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Friday, December 16, 2011

The Future of smart TV is Google

Google TV
Google TV
Let me set stage by saying, I used WebTV back in the day and still think it was a great idea. Also, I am an original TiVo subscriber (lifetime), own and love Roku, AppleTV, and have begun using Google TV. So, while my review may not be the most technical, it is backed up with a solid history as a consumer and huge advocate of smart, or interactive, TV.

For the record, I have the Logitech Revue system with the web cam. It's running Honeycomb - Android 3.1, and is pretty snappy. The transmitter is about 15' from where my couch and I've seen no lag time or performance issues. It is very responsive. I bought the system with keyboard, and including the web cam, at Best Buy for 

Now, for my honest assessment as to why Google TV is leading the way (as opposed to some of the other devices that I own) and why I feel Google has the platform that will win the greatest mindshare in the very near future. Here are four reasons I feel pretty strong about this:

1. Truly YouTV: After years of TiVo and DVR experience, I was am tickled at the personal options already and it takes about 10 minutes of surfing to realize the potential this platform offers - it is very customizable! The best part, is it's only getting better. Please share any tips you have with me. Here's one I like: A few days ago, I learned that this is actually something Google TV users can do as well. Want your Google TV home screen look like Ice Cream Sandwich, complete with multiple desktops? Then simply install a different launcher

2. Planet of the Apps:  Android Market store is chocked full of good apps and hackers are adding more and more every day, although I primarily use the web for Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Netflix. Slingbox maker Sling Media quietly rolled out official support for Google TV just this past Wednesday night with the launch of a SlingPlayer web app optimized for the smart TV platform. Cool!

3. Multitasking: That might sound like something you don’t want on your TV — but trust me, you will and you do. I love the picture in picture and Dish Network integration (although, am going to to dump satellite once I get the NBA season pass working). Already, numerous social TV appmakers have all been trying to figure out what you are watching at any given time through apps like IntoNow that use your iPad’s microphone to listen to what you are currently watching. Google TV 2.0 ships with an app called TrackID from Gracenote, which uses audio fingerprinting to identify music much in the same way that Shazam does. What’s neat about it is that you can run TrackID while playing a movie on Netflix or watching a video on YouTube. Google has also said that it will enable every app developer to access data on which show is currently running. Combine this kind of broadcast interactivity with app multitasking, and you could come up with all kinds of interesting and unique opportunities that already makes the standalone TV look outdated.

4. What's a cable bill?: If you are like me, a) You watch a handful of shows over and over (like The Office) and like Movies, and b) are looking to save a few bucks and that cable bill is irritating you every month. The TV industry already knows this too, in fact, every one of them seems to be gravitating towards Google and WiFi standard systems. We already know that Samsung, Vizio and LG all will launch Google TV sets very early next year, and Sony is already in the Google TV camp. Google has also hinted at more partner announcements, which could mean that we’ll have five or six manufacturers supporting the platform by next year. [Google Chairman Eric Schmidt caused some raised eyebrows last week when he claimed that by next summer “the majority of the televisions you see in stores” will come with Google TV. Here's the link to that article: http://bit.ly/ttkHfd

Frankly, IMHO, Google TV could soon become a de facto standard — much like Android has become in the handset market. I know, I know, yes, it's still early, but..... I'll tell you this, it didn't take me but a about 45 seconds of first hearing Gun's N Roses 'Welcome to the Jungle' to know, these guys were going to be huge. Case made.

Ok, your turn. Chime in on this subject.