Google announced the support of Intel, Logitech, Sony, DISH Network, Best Buy and Adobe as it unveiled its much-anticipated Google TV Platform at its industry developer conference in San Francisco. The internet giant said it was ushering in a new category of devices for the living room.
Based on the Android platform. the devices will run the Google Chrome web browser. Users will be able to access linear TV channels, as well as drawing on the internet and cloud-based applications including Adobe Flash.
Martin Olausson, director of the Strategy Analytics Digital Media Strategies service, said while not the first attempt to bring internet content to the television, the success of Google TV lies in the strength and importance of the partnership with Sony, Intel, and Logitech.
“We do not think that this is going to be another WebTV,” said Olausson. “We see a demonstrated market need and willingness, and the experience and resources of these partners give Google TV a good shot at success.”
Representatives from Sony and Logitech were on stage to promise the delivery of products based on the new Intel Atom Processor. In a statement, Google said that while the device is designed to work with any TV operator the user experience will be “fully optimized when paired with DISH Network”. Mention has been made of start-ups such as Roku and Boxee coming under serious pressure from Google TV, but read through the featureset and the comparison might be better made with TiVo Premiere or Liberty Global’s new networked device that will also run on the Intel Atom processor.
Charlie Ergen, chairman, DISH Network, and currently in the middle of a protracted legal battle with TiVo said Google TV marked the next evolution in television. “Only DISH Network Google TV customers will be able to enjoy a unified search across TV, DVR and web; easily find related content; and manage their entire TV viewing experience. Additionally, the advanced integration will allow developers to create new and exciting applications to enrich the TV viewing experience.”
Video content will be drawn from Netflix, Amazon Video On Demand, and YouTube, and the device will be capable of running apps from the Android Market.
An integrated search is designed to help viewers find content over the air, and through pay-TV channel listings, DVR and the internet. A home screen will enable viewers to personalize their TV viewing experience.
Tied into the Google announcement, Sony revealed plans for Sony Internet TV that will incorporate the Google TV platform, the first models will be introduced in the United States this autumn. The range includes a standalone TV and a ‘set-top box type’ model incorporating a Blu-ray disc drive. Logitech will launch a standalone box that will effectively upgrade existing HD Ready TVs to the platform.
Arguably the entrance of Google and other names more associated with the computer world marks a threat to the established set-top box vendors. However, the move was broadly welcomed by Paul Bristow, VP strategy, middleware and consumer experience, ADB: “We think it’s great that Google agrees that TV is the main entertainment platform for consumers at home. This announcement completely validates the open standards approach that we at ADB have adopted, and supports our focus on converging internet and TV content to the TV screen. It also demonstrates clearly that the broadband digital TV revolution is just getting started. Bristow said he anticipated further announcements in the field and that it would take some time for a clear pattern to establish.