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The Verge: Google Is Working on a TV Box Of Its Own

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the consume-consume-consume dept.

Google 117

Amazon may have a slight lead in the world of Android-based TV-centric mini-boxes with its Amazon Fire TV, but according to this story, Google is getting set to release just such a box itself. "According to documents obtained exclusively by The Verge, Google is about to launch a renewed assault on your television set called Android TV. Major video app providers are building for the platform right now. Android TV may sound like a semantic difference — after all, Google TV was based on Android — but it’s something very different. Android TV is no longer a crazy attempt to turn your TV into a bigger, more powerful smartphone. "Android TV is an entertainment interface, not a computing platform," writes Google. "It’s all about finding and enjoying content with the least amount of friction." It will be "cinematic, fun, fluid, and fast." ... What does that all mean? It means that Android TV will look and feel a lot more like the rest of the set top boxes on the market, including Apple TV, Amazon’s Fire TV, and Roku."

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I'll wait and see (3, Insightful)

chromaexcursion (2047080) | about 5 months ago | (#46673883)

This is a space littered with failures.
Including Google TV.
They seem to have Netflix on-board, a start.
But they also seem to be missing HBO, and the other movie channels. Not a deal breaker for some, but it is for me.

If you can actually two screen with an android phone as the control and second screen that's interesting.

Re:I'll wait and see (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | about 5 months ago | (#46673967)

If they had online streaming options of roku, then added local media support like boxee and WD media player it would be prefect.

Moist bisexual nerd leader (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46674157)

I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Re:I'll wait and see (4, Informative)

mcrbids (148650) | about 5 months ago | (#46674037)

I have a "Google TV" and I love it! Also called a "TV Stick" they are best sellers on Amazon with many models to choose from starting at around $25. [amazon.com] I bought an MK808B for my bedroom TV and it's hard not to love.

1) It cost $40.

2) It uses my already existing TV

3) It streams Hulu, Netflix, CBS, NBC, and any other TV network that bothers with an Android app over wifi.

4) It uses about 2.5 watts of power.

5) It's not much bigger than a thumb stick.

6) It works seamlessly with an "air mouse" wireless remote.

7) It plays MP4 videos fluidly and runs uTorrent without issue.

8) It has room for two USB devices and an SD card.

9) Effortless support for 1080p resolution.

What more do you want from set top box that actually hides behind the TV?

Re:I'll wait and see (2)

404 Clue Not Found (763556) | about 5 months ago | (#46674081)

Can that thing access the Play store or do you have to sideload all the apps?

Re:I'll wait and see (1)

mcrbids (148650) | about 5 months ago | (#46674119)

Play store: no problem. How else do you think I installed Netflix, CBS.com, Hulu, uTorrent, and all the other apps?

Seriously, just imagine a tablet running on your TV using a mouse/remote instead of a touch screen. That's what I use every day. (And what is currently playing Sherlock Holmes a la Hulu; my wife loves that show)

Re:I'll wait and see (1)

404 Clue Not Found (763556) | about 4 months ago | (#46674325)

Well, that's why I asked about the sideloading. I wasn't aware that Google was allowing Play services on generic/unbranded devices like that. Good to know, and I'll probably be getting one. Thanks!

Re:I'll wait and see (1)

iampiti (1059688) | about 4 months ago | (#46675567)

I don't think Google are allowing that. Probably they're just turning a blind eye to it but it's not legal AFAIK.

Re:I'll wait and see (1)

Sarius64 (880298) | about 4 months ago | (#46674867)

Someone mentioned that AppleTV removed HuluPlus from their latest release. Talk about suicide, especially with all of the competition supporting Hulu.

Re:I'll wait and see (1)

Wing_Zero (692394) | about 4 months ago | (#46677291)

As much as i liked hulu in the past, they really piss me off now. You watch a show and and they give your a list of shows you might like, yeah, cool. click on it. "oh sorry, we only have seasons 2,3,5, and 8 and the most recent season only has episodes 1,4and 5. but we have episodes 1&2 from season one to give you false hope and addict you to it anyways"

Netflix did this a few times to me, but at least with them, it's by season and not by episode.

Re:I'll wait and see (4, Insightful)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 5 months ago | (#46674137)

What more do you want from set top box that actually hides behind the TV?

An Ethernet port.

Re:I'll wait and see (1)

mcrbids (148650) | about 5 months ago | (#46674185)

Well, that is certainly possible if that's important to you. [amazon.com] .

You also could have clicked the link I provided,l and perhaps typed the word "ethernet"... There are lots of models covering many different use cases. My unit works great over wifi, which is great since I have no Ethernet in my bedroom...

Re:I'll wait and see (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#46675047)

You can connect a USB ethernet adapter. Amazon has some that are branded as "for Android" but actually many Linux compatible ones just work.

Re:I'll wait and see (2)

tomhath (637240) | about 4 months ago | (#46676075)

Content worth watching.

Re:I'll wait and see (1)

macinnisrr (1103805) | about 4 months ago | (#46678273)

Again, CeleumTV [celeum.com]

Re:I'll wait and see (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#46675261)

I have one, too. In my case, a MK908 with 2GB RAM, and 8GB flash. Air mice suck, and the wifi is shit so you need a USB to ethernet to stream HD.

Re:I'll wait and see (1)

chromaexcursion (2047080) | about 4 months ago | (#46676383)

I don't have one, but I agree with you. Google TV was a great piece of technology.
It failed as commercial product.

The world is littered with great products that didn't sell well.

Re:I'll wait and see (3, Informative)

Hodr (219920) | about 4 months ago | (#46677037)

First of all, that's not a Google TV, as the Google TV is an actual branded specially modified version of the OS with associated hardware.

And most of these Android sticks do not effortlessly work at 1080P. Most of them are running only slightly modified versions of the Android OS that was paired with their processor (usually a RockChip variant) on one tablet or another. The reported resolution almost never matches the actual resolution (unless you update with one of the community based Android releases).

For instance, in your Mk808B it doesn't actually run 1080P unless you update to the 1080P kernel (usually paired with the Finless ROM).

They also have notoriously bad WiFi reception and speeds, overheat, and generally run buggy as hell.

But don't take my word for it, read up at the forums at http://www.armtvtech.com/ [armtvtech.com] (Where you will find out that at real 1080P your MK808b can only run a select few videos)

Re:I'll wait and see (1)

Hodr (219920) | about 4 months ago | (#46677051)

Oh, and since I forgot to mention it, I own over a dozen of these sticks including the 808 and 808b.

Re:I'll wait and see (1)

macinnisrr (1103805) | about 4 months ago | (#46678291)

Try CeleumTV [celeum.com] . It has a custom 1080p kernel and includes XBMC with hardware acceleration.

Re:I'll wait and see (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46677273)

Agree. All we need now is a very simple UI that integrates all the content sources (netflix, hulu, etc.) with deep search and may be some machine learning to adapt to your TV viewing habits. Call this this app Android TV and allow all content to be castable. No new hardware required and a very simple, elegant and powerful solution. With these few steps Google can truly reinvent the TV.

Re:I'll wait and see (1)

macinnisrr (1103805) | about 4 months ago | (#46678267)

If you want one with built in, customized XBMC, check out CeleumTV [celeum.com]

Re:I'll wait and see (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46674155)

GoogleTV could have been amazing. It was one of the few smart TV devices to not try to completely disregard the existence of cable/satellite. Unfortunately the spent years not implementing the most requested feature from developers...the ability to overlay on top of the currently playing video. That alone would have allowed a ton of creative apps that made watching TV richer. Instead, Google TV was limited to watching TV or running an app, but not both. And aside from streaming apps, which tons of devices have, running foreground apps on your TV is basically useless.

Google took an incredibly promising start and mismanaged it into obsolescence. The biggest feature this new offering needs is the ability to listen to feedback about what's missing and actually respond. If Google takes a "we know better" position again, it will crash and burn just like their first attempt.

Re:I'll wait and see (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46674855)

What do I want from a media device.

I want it to run XBMC (and be easy for me to upgrade the softwatre), have an ethernet port as well as wireless... and have no DRM.

Re:I'll wait and see (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 4 months ago | (#46675111)

google tv's biggest problem was exactly that it wasn't android on a box.

this made the decision for anyone nerdy enough to want something like that to buy a box that was an android on a box.. which are cheap and plentiful and then you can play (gyro mouse or wireless mouse or whatever input.. and they are 100x better than any fucking smartTv for games, music, online video and anything..) angry birds or really any android app that doesn't need multitouch.

what they need is just a decent default launcher app for tv use(I'm pretty sure there's several on the google play market already though) and start giving the licenses out so users don't need to jury rig google play services on there themselves...

Re:I'll wait and see (1)

macinnisrr (1103805) | about 4 months ago | (#46678299)

Try CeleumTV [celeum.com] . It comes with the Google Play services and a custom XBMC setup.

Re:I'll wait and see (1)

cHiphead (17854) | about 4 months ago | (#46675541)

That's so quaint, you still won't cut the cord.

HBO and the other movie channels have had their chance. The cable is cut, they either get with the program and open subscription services to all ala Netflix/Hulu/Vudu/etc. or die on the cable-attached vine. Sorry for the loss of good programming but there's always new programming coming.

Re:I'll wait and see (1)

clintp (5169) | about 4 months ago | (#46676039)

It's not the boxes themselves that are the failures, it's the content that's all shit. Netflix has old shit, HBO doesn't play nicely with anyone, movie and cable distributors are still living in the 1970's, sports leagues are still living in the 1980's. Even when you manage to get two or more players together, the metadata blows chunks.

No thanks. I'll wait for the Pirate Bay STB.

Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46673897)

I'll stick w/ my ~2 year old ODROID-XU running XBMC - quad core big.LITTLE @ 1.6Ghz w/ LPDDR3 all using less than about 3W playing high bitrate 1080p/24-30Hz video while running a few other services in the background (transmission / mediatomb / etc).

The price is right for the power I get, plus well established hardware (ARM core w/ PowerVR GPU - om nom nom) that can run whatever distro I want - win win win.

Chromecast? (2)

parallel_prankster (1455313) | about 5 months ago | (#46673905)

Did they give up on Chromecast? What is the need for something else?

Re:Chromecast? (1)

lord_mike (567148) | about 5 months ago | (#46673929)

Chromecast needed a "source" to transfer video from, like a tablet, smartphone or computer. This set top box will be all in one. I wonder if it will be able to run unmodified Android apps like Ouya. If it can do that and sideload, too, I'm in!

Re:Chromecast? (1)

wile_e8 (958263) | about 5 months ago | (#46673971)

But how many people that would be interested in a set top streaming box won't already have a tablet or smartphone to use as the source? Not exactly a large market there.

Re:Chromecast? (1)

lord_mike (567148) | about 5 months ago | (#46674021)

But maybe you want to be using your tablet for something else while watching.

Re:Chromecast? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46674181)

That already works fine. The limitation in my opinion is that you are restricted to apps that "support" casting, which for me are google play and Netflix.

Re:Chromecast? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 5 months ago | (#46674207)

This was my biggest fear when I purchased a Chromecast, but actually it works fine in the background.

It doesn't really stream from Phone to Chromecast, what actually happens (I'm guessing based on behavior) is phone sends app to Chromecast when you set said app to cast, then your tablet sends commands to that app loaded on the chromecast, the Chromecast actually pulls the video from the internet itself, not your tablet. You can hit the home button and browse away, with most apps having control buttons in the ongoing part of the status pull down.

In fact, if your device goes away, you can no longer control the chromecast, but what's playing will finish.

Re:Chromecast? (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about 4 months ago | (#46677631)

I hear this line of logic all the time on Slashdot. It screams, "I live alone!" Advising that you can use your smartphone as a remote, or worse yet, as the source for the media you play on your TV makes about as much sense as "Just watch TV on your computer monitor."

Using your smartphone as a remote control converts a reliable multi-user device into a locked down single-user unreliable device. The batteries on my TV remote literally last for years. Smartphones barely last a day. That alone is a reason to skip using a phone as a remote. But then you have the situation where every person that would want to change the channel on your TV needs to have a phone and have it specifically set up to work with that specific television. The very idea is a complete non-starter for just about anyone that has more than one TV watcher in the house.

The worst part of your idea is that anyone would want to subject their loved ones to the rudeness of shutting their movie off halfway through because they were running down to the grociery store and they didn't want to spend $99 ( or as little as $35 for a RaspberryPi ) on a device that just stays connected to the TV.

Re:Chromecast? (2)

wile_e8 (958263) | about 4 months ago | (#46678289)

Good lord what a moronic piece of drivel. It screams "I have no idea how this product works, but I won't let that stop me from bashing it!"

  • Are you the only person in the world without a charger in your house? If the battery on you phone or tablet gets that low, you can charge it while watching the show.
  • It is possible to share smartphones and tablets. Somehow multiple people can control a TV despite only one remote control.
  • Any device can control any Chromecast connected to the same wifi network. And can stop, pause, or rewind a program started by another device.
  • And the worst, most blatant example that you have no idea how the product you are bashing works. When it comes to streaming shows from the internet like on Netflix or HBOGo or whatever, Chromecast doesn't actually stream from the device that started the program. The device gives the Chromecast the location of the stream, and the Chromecast accesses it directly. If you need to run to the grocery store, it keeps playing even if you take your phone with you.

A someone that easily uses a Chromecast with my wife and children, you need to shut up until you learn about what you are bashing.

Re:Chromecast? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46675597)

I bought a Chromecast to try and it's a huge disappointment. Oddly enough it works best with my iPhone, and Windows 7. My Apple Laptop can see it, but my ONLY Android device cannot even see it on the network - damn Asus Transformer. Stuck at ICS and "something" doesn't like how Chromecast uses the network.

It 's a cute toy but I don't see how anyone would want to juggle devices with it to watch tv for any length of time.

Re:Chromecast? (1)

swillden (191260) | about 4 months ago | (#46675975)

It 's a cute toy but I don't see how anyone would want to juggle devices with it to watch tv for any length of time.

Because most people don't have a smartphone nearby when they're watching TV? For me, using Chromecast reduces device juggling because I don't need a remote -- and my phone is always on me anyway.

Re:Chromecast? (2)

swillden (191260) | about 4 months ago | (#46675957)

Chromecast needed a "source" to transfer video from, like a tablet, smartphone or computer.

Casting from a Chrome tab means the computer is acting as a video source, but in most usage modes the tablet or phone is just acting as a controller; the Chromecast streams the content from the Internet.

Re:Chromecast? (1)

Swarley (1795754) | about 5 months ago | (#46674149)

Games.

Re:Chromecast? (1)

macinnisrr (1103805) | about 4 months ago | (#46678321)

CeleumTV [celeum.com]

Re:Chromecast? (2, Interesting)

bobjr94 (1120555) | about 4 months ago | (#46676601)

My sister has a chromecast stick, it's kind of a pain, we are staying with her for a week. You need to keep your phone nearby, keep netflix or whatever running all the time, cant use your phone for anything else and can only see apps that support chromecasting. You can't just display anything from your phone on your tv. Movies will cut off half way though if your phone goes dead and if you want to run to the store, you have to leave your phone home or whoever is watching netflix will have to wait till you get back. So after 2 days I bought her a roku 1 box at walmart for 48$, it's much better. Has its own remote (or you can use your phone) plays netflix, hulu plus and more, streams content from local networks (movies from my laptop, with a upnp server, xbmc in my case) and it's always there. Spend the extra 10$ and get a set top box and skip the chromecast. It's a neat gadget but long term not very useful.

Re:Chromecast? (3, Informative)

Vendetta (85883) | about 4 months ago | (#46677153)

You absolutely do NOT need to keep Netflix running on your phone and you absolutely CAN use your phone for something else while the Chromecast is streaming. I've been using a Chromecast since they came out and love it. In fact, my son is using it to watch cartoons on Netflix right now and I started the cartoon via my phone. I just rebooted my phone to see what would happen and sure enough, Netflix kept working just fine on the Chromecast. Once you start the stream, the Chromecast itself is what is communicating with Netflix/Youtube/whatever. One thing you are correct about is the local media streaming. That is a weakness, but you're incorrect on just about everything else in your post.

Re:Chromecast? (1)

Wing_Zero (692394) | about 4 months ago | (#46677345)

Agreed, I love my Chromecast. I stream Netflix and my Plex server content to it. Doesn't need a constant connection from the phone/tablet, (in fact, once the stream starts, it can glitch out and ignore the commands from the phone, making it hard to stop a show and switch to the next. so far only a Netflix issue)

Chrometab isn't a big feature for me, but i could see putting the NFL.com team page on a second tv during the game.

With my Plex Server is where i think this thing shines. I have it plugged into my bedroom, grab my phone, que up a tv show, and enjoy!

Re:Chromecast? (1)

Albanach (527650) | about 4 months ago | (#46677799)

Are you sure your sister has a chromecast? As others say, you don't need to keep anything open on your phone or tablet.

It would be different if she was casting a tab from a chrome browser on a laptop, or if you in fact have a Miracast dongle, also supported by Google as a way of streaming, but which would need you to keep the app open. Certainly that can be a pain, but again it's not Chromecast - indeed Chromecast seems designed to solve this major problem of Miracast (or Apple's airplay).

Anti-trust ahead (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46673915)

If Google continues adding more fingers in different pies like it's doing, legal restraints and calls to split it up aren't far head. Each business interest leverages the others, and makes it very difficult for others to compete.

Re:Anti-trust ahead (1)

guises (2423402) | about 5 months ago | (#46674049)

Having a lot of fingers isn't monopolistic, having one giant finger that takes up the whole pie is.

Besides, this isn't a new finger: Google already did this with the Nexus Q.

Re:Anti-trust ahead (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about 4 months ago | (#46675145)

Further, there is nothing illegal about having a monopoly.

It is, however, illegal to use that monopoly to monopolize a different market.

Sounds like it's still pretty far off... (5, Interesting)

berchca (414155) | about 5 months ago | (#46673917)

"Google is currently courting select app developers to create apps and games for Android TV"

"Earlier reports suggested Google would build Android TV itself, which would put it in direct competition with its hardware partners."

Seems like maybe they're just letting people know there's something in the pipe, so maybe some folks will hold off on buying a Fire TV, but there's not much about what the thing might look like or do.

Re:Sounds like it's still pretty far off... (5, Interesting)

davester666 (731373) | about 5 months ago | (#46673993)

exactly, this is a microsoft-like FUD move to try to stall the market so they can ship something...this will be swing #4 after 2 absolute failures [that ball thing and Google TV] and a so-so Chromecast.

Re:Sounds like it's still pretty far off... (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#46674411)

exactly, this is a microsoft-like FUD move to try to stall the market so they can ship something.

It's a technique that's worked for Microsoft and IBM before them so what, 50 years of the technique working?

Re:Sounds like it's still pretty far off... (1)

grouchomarxist (127479) | about 4 months ago | (#46675441)

You do it too much and people recognize it for what it is. People start ignoring your announcements and your marketing power weakens.

Re:Sounds like it's still pretty far off... (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#46677199)

I would think so but it still seems to be working.......

what about there fiber tv boxes why not (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 5 months ago | (#46673925)

what about there fiber tv why not just reuse them?? or do they need the Network Box to work even with an software change to them?

No all in one sadly (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 5 months ago | (#46673943)

I don't see any mention of HBO (which FireTV also seems to lack). But I'm also wondering if the Google device will sport Amazon video, since the Fire exists.

It's kind of silly how you can't really get all things you'd want on any one device. Even the Roku lacks the ability to play iTunes content, at least directly.

Re:No all in one sadly (1)

Luthair (847766) | about 5 months ago | (#46673983)

No reason this new device couldn't also support the Chromecast protocol and act as a receiver. (And thus utilize HBO Go support that way)

Yes, all in one (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | about 5 months ago | (#46674029)

It's kind of silly how you can't really get all things you'd want on any one device.

Not only HBO, but you fail to mention Hulu (not Hulu Plus) and the major networks. (And I'm not going to count some overpriced rip-off app that wants you to pay dearly for access to content that they don't own or provide.) But there is one device that seems to provide me access to all of the on-line sources that I want, as well as letting me do local streaming in a wide variety of formats. That's a PC. I have a laptop with HDMI out that does pretty much everything that I need. Roku might be slicker and handier, but without Hulu and the networks I have no real use for it.

Re:Yes, all in one (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 5 months ago | (#46674061)

That's true, and I have a media PC for that reason also.

But even though I could access anything from it, I prefer to access most content through a more dedicated source - currently for me a PS3. The playback of many things (like Hulu) kind of sucks when watching on a PC hooked up to a TV/Projector, it's just more pleasant through dedicated applications.

Re:Yes, all in one (1)

macinnisrr (1103805) | about 4 months ago | (#46678343)

Or a CeleumTV [celeum.com] .

Re:No all in one sadly (1)

macinnisrr (1103805) | about 4 months ago | (#46678329)

Check out CeleumTV [celeum.com] .

Polishing turds (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46673947)

"By the summer of 2012, the majority of the televisions you see in stores will have Google TV embedded."

  - Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google

Buzz was a resounding failure, so they turned it into G+. Google TV was a resounding failure, so they turned it into Android TV.

Dear Google: putting lipstick on a pig does not change its fundamentally porcine nature.

Re:Polishing turds (1)

mcrbids (148650) | about 5 months ago | (#46674143)

Google TV isn't a failure, it's just not the only success.

I have a Google TV stick and I love it! It is just a tablet that uses my TV as its screen and a wireless keyboard as its input. It is about the size of a thumb drive. It cost $40 on Amazon (.search for mk808b to get the exact model I'm watching Hulu+ on as I write this)

See my post history for details: this is quite successful. I have no idea what Google would want to improve...

Re:Polishing turds (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 4 months ago | (#46674489)

this is quite successful. I have no idea what Google would want to improve...

If the interface is any good, they'll probably revamp it. Ever used gmail? Google groups?

I would say Picasa, but that was a clusterfuck from the get-go.

Re:Polishing turds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46675159)

If you need to use a keyboard to use a TV attached device, you have failed.

The mass market wants something that is VCR-easy. They want to GET AWAY from the computer experience. Take a look at AppleTV sometime - the on-screen keyboard use on it is very minimal, thus the millions of units happily sold. Now only if they would pull their head out of their ass and allow App Store apps, or non-iTunes media sources without hackery.

Re:Polishing turds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46676459)

Google TV isn't a failure, it's just not the only success.

It's not a "success" in any sense of the word. That YOU bought a unit does not make it a success. It is, and remains, a market failure that is a money-losing proposition. If it wasn't they wouldn't have also "invented" the ChromeCast, and this new "Android TV" offering.

Pro tip: If you have a "tablet" whose display sits on a piece of furniture in your home that you control solely with a keyboard (and possibly a mouse) that's called a desktop computer. That you make the monitor "really big" and mount it on the wall doesn't change that fact - it's not a fucking tablet.

Re:Polishing turds (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 5 months ago | (#46674227)

I don't even think Buzz was a failure, I think they thought it would immediately blow up, rather than slowly grow, then blow up with the network effect.

They should have worked on integrating it with picasa, in a non forced down your throat way, but instead allowing picasa to be your place to store photos, and making it easy to post them in Buzz.

Buzz had a few things going for it.

1) not everybody you ever met forever was your friend (I suppose that would fade if it took off)
2) not blocked by internet filters (more places allow gmail than facebook)
3) not full of junk (see 1)

My friends and I used it as essentially our private message board and it worked well for that. Wave was similar, but the realtime aspect of it made it pretty annoying. It shouldn't of sent anything until you hit submit the first time.

Re:Polishing turds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46676423)

So in other words, "if they had just done something completely different with Buzz, it would have totally been successful?" Yeah, thanks for underscoring my point. Their second attempt at Buzz (which was a turd) was Wave (also a turd), and then they scrapped it for G+ (which is a slightly more polished turd than Buzz, but it's still a turd).

Hangouts? Also a turd. I'm forced to use it daily at work - and guess what? To have a "group" chat, I have to have Chrome plus the Hangouts extension for Chrome, running at all times. And then it puts blocky green bullshit all over my screen because who doesn't like invasive popups from a browser they'd normally opt not to use, if it wasn't for the fact that the rest of the team expected you to be idling in a Hangout session all day?

There are plenty of "private message boards" that aren't complete turds. There are plenty of Media boxes that aren't complete turds. Google's offerings in both of these spaces are among the turds.

hey google... (0)

smash (1351) | about 5 months ago | (#46673973)

... you're about 4-5 years late.

Re:hey google... (1)

Luthair (847766) | about 5 months ago | (#46673995)

Hardly, none of the existing players (AppleTV, Roku, Boxee, etc.) have shown it to be anything more than a niche market. The real question is will the add-on box market ever materialize?

Re:hey google... (4, Informative)

m.dillon (147925) | about 5 months ago | (#46674073)

AppleTV had over $1B in revenue last year. It might not be a big segment of the market yet, but it isn't a small niche either and its growing like crazy. Plus the ongoing revenue from the product has insanely high margins.

-Matt

Re:hey google... (0)

Luthair (847766) | about 5 months ago | (#46674163)

Thats ~10 million devices worldwide, not really a big market.

Re:hey google... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46674317)

That's ~10 million devices.

You can make a goddamned awful lot of money selling ten million units of anything, and there's going to be no "killer app" in this space unless someone comes along with a monopolized (eg, only on a single device) Netflix replacement that farts unicorns and craps bald eagles and actually beats content rights out of old media.

Re:hey google... (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#46674421)

Wow. I hope to invent a device that sells to 'not really a big market'

Predated by...Logitech? Sony? (3, Interesting)

txsable (169665) | about 5 months ago | (#46674023)

We got a Logitech Revue when they dropped the price on them a few years ago. Been pretty happy with it, although not with the major broadcast networks who think that there's a difference between watching browser- based streams on a computer vs on a set-top android box, but that's another post.

Sadly, Logitech last released an update for the Revue with Android 3.2, and nothing new since then; they dropped support for it, and the only updates it seems to get any more are for the Google Play Music app. Some of the other providers, like Crunchyroll, have an app that will work with the revue, but many don't. The Revue was a good idea, seems to be pretty well implemented, but perhaps ahead of its time.

Get it right this time... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 5 months ago | (#46674031)

Hopefully, the recommendation engine will work better than Google's current one on YouTube. Yeah, it's a pretty low bar, but Google's record on building useful UI's is... spotty at best.

Bad Taste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46674107)

Even if it ends up being decent (doubtful), Google has such a terrible legacy of abandoning it's products (why should Google care about any small product line when they have so many balls in the air). Like many Google TV owners, I have a very bad aftertaste after my experience with the terribly crippled and neglected Google TV platform. Adopters of a new google TV platform should be wary - your skepticism is warranted.

Who cares about TV? (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about 5 months ago | (#46674121)

That's like so 20th century.

Re:Who cares about TV? (1)

Caedite Eos (2769585) | about 4 months ago | (#46677757)

Absolutely. However, this could provide decent content for my projector. (Once you've experienced a properly set-up system with a 240" screen, you will never want to look at a TV.)

Microsoft no show (2)

Nyder (754090) | about 5 months ago | (#46674133)

I find it funny that MS has stated they want to be a dominate player in the living room entertainment and are once again no showing at the beginning of the fight for living room dominance. This is where the battle will be fought, not at the gaming console level I would think. While I would have to put money aside to get a Xbox One, PS4 or even a WiiU, a $40 TV on a stick I would consider picking up. $100 pricing isn't out of range, but wouldn't be as much as an impulse buy.

Oh, wait, windows 8. NM, stay out of the party.

Re:Microsoft no show (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46674319)

Like always, Microsoft was one of the first players. They had TV products out by 2000. Microsoft puts out products way ahead of their time, but they almost always fail because the hardware isn't advanced or cheap enough or due to poor marketing.

Most TV watchers have cable. Why would they waste $40 on a USB stick when their existing cable box does everything the stick does?

Windows 8's UI uses tiles and so does the Wii, Amazon Fire TV, Android, Apple, Netflix, etc... What are you complaining about again? Do you think the Windows 8 core is bad or are you saying you want a desktop UI on your TV?

Microsoft wants to use the kinect to make TV interactive. They pick the long term view, then fail at it. But at least they're thinking ahead.

Re:Microsoft no show (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46674987)

Those consoles are computers, people that buy the Xdonk One, and the rest are buying them for basic computer usage. Ironically you can build a desk top that is 5 times faster for about the same price.

Kinda foolish not to think MS isn't going to try and develop their next console for both gaming and set-box entertainment..

Re:Microsoft no show (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 4 months ago | (#46675367)

And yet on my Xbox360 I've been able to play games, movies, TV shows, access streaming services and live video for five years. How is that late to the game?

Re:Microsoft no show (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46675617)

It's missing the market of people who don't like paying through the nose to get what everyone else gets for 0 dollars - Xbox Gold for Multiplayer anyone? Xbox Gold for Netflix that I already pay for?

No thanks.

Microsoft wants to have the paying clientele (1)

melted (227442) | about 4 months ago | (#46677835)

Microsoft wants to have the paying clientele, just like Apple. Selling $30 devices at a loss to people who will never buy or rent any movies is not lucrative to them. With Xbox you pretty much guarantee people will buy games at least, and everything is there for them to buy and rent movies as well.

Yet another DOA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46674267)

Ugh...

Yet another dead on arrival "TV box" from yet another company. What have you guys been doing for the last 10 years? The original AppleTV (2007) came out only a year after the first Intel Macmini, it even looks a lot like the current macmini. What does this tell everyone? The Macmini was was too much for the living room. The original MacMini came out in 2005.

Here's the thing. The best "TV box" is a matter of opinion, but if you have a Wii U, that does everything except be a AppleTV streamer. If you have an AppleTV, that does everything but play games. The rest of this Android crap, is quite literately crap.

I don't know about you, but my TV has only 2 HDMI ports, where the hell am I supposed to be plugging all these things in? A logical solution herein lies:

I, and many nerds, will buy the first device that has both HDMI IN and HDMI OUT, and can record the HDMI-in and play it back through the HDMI-out or stream it to another device on my network. That is the killer-app. That is why TV sucks (I can't arbitrarily record whatever unless I have the cable company box that comes with a PVR, and even then I can't watch anything on my other devices.) In reverse, the box needs to allow streaming from all DLNA devices that support the h261/h262/h263/h264/h265 codecs as well as the VP6/7/8/9 codecs. Right now TV from LG and Samsung using Google's Android TV software is the worst crap I've ever had to use, and I can't understand why anyone would buy a "Smart TV" just to have an extra 100$ worth of parts bolted on that adds 500$ to the price.

As for marrying a TV box to a TV properly. A TV built in 1960 would last until 2000. A TV built now lasts maybe 7 years. Technology has been moving at breakneck speeds that anyone who buys a TV ends up with useless hardware the next year... IF they are actually using those features. To date I know of nobody that has ever been able to make use of any SmartTV feature other than the DLNA feature... and that still requires a PC in another room.

Re:Yet another DOA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46675627)

http://www.monoprice.com/Produ... [monoprice.com]

$50. Or, ditch the crappy sound of most TVs and build out a receiver/speaker/sub combo. Either way, inputs are expanded.

My TV only has 3 HDMI inputs. I do have a receiver from my past home theater build; however it doesn't do HDMI. I'll rectify that at some point with a $300 HK receiver that has 4 HDMI inputs with ARC so wherever I plug something in, the audio and video play properly.

I also added a Logitech Harmony remote for seamless WAF. oh yeah; to cover the rest - I have a computer hooked up to one input. Also own a blu-ray, XBox 360, Chromecast and cable box. We don't use the blu-ray player as much anymore, so it stays unplugged for now - but can be swapped if we REALLY need it.

Again, you have options now for very little money. And if solutions aren't there (as in your need for codecs etc) a small HTPC will do it. Does it cost money? Sure. But you probably saved money buying a tv with 2 HDMI inputs rather than spending the $$ on one with more inputs (and probably more features.)

Another one? (1)

Animats (122034) | about 4 months ago | (#46674357)

Google already has several TV interface devices on the market. There's Google Chromecast, of course. Google also sells a set top-box used with Google Fiber [google.com] That also comes with the Google Storage Box [google.com] , which is a 2TB file server for storing downloaded content. There's the old Google TV, which is mostly Android software inside.

So Google has this covered already. They have a device for viewing TV over the Internet, and they have a cable box for their cable system. They're probably going to tweak the UI on one of those and promote that as a new product.

already there (1)

prof_robinson (2632705) | about 4 months ago | (#46674509)

These have been for sale from China for at least a year: http://www.dhgate.com/wholesal... [dhgate.com] Seems to me this is old news - it looks like a finished product.

Fuck Google... (3, Interesting)

Sooner Boomer (96864) | about 4 months ago | (#46674515)

...and fuck Google TV. A couple of years ago, I bought an LG TV, which ran on Android. Fairly good performance, fairly good price. It's a 3D TV, and I was disappointed that ESPN cancelled it's 3D broadcasts just after I bought it, but what the heck. I found a Samba client that let me watch video files over my network. I even had a couple of 3D video files, like the Dr. Who Anniversary episode I could watch in 3D. Then Google "upgraded" Android. I tried EVERYTHING I could do to reject the upgrade and not accept it, but somehow it went ahead and installed the new version. Now, almost everything on the TV is broken. The native media player that was part of the original Android software is gone. The Samba client is gone. I can't even play videos from an attached USB device. LG has been less than useless. I've sent multiple emails and they are either clueless or blame Google. They have DELIBERATELY removed functionality that I specifically purchased the TV for. All that's left now is legal action.

Re:Fuck Google... (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#46675065)

What model of TV is this? Why didn't you state that in your post?

There are Samba clients for all versions of Android. There are media players for all versions. All LG Android TVs support DLNA anyway. If you can't play media over your network you are doing it wrong.

Anyway, depending on where you live it sounds like you could probably return the TV to shop as broken. It doesn't do what it was originally advertised as doing, not fit for purpose any more, stuff you paid for no longer works etc. Don't accept it, don't complain on the internet, put it back in the box and take it to the shop and demand they either fix it or refund/replace it.

Re:Fuck Google... (3, Insightful)

wile_e8 (958263) | about 4 months ago | (#46675983)

And this is why you should buy a dumb TV and just use it as a display for smart devices. Whatever is added on to the TV is usually obsolete or dead long before the TV and can't be replaced, but a box or stick can. This has been the way to do it since they started coming out with TV/VCRs, and it's even more true more that input devices are advancing so much more rapidly.

Re:Fuck Google... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46676021)

Boo hoo... i want my mommy :(

Gee dude, stop whining over a freaking TV already.
Go and buy the newest Zenith model.

Cry baby!

Re:Fuck Google... (1)

Monoman (8745) | about 4 months ago | (#46676599)

I doubt Google pushed the update. You should probably be blaming LG.

Could everybody focus again on their business? (4, Informative)

drolli (522659) | about 4 months ago | (#46674589)

Amazon: I really love your services, and if you allow VOD to be played on any android i will go take Amazon Prime immediatly. Dont try to puch your kindles on me.

Google: Please focus on providing good infrastructure and OS integration in Android for everybody. Stop pushing you own Hardware. Once one company has all aspects (hardware, Software, Content) i will not like them any more.

Samsung: Stop making smart TVs or other devices with own content channels. Your services suck and the bloatware you put on your android is the worst point about these devices.

Here we go again (1)

NapalmV (1934294) | about 4 months ago | (#46675559)

I've already posted this before the Amazon Fire TV just to be disappointed when it came out. Here it is again, maybe Google is a better listener.

The success of such boxes is eventually tied to how well they play LOCAL attached media. If it flawlessly plays my vacation photos and movies then it will stay connected to the TV. Then I might also be "consuming" whatever is on "streaming" too. But if support for local media is not there at all or if it's insufficient/buggy, the box will get disconnected and replaced with something "better".

Dear Google please make sure that you can play those JPEGs with a nice interface, and also support H.264 video with AAC sound, captions and chapters in MP4 containers, at least at the level currently supported by iPads. Add the TV streaming as a bonus and you have a winner. Fail to play the user media or force him to upload it "to the cloud" in order to view it and your box would be useless.

And oh by the way if you're also gonna do on-the-fly conversion of AAC to LPCM so any 5.1 receiver could understand it, you'll have a winner creaming all other boxes.
.

Re:Here we go again (2)

nblender (741424) | about 4 months ago | (#46675679)

I just transitioned my wife to a Chromecast with Plex installed. I think that might be what you want.

Years ago I started with a shuttle PC running Gentoo and VLC with a custom backend to my hauppauge capture cards. It worked well but WAF (wife-acceptance-factor) was very low. Over the years, transitioned through MythTV, XBMC, and now Plex... We've dropped our cable boxes (even though we still pay for cable), and have switched entirely to locally hosted media and streaming from Plex 'channels'... All of our music, photos, home videos are also available on Plex. I removed the Acer Veriton behind my wife's TV, plugged in the Chromecast, and installed plex on a tablet. She now uses the tablet as the 'remote' (no more keyboard on the couch). On the tablet, she can scroll through the video collection and or streaming 'channels', hit 'play', and content appears on her TV. She can pause, ffwd, frwd, all on the tablet.

I can't speak to your audio handling requirements as we are not a hi-fidelity household.

NOT on 'the verge' of anything... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46676689)

Is this an advertisement for Google, Amazon, Apple, Android TV or all of the above? Or even 'The Verge'? Why even bother discussing the nuances of such posturing, it's only designed to drive traffic.

Google? Please... (1)

Rob_Bryerton (606093) | about 4 months ago | (#46677373)

This will be an utter failure. Why? Because it's by Google: it has to fail. The only alternative is a half-assed implementation continuously changed for the sake of it, then ignored, and then finally unceremoniously cancelled.

Google: Do No Evil (we'd only screw it up if we tried!)

SageTV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46678045)

The part of this that really has me paying attention is a couple of years ago google acquired SageTv, and it is rumored to be using it for it's google fiber offerings. I've had a SageTV based PVR since the mid-2000's and it's one of the few pieces of PVR software that's stood the test of time and still has features that a lot of other ones don't. If they wrap an updated SageTV with android the results could be spectacular.

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