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Google introduces Android-powered Apple TV competitor

post #1 of 286
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Google on Thursday announced Google TV, a new platform that aims to integrate both Web browsing and cable TV with one device running its Android operating system, set to arrive this fall.

As with Android smartphones, Google TV hardware will not be made by the search giant. Instead, hardware partners and HDTV makers will create devices that will run Google's operating system.

Google said that TV today is too complicated, with too many channels and a poor interface for finding the shows you want to see. They said many people these days end up watching videos on the Web, because it's much easier to find what you're looking for and watch it on your own schedule.

"The problem is, these smaller screens don't compare to our home entertainment system," the company says in a promotional video introducing Google TV.

The new service will come integrated into some HDTVs, while other users can buy Google TV through a separate set-top-box. Using an on-screen Google search box, users can type in what they are looking for and find it, either on the Web or through their cable TV.

"It's basically an entertainment hub that searches all of your channels, recorded shows, YouTube, and other websites," the video says.

Google TV will feature a home screen where users can quickly access their favorite locations, whether they're cable channels, YouTube channels, websites, or anything else on TV or on the Web.

Google TV also features the full Chrome Web browser, and has access to the Android Market, so users can download unique applications to run from their HDTV in the living room.

All devices running Google TV must have Wi-Fi and Ethernet built in. It offers integration with an existing cable or satellite set top box using HDMI, and comes with an infrared blaster to control them. Google TV hardware will also include a dedicated GPU, surround sound, a keyboard, and a pointing device.



Google TV represents yet another market in which the company will compete with Apple, maker of the Apple TV. Last summer, as both companies continued to enter the same markets, Google CEO Eric Schmidt resigned from the Apple Board of Directors as an investigation from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission was looking into the connections between the two companies.

Schmidt's move was seen as necessary as Google and Apple now compete in numerous markets in the technology sector: Google's Android mobile operating system competes with Apple's iPhone; both companies recently made large mobile advertising acquisitions; Google's forthcoming Chrome OS will see the company enter the traditional PC space; and the Chrome browser competes with Apple's Safari.
post #2 of 286
I, for one, welcome our new Google pr0n overlords!

*Awaiting the Google Borg assimilation of Apple*
post #3 of 286
I really don't want or need Google on my HDTV and home theater.
post #4 of 286
Finally Apple has some competition in this area. Hopefully it will stimulate some upgrades and enhancements to the Apple TV product.
post #5 of 286
Wow, they really were being evil.

Talk about Single Google Female...
post #6 of 286
It searches your cable stations? I have EyeTV and it can't find info from encrypted tv channels on TWC. I wonder if the cable companies are going to welcome this.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #7 of 286
Wow, they really were being Evil...

And creepy. 'Apple, I want to be your frieeeend. Look, I'm wearing the same clothes as you..'

Bet the new Google staff uniform is black poloneck and blue jeans...
post #8 of 286
so we're not getting a google ipod product? quick google, you still have that to copy from apple
post #9 of 286
As an Apple TV owner I can tell you this looks like it will blow apple TV away. I still don't understand the lack of browser support on the apple tv.

If they don't take Apple TV out of hobby status ... they might as well shut it down.
post #10 of 286
Wow. what a bunch of losers. sit on Apple board, steal ideas, then leave and directly compete with knockoff products.

Google sucks.

And honestly, who needs google for anything other than the search engine? I have no use for them outside that personally. It's "neat" to have the option to try some of their products sometimes, but no one I know relies on them. Well, google Maps is pretty awesome, so I give that to them (even though that capability was a purchased acquisition rather than developed in house)

From office apps, to email, it is not the greatest (and in fact is also an invasion of privacy - something google has no qualms with) and there are much better options out there.

I find it funny that Google points out bad interfaces on TVs and then show their own fisher price looking interface. LAME!
post #11 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

It searches your cable stations? I have EyeTV and it can't find info from encrypted tv channels on TWC. I wonder if the cable companies are going to welcome this.

Of course not, unless Google strikes a deal with cable companies the encrypted channels will remain so.

Cable companies could respond and encrypt free channels too, thus everyone will have to get a cable box and pay more every month.

Likely the Google box will just stream from the Net and perhaps Netflix.
post #12 of 286
So......the keyboard just sits on the coffee table next to the remotes?
post #13 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevetim View Post

As an Apple TV owner I can tell you this looks like it will blow apple TV away. I still don't understand the lack of browser support on the apple tv.

If they don't take Apple TV out of hobby status ... they might as well shut it down.

I like my AppleTV but with multiple hardware partners I can see Google very quickly gaining more market share than the AppleTV. Even if AppleTV adds a web browser and AppStore I don't think Apple has enough of a lead.

RIP AppleTV?
post #14 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by 9secondko View Post

Wow. what a bunch of losers. sit on Apple board, steal ideas, then leave and directly compete with knockoff products.

Google sucks.

And honestly, who needs google for anything other than the search engine? I have no use for them outside that personally. It's "neat" to have the option to try some of their products sometimes, but no one I know relies on them. Well, google Maps is pretty awesome, so I give that to them (even though that capability was a purchased acquisition rather than developed in house)

From office apps, to email, it is not the greatest (and in fact is also an invasion of privacy - something google has no qualms with) and there are much better options out there.

I find it funny that Google points out bad interfaces on TVs and then show their own fisher price looking interface. LAME!

Someone's got a chip on their shoulder...

The fact that Google has some big names onboard with them is a plus. There plenty of retail advertisment potential to get the name and concept out there. You can bet that Sony will plaster a GoogleTV sticker on the TVs they have on display. And they have a physical, nation-wide retailer (Best Buy) that everyone goes to.

We'll see whether or not this catches on...
\Apple has always had competition. It's just been in its blind spot.
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\Apple has always had competition. It's just been in its blind spot.
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post #15 of 286
Is this competition for Apple TV?

Apple TV connects to the largest online TV/Music/Movie media store in the world and where users can buy content direct. Your Apple TV can replace your cable subscription.

Google TV, if I understand correctly, connects to the internet and to a cable box, and does not sell any content to users. You can consume A) free web content or B) content from your cable subscription. This does not, in any way, replace your cable subscription.

They compete in name only.

Google's critique actually seems to be against the user interface of DVR/Cable set-top-boxes. To solve that, they would need Motorola and other set-top box hardware/software manufacturers to adopt this TV-flavored Android. Then, of course, Comcast etc. would have to adopt those boxes.
post #16 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevetim View Post

As an Apple TV owner I can tell you this looks like it will blow apple TV away. I still don't understand the lack of browser support on the apple tv.

If they don't take Apple TV out of hobby status ... they might as well shut it down.

Apple is still trying to figure out a way to make it a cable box. I think they are better off making it compete with gaming consoles for the time being, so it can make some revenue and fund itself.
post #17 of 286
I don't understand how this is competition to AppleTV? AppleTV is an extension of iTunes to your TV where you can buy movies and TV shows. Google TV brings the web to your TV.
Is there even a web browser on AppleTV?

I know everyone is all jacked up looking for more Apple Vs Google fodder, but i don't think this new product really applies.
post #18 of 286
Watching as Google expands it's controls to yet another consumer space is grimly amusing. For those who love free stuff and features, this will be very popular (see comments above). However, to have Google tracking so much of the consumer sphere is undeniably invasive and compromising. Wait until they offer free services to government agencies. It is a logical extension of their service map. On the other hand all it will take is a well-executed (and well-publicized) hack of Google data infrastructure and somnambulent consumers will disavow Google, politicians will leap valiantly (after the fact) to investigate just what Google's data represents and how vulnerable consumers are.

Or perhaps not. It is a fallacy to look at single product announcements in isolation from the overall business plan and strategy of Google. To understand what Google is ultimately building towards you have to understand what drives their business. Something to think about.

post #19 of 286
Competition?

I thought at least TWO opponents were needed to have a competition.

Apple TV has yet to weigh in.
post #20 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevetim View Post

As an Apple TV owner I can tell you this looks like it will blow apple TV away. I still don't understand the lack of browser support on the apple tv.

If they don't take Apple TV out of hobby status ... they might as well shut it down.

I own an Apple TV as well, but I don't see any difference between the two other than the Goolgle TV has a native browser whereas I had to hack my AppleTV to add browsing. Also, even though I have an AppleTV, I must say in comparison to a Mac Mini or laptop, these devices stink. I hooked my Macbook Pro to my HDTV and not only do I have access to iTunes and the entire web(including Hulu), but i also can play DVDs and CDs and can perform all other computer related tasks(unlike either of these devices).
post #21 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

I like my AppleTV but with multiple hardware partners I can see Google very quickly gaining more market share than the AppleTV. Even if AppleTV adds a web browser and AppStore I don't think Apple has enough of a lead.

RIP AppleTV?

I believe the only thing that can save apple, in this TV market, is a subscription model with iTunes. If that happens Apple will be very strong ... perhaps stronger than google can ever be with the iTunes head start.
post #22 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sofabutt View Post

Finally Apple has some competition in this area. Hopefully it will stimulate some upgrades and enhancements to the Apple TV product.

Hopefully, this will spur Apple to get serious or get out of Apple TV altogether. My hope is they buy Netflix.

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

 

Get the lowdown on the coming collapse:  http://www.cbo.gov/publication/45010

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post #23 of 286
Google is becoming a ravenous rat.

the "Me Too" company.

pathetic.
post #24 of 286
doesn't look like a direct competitor to me.
post #25 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergsf View Post

I really don't want or need Google on my HDTV and home theater.

Agreed. Nor all the flood of these crappy media players, neither the apple tv can compete (functionality vise) with the Dune and Popcorn players anyway.
post #26 of 286
If I understand this correctly. They are not providing content, just a new way to access available content right? I guess if it runs Android, you may get some interesting subscription apps in time, as well as access to anything on the internet.

I'm still waiting for the device that can eliminate my cable bill. This sounds like a nice step forward though, flipping through channels to find what you're looking for isn't the best way to do things.
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post #27 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by davesw View Post

Google is becoming a ravenous rat.

the "Me Too" company.

pathetic.

I especially enjoyed how they acquired SimplifyMedia. Google can't do anything anymore except piggyback someone else's tech and buy startups. Does that sound familiar? God forbid that they can't manage to create their own media management solution.

I can't wait until they go the full route and allow Android users to run iPhone apps!
post #28 of 286
1. Buy El Gato
2. Integrate their cable/OTA hardware into Mac Mini Media Server w/HDMI
3. Upgrade Apple TV to 1080p, bigger on-board storage, enhanced Front Row
I got nothin'.
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post #29 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevetim View Post

As an Apple TV owner I can tell you this looks like it will blow apple TV away. I still don't understand the lack of browser support on the apple tv.

If they don't take Apple TV out of hobby status ... they might as well shut it down.

I watched the keynote and yes it does blow the Apple TV away. There is no need to hit input on your remote to switch to another input source. It works on the same source as your tv.

It's a seamless integration allow you to search basically search the entire internet while you are watching your tv and you can do this by typing in your query or just talking to it. It also integrates with the Android marketplace allowing you to purchase apps or run your purchased apps on your tv.

You can also pull up websites and since there is full support for flash you can watch Hulu, Clicker ... practically any website right on your tv. It looks very promising.

Now I'm excited to see what Apple is going to come up with to counter Google TV. You go to love competition.
post #30 of 286
Lots on questions...

- No mention of DVR so is it 'not for now' or 'not gonna go there'

- No mention of quality, 720p? 1080i, 1080p?

- No mention of Netflix and/or Hulu (by design or are they working on one/both of them)

- No mention of ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC or any of the cable channels who provide episodes.

It's gotta be something more than a 'Chrome Browser' in a set-top box or in my eyes it will no a non-starter and somewhere BELOW the existing AppleTV in appeal.

__UNLESS__

That is unless... this box an open platform that developers can deploy 'stations' (streaming apps) on to **and** if it supported 1080p with good audio support. Then it's an entirely different product and one that Apple will be KICKING themselves for not doing first.

I realize that Apple can only 'effectively' juggle so many 'major projects' at the same time but the Apple TV ___NEEDS___ an SDK and not the iPhone SDK as many are wishing for. The iPhone SDK is all about GESTURES the Apple TV is all about simple 'remote' navigation. Just think for a second how useless an iPhone or iPad app would be on an Apple TV.

Now what to do? Divide the talented develops at Apple between the iPhone and iPad and NOW the AppleTV or keep moving in the general direction of being 100% focused on the iPhone SDK platform. Oh and lets not forget ... Apple still has a COMPUTER OS it needs to maintain... However something tells me 10.7 is simmering on the WAY BACK back burner and the WWDC keynote agenda all but confirms that.

Dave
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post #31 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by ekeefe41 View Post

I don't understand how this is competition to AppleTV? AppleTV is an extension of iTunes to your TV where you can buy movies and TV shows. Google TV brings the web to your TV.
Is there even a web browser on AppleTV?

I know everyone is all jacked up looking for more Apple Vs Google fodder, but i don't think this new product really applies.

If I'm not mistaken, the demo showed a Netflix icon and Pandora, so you already have your streaming media right there.

You can run apps from the Market on GoogleTV and from the keynote on the Market, it looks like music and other media should be coming.

Add to that the demo where you can pick a searched show and play it from a number of online sources instead of being slaved to the cable box.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Lots on questions...

- No mention of DVR so is it 'not for now' or 'not gonna go there'

- No mention of quality, 720p? 1080i, 1080p?

- No mention of Netflix and/or Hulu (by design or are they working on one/both of them)

- No mention of ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC or any of the cable channels who provide episodes.

It's gotta be something more than a 'Chrome Browser' in a set-top box or in my eyes it will no a non-starter and somewhere BELOW the existing AppleTV in appeal.

[snip]

Dave

I'm assuming you just read the article instead of watching today's keynote. It answers a lot of your questions.

- From what I can tell, DVR is part of it.

- That is still an open question, as no real tech specs were given. Though I'm going to assume that it'll cover all ranges of the usual HD resolutions.

- Netflix and Hulu were shown on the screen during the demo, so we can safely say they're in on it.

- Wouldn't surprise me if the cable companies start pumping content to it. You can already access past episodes from their websites.
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post #32 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by Postulant View Post

I own an Apple TV as well, but I don't see any difference between the two other than the Goolgle TV has a native browser whereas I had to hack my AppleTV to add browsing. Also, even though I have an AppleTV, I must say in comparison to a Mac Mini or laptop, these devices stink. I hooked my Macbook Pro to my HDTV and not only do I have access to iTunes and the entire web(including Hulu), but i also can play DVDs and CDs and can perform all other computer related tasks(unlike either of these devices).

You know how people say an iPhone is the best because it just works, right out of the box? Well that applies here. People want a set-top box that just works. Nobody wants to have to hack their box just to add web browsing. And nobody wants to have to hook up their computer just to browse the web or stream a few clips. Having a browser built-in is gold. I really don't understand why Apple hasn't done that yet on Apple TV. It's the only thing keeping me from buying an Apple TV.
post #33 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevetim View Post

I believe the only thing that can save apple, in this TV market, is a subscription model with iTunes. If that happens Apple will be very strong ... perhaps stronger than google can ever be with the iTunes head start.

The problem is the TV networks and Hollywood are afraid of letting iTunes dominate. They saw what happened to the music labels. Apple might get a subscription deal, but they won't be allowed to be the only game in town. Consumers will have other options like Hulu, the BBC iPlayer, Netflixs, etc available on the GoogleTV.
post #34 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmf2 View Post

If I understand this correctly. They are not providing content, just a new way to access available content right? I guess if it runs Android, you may get some interesting subscription apps in time, as well as access to anything on the internet.

I'm still waiting for the device that can eliminate my cable bill. This sounds like a nice step forward though, flipping through channels to find what you're looking for isn't the best way to do things.

Google, unlike "un-boxeed" apple tv connect to hulu for the free content and amazon for iTunes like content, so they will have no trouble there. Wouldn't be surprised to see netflix added also. Google will go out and find all the free content that is available. Also, unlike apple tv they will play flash. Google has made it clear flash is a big part of the future for their device.
post #35 of 286
Google has finally done something better than Apple (other than copying). I'm definitely not pleased with Google's general rip off of Apple's iPhone OS with Android etc but on this one they have gone much further than Apple was willing to go and good on them. Apple's vision problem was that they wanted to keep AppleTV tied to iTunes and keep a closed shop. The result is that to really use AppleTV more fully you have to use something like aTV Flash or Boxee or Plex but all of those lack overall integration. IMO Google TV really does seem a lightyear ahead of that. The addition of non-phone specific android apps running on your tellie is a good one.

This isn't the death of Apple or any of that kind of non-sense, but in this particular niche Apple may not be able to catch up unless they're willing to open up AppleTV to let users outside the iTunes walled garden. I'm not sure Apple are eager to do that. But maybe they'll have a good think now if Google is able to attract a large enough market to pique Apple's interest. Otherwise I suspect Apple will turn to the iPad as their device to control tellies.

Boxee, Plex and my awful Sony PS3 as a media centre all seem dead to me.

I'm not sure Flash is that big a deal though, esp with the timeline Google laid out essentially making summer 2011 the real launch date. HTML 5 for streaming video is rapidly gathering steam as provider after provider is announcing HTML5 solutions. I think GoogleTV's strengths are elsewhere.
post #36 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by JupiterOne View Post

So......the keyboard just sits on the coffee table next to the remotes?

Use any smartphone as a remote?
post #37 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

The problem is the TV networks and Hollywood are afraid of letting iTunes dominate. They saw what happened to the music labels. Apple might get a subscription deal, but they won't be allowed to be the only game in town. Consumers will have other options like Hulu, the BBC iPlayer, Netflixs, etc available on the GoogleTV.

Unfortunately i agree with you here.
post #38 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by AsianBob View Post

Someone's got a chip on their shoulder...

The fact that Google has some big names onboard with them is a plus. There plenty of retail advertisment potential to get the name and concept out there. You can bet that Sony will plaster a GoogleTV sticker on the TVs they have on display. And they have a physical, nation-wide retailer (Best Buy) that everyone goes to.

We'll see whether or not this catches on...

Chip on shoulder? that is a cop out for a non-argument against someone who calls it like it is versus your personal bias.

Google TV has one good thing going for it. They want to partenr with cable companies and double as an STB. That is all. Apple really should have done this too, but they have their own ideas. I fail to see where anything in my previous post qualifies as inexplicable angst versus flatly stating facts and logically concluding motive. Google is flatly becoming "evil." They have been so all along, but now they are emerging from the shadows in broad daylight. What they have done is steal ideas from someone who they were partnered with at the director level. That is worse than bad.

Kirk out.

P.s. if those crayola looking google tv stickers show up on a classy sony tv, then i will buy a samsung.
post #39 of 286
no price announced yet! We have to wait and see.
post #40 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by 9secondko View Post

Chip on shoulder? that is a cop out for a non-argument against someone who calls it like it is versus your personal bias.

Google TV has one good thing going for it. They want to partenr with cable companies and double as an STB. That is all. Apple really should have done this too, but they have their own ideas. I fail to see where anything in my previous post qualifies as inexplicable angst versus flatly stating facts and logically concluding motive. Google is flatly becoming "evil." They have been so all along, but now they are emerging from the shadows in broad daylight. What they have done is steal ideas from someone who they were partnered with at the director level. That is worse than bad.

Kirk out.

Mmm, that chip's really dug in deep...

I never said that anything you said wasn't true. You clearly have just as much of a bias against Google if anything by the tone of your posts.

You can scream bloody murder all you want, but if this takes off, the general public's not really going to care that Google took the idea Apple had and went further with it.
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