What You Need to Know About Google TV

You heard the rumors… now it’s time for the reality. Google today unveiled their “open” internet TV platform based on Android that combines the best of the Web and TV for a “seamless experience.” Google TV will launch this Fall and will be rolled into Sony’s upcoming ‘net-connected, Blu-ray equipped HDTV and Logitech’s “companion box.” In regards to the companion box, it will sit between the TV and your cable/satellite set-top box — connected to each via HDMI and using an IR blaster to control a TV provider’s set-top box. The companion box will have connectivity connections for broadband and Bluetooth. The Google TV platform itself, as previously stated, leverages Android, but also relies heavily on Chrome and Flash for a “full web experience.” Google TV is managed using a wireless keyboard controller or, optionally, using your mobile Android handset with touch or voice. Bottom line: Google TV is an infotainment platform that integrates with your TV provider’s set-top, Android apps from the marketplace, TV optimized web apps (guidelines), and services from third party content providers (UPDATE: looks like Google TV will offer HDTV Video Chat as well, according to Logitech’s blog). The platform is open-source and open to any all who wish to participate. A full list of product highlights are listed below including screenshots of the Google TV interface shown this morning at the Google I/O 2010 developer conference.



Credit: PCMag.com

* Image credit top ZDNet (Flickr), below YouTube’s Google I/O stream

Google TV’s main search interface showing a query for HOUSE

Screenshot of what the TV “Series” search result produces for HOUSE. You can see that it provides info for air dates, networks, and VOD availability from Internet-based sources like Hulu and Amazon.

Netflix’s page on Google TV

Bookmarks page on Google TV – you’re able to bookmark both websites and TV channels

Podcasts via Google TV can be access through Google’s Listen & Watch

Here’s a quick view of available video podcasts under the HD Casts category

Google TV’s record program feature that ties into Dish Network’s satellite TV service

Closed captioning on Google TV is powered by Google Translate

Search by URL

Browse or search the Internet while the picture-in-picture (PIP) display is playing live or recorded TV

YouTube’s new “Lean Back” auto-play TV web app — powered by your personalized video feed and friend recommendations. It’s also social and allows you to rent available movies via YouTube.

NBA.com optimized for TV – this site is also able to interact with Google TV’s Web API to set recordings of future games

Another example of using the Internet to get real-time data while watching video in the PIP window

Android Market on the TV. Google TV is able to use Android’s mobile apps and TV optimized apps created by developers.

Example of Chrome on the PC, via a browser extension, being able to “push” an application from the cloud to an Android device like Google TV

The first official devices powered by Google TV – both Sony and Logitech’s products will leverage Intel’s Atom chips and include a GPU with hardware acceleration support for Flash 10.1 and gaming (both products will be available at Best Buy – Price: TBD)

Google TV roadmap

Announcing Google TV: TV meets web. Web meets TV

5/20/2010 10:00:00 AM — If there’s one entertainment device that people know and love, it’s the television. In fact, 4 billion people across the world watch TV and the average American spends five hours per day in front of one*. Recently, however, an increasing amount of our entertainment experience is coming from our phones and computers. One reason is that these devices have something that the TV lacks: the web. With the web, finding and accessing interesting content is fast and often as easy as a search. But the web still lacks many of the great features and the high-quality viewing experience that the TV offers.

So that got us thinking…what if we helped people experience the best of TV and the best of the web in one seamless experience? Imagine turning on the TV and getting all the channels and shows you normally watch and all of the websites you browse all day — including your favorite video, music and photo sites. We’re excited to announce that we’ve done just that.

Google TV is a new experience for television that combines the TV that you already know with the freedom and power of the Internet. With Google Chrome built in, you can access all of your favorite websites and easily move between television and the web. This opens up your TV from a few hundred channels to millions of channels of entertainment across TV and the web. Your television is also no longer confined to showing just video. With the entire Internet in your living room, your TV becomes more than a TV — it can be a photo slideshow viewer, a gaming console, a music player and much more.

Google TV uses search to give you an easy and fast way to navigate to television channels, websites, apps, shows and movies. For example, already know the channel or program you want to watch? Just type in the name and you’re there. Want to check out that funny YouTube video on your 48” flat screen? It’s just a quick search away. If you know what you want to watch, but you’re not sure where to find it, just type in what you’re looking for and Google TV will help you find it on the web or on one of your many TV channels. If you’d rather browse than search, you can use your standard program guide, your DVR or the Google TV home screen, which provides quick access to all of your favorite entertainment so you’re always within reach of the content you love most.

Because Google TV is built on open platforms like Android and Google Chrome, these features are just a fraction of what Google TV can do. In our announcement today at Google I/O, we challenged web developers to start coming up with the next great web and Android apps designed specifically for the TV experience. Developers can start optimizing their websites for Google TV today. Soon after launch, we’ll release the Google TV SDK and web APIs for TV so that developers can build even richer applications and distribute them through Android Market. We’ve already started building strategic alliances with a number of companies — like Jinni.com and Rovi — at the leading edge of innovation in TV technology. Jinni.com is a next-generation TV application working to provide semantic search, personalized recommendation and social features for Google TV across all sources of premium content available to the user. Rovi is one of the world’s leading guide applications. We’re looking forward to seeing all of the ways developers will use this new platform.

We’re working together with Sony and Logitech to put Google TV inside of televisions, Blu-ray players and companion boxes. These devices will go on sale this fall, and will be available at Best Buy stores nationwide. You can sign up here to get updates on Google TV availability.

This is an incredibly exciting time — for TV watchers, for developers and for the entire TV ecosystem. By giving people the power to experience what they love on TV and on the web on a single screen, Google TV turns the living room into a new platform for innovation. We’re excited about what’s coming. We hope you are too.

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Filed in: Content Providers, Industry Buzz, Streaming Media Devices

1 Reaction to “What You Need to Know About Google TV”

  1. TV-Links says:

    The Web TV is changing to a very competitive area where it will seem that only the big dogs will get a piece of the pie.

    WebTV applications such as aggregators and video search engines like TVLinks(http://www.tv-links.eu) will have a very difficult position when faced with Google.

    Interesting times ahead.