

Re:Problem identified... (3, Informative)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635616)

Thats not a normal person solution. I have boxee on a home media server, used to do mythtv but I moved out of a place where I had provided cable and without cable it wasn't worth the hassle. Its certainly possible, and its great once its set up, but it requires active maintenance.

My personal desires are for a single, low-power, easy-setup box that can:
- Stream from Netflix
- Stream from Hulu/Hulu Plus (to be legit it probably requires hulu plus)
- Stream from Pandora
- Run local/LAN-shared video and audio with good codec support
- Extensible to help future proof it (i.e. easy to integrate some new streaming service)
Additionally, I'm sure there are those who would appreciate some kind of DVR functionality in it as well.

So far the Boxee Box is supposed to be that, but between the hideous hardware, and the fact that they screwed up the interface and that it doesn't work with Hulu or Netflix anymore., its just not quite there. Maybe the next iteration. The Wii with a few more apps would do a decent job too (although the resolution might annoy some).

Sadly, its impossible to have a good, easy to use solution at this point, not due to technological challenges, (I think Google TV, Apple TV and Boxee all have a lot of potential), but because the content providers are scared to death of us not tuning in 8 eastern/7 central with everyone else. I suppose in time it will turn around, but for now its very frustrating for those of us who dont want to have to hack together 'creative' solutions.

Re:Problem identified... (2)

DogDude (805747) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636082)

The PS3 is about 90% of the way there, and it's incredibly simple to use.

Re:Problem identified... (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636164)

Agreed, even on the software front for an HTPC... Media Portal seems to do the best job playing various formats over the network... Boxee is the best for "internet" channels, but needs some tweaking, and I wish I could nuke the "social" aspects.. or at *LEAST* have it backup my added channels (and settings) if I have to login anyhow. For Live recording, it's a tossup, Media Center (Windows) does a good job with this, but outside of TV, I find that there are other options that do everything else better (though I honestly gave up since HD options for WMC were few and far between. I also wanted something like GameEX, but better online handling like Boxee... *sigh* It's not been an irritation enough, that using a combination of software bugs me enough to scratch my own itch in this space, but it is irritating to say the least.

Re:Problem identified... (1)

lp_bugman (623152) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636166)

I switched from mythtv to PS3. Surprisingly it can do almost everything you are listing.
It even supports playing DiX from a network drive.The one thing that bothers me is Hulu does not list all the shows in PS3 compared to a PC.

Re:Problem identified... (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636680)

Look into the Roku ( http://www.roku.com/ ). It streams Netflix, Hulu Plus and Pandora among others. (Total number of channels is over 100 now, though many of them, though many of them are niche.) They're constantly adding new channels. Thanks to the open SDK, anyone can write a channel (assuming the person knows how to code, of course).

There's no DVR functionality but there is a channel which supposedly streams from media servers on your LAN. (I say "supposedly" because I haven't tested this one out yet.) Plus, at $99, it's quite reasonable.

I have no connection with them beyond being a satisfied Roku user.

Re:Problem identified... (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635688)

It's there for you and me. What seems simple and intuitive for us often isn't for the average person though. I've lived with three people since I first tossed XBMC onto an xbox and went to just streaming. Of those, one person could use it with a cheat sheet I wrote out. And two others just refused to even try and would instead just find me to get their show playing.

why not just a plain old computer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34635154)

From TFA: "Google, for its part, seems well aware of the problem, having delayed the showcasing of Toshiba, LG Electronics and Sharp TVs using its software,"

Building something like that into your TV seems pretty dumb to me. TVs last a long time - usually a lot longer than either computers or any particular streaming technology. It seems like building ICQ into your TV: it'll be long obsolete while the rest of your TV is perfectly good. Plus, you can no longer upgrade them independently once you build them into the same box.

It seems to me the best approach is just to hook a computer up to your TV. Then the issues from TFA like "the top video networks such as NBC, CBS, ABC and Hulu have blocked it" are not a problem. So what's the story here? Why would anyone want google TV over just a "plain old computer"? It seems less flexible and not supporting as much content.

Why do you expect it to be obsolete? (1)

Tancred (3904) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635680)

Considering that it'll have third party apps on it, it's very close to that "plain old computer" you're asking about, though it's a bit limited for now. But since it has the power to do 1080p video output, it's probably good enough for most things for as long as the 1080p TV is not obsolete. What it won't do in its current implementation is keep up with the PS3 and the like on gaming. Maybe there'll be a PS4 w/GoogleTV though.

Re:why not just a plain old computer? (1)

Maltheus (248271) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636150)

My TV gets app updates (netflix, youtube, etc) pushed to it all the time. I'm not worried about obsolescence. They are software, not hardware apps.

ps3, 360, etc (4, Insightful)

smoondog (85133) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635234)

the internet has made it to my tv, i get it through my ps3. why would i want another device that basically does the same thing but less of it?

Absolutely Correct (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635290)

The consoles have been the Trojan Horse for getting Internet video into the living room and onto the TV for years. I "cut the cord" to my cable a while back, and get all video on my TV screen via the 360. MS (and Sony) won this battle without even firing a shot, as best as I can see.

Re:ps3, 360, etc (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635458)

Newer TVs don't even need a PS3. I have a Sony Bravia set with support for Netflix and Amazon video streaming (plus about 100 others I've hardly looked at). It's slightly harder than changing the channel, but not hard. I upgraded my Comcast service for no other reason than to get better streaming quality, and am very happy with it. Standard-def looks about equivalent to DVD, and high-def even better. (Neither quite as good as broadcast TV, and I haven't tried Blu-Ray).

I also have a homebrew PVR, although I get sick of fiddling with its instability (e.g. linux drivers for HVR 950 that flake out).

So, I guess I'm wondering why this is hard? It seems like a solved problem, other than getting more and more content providers to sign on.

Re:ps3, 360, etc (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636180)

What's funny, is the Netflix streaming on my TV rarely has to buffer, and the video quality is better than via boxee on my HTPC.

Re:ps3, 360, etc (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635464)

the internet has made it to my tv, i get it through my ps3. why would i want another device that basically does the same thing but less of it?

I get internet TV (Netflix, mostly) from my PlayStation. The search function for GoogleTV and its combination of internet-based video and traditional TV in results is a feature that I haven't seen anywhere else. OTOH, it seems from reviews that their are interface (particularly, controller) issues that need polish, and the major networks blocking it because they thought that easy access to their internet-delivered videos on customers TVs would mean losses in advertising sales does reduce the advantage it offers as a convergence device.

Re:ps3, 360, etc (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635604)

Nope

Will the PS3 search your network? stream content from a computer? Can you control it from your phone? ca you seamlessly show content from your phone to the TV? can you watch and browse at the same time? Can you be watching something from a site and send it to your DVR?

No, it won't. You have to buy 3rd party addins.

Re:ps3, 360, etc (2)

DogDude (805747) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636096)

"Will the PS3 search your network? stream content from a computer?"

Yes and yes.

Re:ps3, 360, etc (2)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636644)

PS3 has a built in function to scan for media servers. I use a Mac (my primary HTPC) to stream content to my PS3 in the bedroom). It will also offer to convert any formats that PS3 doesn't understand on the fly. It really has turned into a very flexible piece of hardware. That said, I still use my HTPC for most needs.

For basic streaming like Netflix, a PS3 more than suffices, just as an Apple TV does. They've made it about as simple as you can get, which is what consumers want.

Re:ps3, 360, etc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34635654)

Yeah, my Vizio TV with built-in internet apps all on one bluetooth controller has been around for over a year as well. I got my 42" tv for under $1000 and it's AWESOME.

Re:ps3, 360, etc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34636414)

i get it through my ps3.

THERE. You have done it. You have admitted yourself to be a corporate sheep for willingly subjecting yourself to the tyranny of the evil SONY corporations.

The only thing worse you can do now is admit you also browse /. on your iPhone.

Be prepared for the flood of condescending replies for Google liberation fanboy army to tell you why "open" is important in your TV gadget, and you have been brainwashed by the corporate for using their locked-down products.

Customers aren't ready yet (3, Insightful)

rubies (962985) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635346)

TV is a passive medium for the vast majority of people and that's how they like it. Plop on the couch, select your channel and let somebody else make the decisions about what you'd like to watch. Most people don't have a home media server and don't understand why you'd want one (because nobody has explained that your DVD cupboard is basically a sneakernet server, and having everything you want to watch a button click away like music just hasn't happened yet).

Actually that's a good analogy - we have a home media server and various cobbled together clients around the house, and it's interesting to watch the usage patterns: Music videos get shuffled like a giant video ipod on the main TV, it's like the best MTV that never was with the bonus you can skip stuff you don't want to listen to. Kids want to watch 3 or 4 episodes of iCarly in a row. Parents want to be able to consume a serial like Dexter without the annoying "wait a week for the next episode" that broadcast TV forces on you.

Most people will want this stuff, they just haven't seen it - so do Google a favour and invite your non-tech-savvy friends to a demonstration of your media serving rigs (assuming you've gone to the trouble of making it demo friendly and can resist the urge to fiddle with technical stuff while you're showing them). What is going to be a killer is pricing - if Google could negoatiate to broadcast a channel of cheap stuff so the "plop on the couch and watch" crew could enjoy another TV channel without having to think too much, they may be tempted to purchase premium content like first run serials without the hassle of torrents.

Re:Customers aren't ready yet (1)

Tancred (3904) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636068)

I really don't think using GoogleTV (at least for simple things like using Netflix) is any tougher than using the STB from the cable company to get programming on demand.

Re:Customers aren't ready yet (1)

rubies (962985) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636154)

Probably not, but "on demand" is what's unproven, not the technology itself. If somebody came up with a hybrid service that basically shuffled a TV channel of stuff you like (you tell it how long you want to watch, it knows your preferences or you seed it), the Google people could queue up shows for you (with a few wildcards of things you haven't seen but might like, pilots for shows that you might be interested in etc).

That way you could still use your TV as a passive entertainment device without necessarily being tied down to what some broadcast programmer decided you wanted to watch last year when they were doing their media buying.

Re:Customers aren't ready yet (1)

Tancred (3904) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636820)

I'm not saying some people prefer strictly passive TV, but there are lots of examples of on demand content, in wide use and growing - Netflix, Hulu, cable STBs, TiVo, etc. I don't know why you think that's unproven. I'm sure YouTube will start looking more and more like what you describe, as an option on GoogleTV.

What about DivX TV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34635402)

Has anyone review DivX TV. It seems like a really great alternative.

This is a poor band-aid for "push TV" (2)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635466)

Steve Jobs has it right on this one: The only way to empower users is to only offer programming via an on-demand model, whether it's $0.99 per show on iTunes or unlimited streaming on Netflix. The "push model" of television is incredibly inefficient and any DVR-style device (ie, think TiVo, not AppleTV or Roku) is just prolonging its death spiral and keeping consumers trapped in the past.

I refuse to install an antenna on my house to receive push TV programming and will certainly not subscribe to push TV over cable or fiber.

Re:This is a poor band-aid for "push TV" (1)

vivek7006 (585218) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636308)

OK, just keep paying $0.99 per show on iTunes, while I record it in pristine HD for *free* using windows 7 MCE.

Best option (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34635496)

Sadly, there's no substitute for searching on google and playing it on an HTPC, like a Mac Mini with bluetooth keyboard and mouse (which, by the way, at least are stylish enough that they don't look bad on your coffee table).

too little for too much (3, Interesting)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635514)

I had looked at various "media" devices such as the Roku, but all came up way short. I was shocked to find that, apparently because of their business model, the Roku will not play the free Hulu content, even if you buy a Hulu Plus subscription (and there is a lot on regular Hulu that is unavailable on Hulu Plus). Google TV was about the only consumer oriented appliance that I found that gave me everything that a browser would have access to. But at the $300 price of the Logitech version it is way too much for too little. For that kind of money I might as well build a PC that I can dedicate to the living room. I could not only browse everything on the web, but I could also install and play web oriented games on the big screen, and run other applications that Web TV can't such as Skype, TeamSpeak, Google Earth and so on. And I've also found myself wanting a DVR that isn't dependent on my having a cable or satellite provider, and it looks like to get that done right I'll have to base it on a PC anyway. So it was obvious that Web TV as it is currently offered is too little for too high of a price. A cute toy, but only for those who have too much money and not enough imagination to see what they can do with a real computer instead.

One big downside is that somehow turning a case from the typical vertical design into a horizontal case that would better fit in a media center seems to be very expensive. In my shopping I've found horizontal form factor cases for as much as $200, and that is without a power supply. Obviously I can get much nicer vertical cases a lot cheaper. I'm still hoping to find a case maker that is making a decent case at a reasonable price (responses welcome).

Re:too little for too much (3, Informative)

The Good Reverend (84440) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636232)

I was shocked to find that, apparently because of their business model, the Roku will not play the free Hulu content, even if you buy a Hulu Plus subscription (and there is a lot on regular Hulu that is unavailable on Hulu Plus).

This has absolutely nothing to do with Roku, and everything to do with Hulu's licensing agreements. Hulu has the rights to show their non-plus shows on the internet, but NOT on set-top boxes or via streaming (to Roku, Internet-enabled TVs, game systems, or anything else). Agree or disagree with the pay model that Hulu+ is using, but the "+" refers to the ability to watch it on your television via these devices. They can't show the non-plus material because they don't have the rights to do that.

Too much failures (2)

diegocg (1680514) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635528)

It's just me, or Google is failing at everything that is not their core bussiness of search & ads?

Re:Too much failures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34635570)

Depends if you are counting Google Maps, Gmail, Google Docs, Android...

Re:Too much failures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34635602)

Don't fool yourself. Android apps are largely funded by ads and Gmail is just another ad magnet. Maps wasn't really developed by Google, just polished. I've never used Docs so I can't honestly say.

Re:Too much failures (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635800)

Android apps funded by ads? I've known people who tried to do that, but saying it as a fact contradicts what I've heard. Every dev I know who's trying going with an ad support model with android has gotten pretty much nothing, even on very popular programs. People don't click ads on phones.

Kevin Bacon??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34635546)

So how am I supposed to to find Kevin Bacon on TV now?

Make it unblockable (1)

Tancred (3904) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635598)

Google must be considering making it look like any Chrome browser out there. If they don't do that, it's probably come down to either:

- it's hard to do. maybe they'd need Adobe cooperation to disguise the Flash plugin for GoogleTV. Adobe may not want to upset content providers.
- they're afraid of confronting content providers, who may retaliate by blocking all Chrome browsers or switch to Silverlight, or...?

Hopefully some hacking will resolve the issues. I like the interface. A big plus with GoogleTV compared to others is the elegant interface that comes up on top of the normal TV picture. It doesn't require switching to another TV input. It's always a quick single button click away.

Re:Make it unblockable (1)

Ben Newman (53813) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636388)

You just have to change the user agent in the Google TV browser. Its trivially easy to do, but of course Google can't "officially" support a work around like that. The issue was resolved like 5 minutes after it happened. I fixed the problem on my box before I actually experienced it.

Re:Make it unblockable (1)

Tancred (3904) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636596)

So are all the reports of blocking despite user agent changes wrong? Aren't the sites looking at the Flash version now? I'd be glad to be corrected.

Oh great. More unwatchable crap. (1)

lewko (195646) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635650)

200 Channels and nothing but cats...

Not the kind of TV I'm looking for (0)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635658)

I've been looking into TVs to replace my crappy ancient CRT set, and I can't find anything satisfactory. They keep adding shit I don't care about and don't want to pay for. I just want a screen, damnit! If I wanted my TV to access the web and run programs, I'd plug my goddamn computer to it. And much worse: at the same time, pretty much all manufacturers have abandoned S-Video and SCART. Since I have some classic game consoles that really could use something less shitty than composite, yet do not support component... this is the deal breaker. No legacy ports, no sale.

AND GET OFF MY LAWN!

Re:Not the kind of TV I'm looking for (1)

Tancred (3904) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635734)

Just buy a used one...they'll have those old ports. Lots of people sell older TVs to upgrade to get the biggest and best. Check craigslist.

Re:Not the kind of TV I'm looking for (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635816)

Emulators. I love the old consoles, but there's really no reason to keep their bulky forms around when you can just emulate it on a newer one.

Re:Not the kind of TV I'm looking for (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636422)

Up to the 4th generation, that's true. After that, things get more complicated.

WebTV (1)

mlauzon (818714) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635672)

Why do a lot of articles fail to mention WebTV, is it because it's Google and the reporters think that because Google came out with it, it must be a new concept that no one has done before?!

TV what's that? Haven't used one in years (2)

cmdr_tofu (826352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635922)

TV is fairly dead and I (and I imagine many many others as well) have not owned a TV or payed for Cable TV service in years.

You can get all the relevant content online (podcasts and streaming mp4, youtube, download services, etc) or simply ordering/renting DVDs. I'd consider getting a Sony-GoogleTV, for the screen (I mean my Sun CRT is nice but..) and for Netflix (now I have to use an annoying Windows Virtualbox). Buyers beware it does not seem to have a VGA input only HDMI... The cheapest model I see is $600! Better wait until that CRT breaks :)

Re:TV what's that? Haven't used one in years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34636072)

You don't seem to get it. I don't have a Cable subscription, I haven't paid Cable TV in years either. Yet, I own a GoogleTV with over the air broadcast, with Netflix, and it would have been awesome to have Hulu, but since that's not happening, I'm just plugging my laptop through the display port (hey, audio included) to the TV and watch hulu.
 
But if I'm not watching hulu, I can watch TV, or movies and browse at the same time (PIP feature). And best of all, I have now 3 remote controls because I can control the TV with any android cellphone (no more "I can't find the remote").

If it weren't for the darn broadcasters and Hulu, this device would be one of the best things I ever had (crackle - sony's approach to Hulu, is not that great, yet it's still good for free movies).

Cumbersome Keyboard? (1)

karniv0re (746499) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636302)

CUMBERSOME KEYBOARD?! This thing is more ergonomic and comfortable than my desktop keyboard. Sent from my Logitech Revue Google TV.

Videola (1)

blakhol (919393) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636372)

And just today I heard the future of IPTV was Videola [videola.tv] .

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