I have, been thinking about GTV quite a bit.
I reviewed the announcement, and watched the videos (those that are available)*
* I had to laugh! In one demo they made a big deal about playing a video on your Android smart phone and passing
that video from the phone to the GTV, in just a few seconds.
Wow! All right... they passed the URL of a YouTube video to the GTV, which, then played it! They're just sooo clever!
For all practical purposes, GTV is offering an Aggregator that includes:
-- a STB that runs Android OS and overlays the TV signal
-- a, yet unseen, remote (kb, pointer?)
-- an IR Blaster to control the other STBs
They say that the capability will be built-in on the next Sony TV. But, very few people will buy a New Sony TV just to get GTV... that leaves the GTV STB (and friends).
So, by adding the GTV STB as the last connection between cable box, DVR, whatever, GTV can overlay web and Android capability on top of all the other STBs' outputs.
And, the IR Blaster can be used to schedule/select/control/play content from the other STBs, as well as the TV (I suspect that AppleTV could be
just another STB to GTV).
By doing it this way, GTV, takes control of all components of your Home Theater, as opposed to being just another STB, among many, connected to a separate video source on the TV.
That's a pretty good solution:
-- everything connects to the GTV STB
-- the GTV STB connects to the TV
-- GTV controls them all
We have a Sony Bravia with the following sources (STBs, etc.)
-- OTA TV
-- DVD/VCR *
-- Cable Box (just switched from Comcast to ATT U-verse)
-- AppleTV (streamed from a Mac Mini media library with 2 2TB external HDDs)
-- Mac Mini (web, EyeTV)
* Yes, occasionally, we need to watch a VCR tape (those things just won't die).
I don't know if the GTV STB / IR Blaster can control all of that but it does add a kinda'
integrated web experience.
A few questions:
-- how much will it cost?
-- purchase or subscription?
-- how many sources can be plugged into the STB?
-- how varied can the sources be?
-- what happens if i need other sources not supported by the GTV STB and IR Blaster?
An aggregator begins to lose appeal if it can't aggregate everything.
This is a key point!
If an Aggregator can't aggregate everything, the things it can't aggregate remain as separate sources plugged into the TV. The only way to access these, is for the Aggregator to switch the TV to another source, thus GTV gives up control.
-- likely, you will need other remotes for these other sources
-- there is no control or communication between GTV and these non-aggregated devices: GTV doesn't know what's on EyeTV, or how to schedule it.
-- it becomes kludgey to go back and forth between Aggregator and non-aggregated devices.
I guess we'll still need a coffee table full of remotes (or issue a tool belt to each family member
The whole experience begins to tarnish, to degrade into what we have today... Except now, we have another [specialty] STB and another remote control.
My AppleTV or Mac Mini (or any other STB) could be upgraded to add an IR Blaster and remote. That STB, then would become the "First among Equals" source
plugged into the TV. Conceivably, this could deliver a better UX than an Aggregator that doesn't really aggregate everything.
And then there's the remote... yes the remote!
From what I saw in the GTV videos, they had several people running remotes (sometimes concurrently), and I believe they were using an iPad as a story-board for the demo.
I saw a BT keyboard and several Android smart phones being used as remotes.
An iPod Touch or a iPad would be a better solution than what they showed.
But, consider this: just as few will buy a new Sony TV to get GTV, few will buy an expensive remote to control GTV...
Sure, they'll use an Android smart phone if they have one, and it's handy.
The GTV system needs to include
an inexpensive, intuitive, comfortable, hand-held (one hand) combination kb pointer device.
What's that going to look like?
The more I think about GTV, the less appeal it has to me... It seems like a half-baked solution, not ready for prime time!