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Reviewers find Google's answer to Apple TV chaotic, complicated

post #1 of 108
Thread Starter 
The New York Times review of Google TV takes issue with its complexity, calling it a step in "the wrong direction," while The Wall Street Journal says it "missed the mark."

The New York Times

In his review of the new Google TV platform, David Pogue of The New York Times called it "an enormous step in the wrong direction: toward complexity." As an example of the overcomplexity of Google TV, Pogue cited the remote that accompanies Sony's Google TV-enabled 46-inch TV set, which has dozens of buttons, including a full QWERTY keyboard. Other setups require both a keyboard and a mouse.

The resulting interface frustrated the reviewer. "The problem with Googles open approach, of course, is that it breeds inconsistency and chaos," said Pogue. For instance, Sony's remote had two "OK" buttons, but each worked "only sometimes."

Pogue asserts that the platform is "not for average people," though he admits that technophiles and tech-heads might find it interesting. For Pogue, the premise of Google TV, which aims to bring the full internet onto the TV set, is flawed. According to him, when the masses sit down at the TV, they want to be passive with brains turned off, not actively surfing the web.

The reviewer was also disappointed by the fact that major TV networks and Hulu block the Google TV Chrome browser from playing videos on their websites. Users are used to long load times, "missing plug-in" errors, and choppy videos on the Web, "but do we really want to pay hundreds of dollars to bring this sort of flakiness to our TV sets?" Pogue asked.

The Wall Street Journal

Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal categorized Google TV as "a geek product," rather than a mainstream solution. "Its too complicated," said Mossberg, adding that "some of its functions fall short."

Though the Google TV is built around search functionality, Mossberg found the searching-and-viewing process "frustrating." Mossberg also discovered that Google TV doesn't yet support Apple's QuickTime format, further undermining Google's claims that the platform supports the "whole internet." Google says QuickTime will eventually be supported in a future release.

Mossberg was also frustrated by having to switch back and forth between his cable box and Google TV, which only supports search and record functions for Dish Network boxes. He found the Google TV homescreen confusing, with categories that overlap like Queue and Bookmarks or Spotlight and Applications.

According to Mossberg, Google's attempt to integrate Web video and regular TV is a "smart move," but, as a "1.0 product," Google TV needs time to improve.

A step backward or in the wrong direction

The Times review runs counter to comments from Intel CEO Paul Otellini, who criticized the new Apple TV as overly simple. In September, Intel CEO Paul Otellini called Apple's new cloud-centric Apple TV a "step backward" because it didn't have the "full internet" like the Google TV. However, based on early reviews of Google TV, it appears that Google's 'steps' toward complexity haven't paid off.

After years of underwhelming sales of the device, Apple updated the Apple TV with a focus on streaming media in September, dropping the price to $99. Alongside the revamped set top box, the Cupertino, Calif., company introduced 99-cent iTunes rentals of TV shows from Fox and ABC.

The change seems to have worked for Apple. Chief Executive Steve Jobs announced in October that the newly launched Apple TV had sold 250,000 units. "We're thrilled with that," said Jobs.
post #2 of 108
AppleTV being an iOS device only means it will get better and better with support for games and apps. GoogleTV may fade away.
post #3 of 108
Ouch! Two words google!

User interface.
post #4 of 108
the whole web?
I hate that tired talking point.
Google tv sucks as well as that crap by Sony. I played with the Sony internet tv and it is not only confusing to use but down right stupid. I have the net on my iphone, ipad and my AL macbook 1st generation. I don't need to surf the damn web while watching tv.
Apple tv is all about your content. Period.And when the apps for the Apple tv start rolling in Google tv will get its a** kicked!
post #5 of 108
Buahahaha so much for the Apple TV killer!
But seriously, TV should be left just for media and not for the internet in my opinion.
post #6 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTel View Post

AppleTV being an iOS device only means it will get better and better with support for games and apps..

But you can say the same thing about Google TV being an Android device only means it will get better and better with support for games and apps..
post #7 of 108
Hey, is anyone going to bitch out Josh Ong for being so obviously one-sided in his reviews for Google TV? I mean he is being too pro-Apple in presenting these poor reviews of GTV, no?
post #8 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

But you can say the same thing about Google TV being an Android device only means it will get better and better with support for games and apps..

But since "Google TV" isn't actually a device but a service and software stack, and because manufacturers are free to implement those services and software any way they like, there won't be an actual "Google TV" installed user base to write apps and games for.

If your satellite box uses GT in some flavor but forgoes the complex keyboard-like remote in favor of the satellite providers remote, and Sony does their insane Sony thing, and Samsung tries something else that suits their style (and I shudder to think, having endured their TV "internet" interfaces), and that bargain-bin Blu-ray player (now with Google TV!) just sort of throws whatever remote they had around in the box, how can developers write to a knowable interface?

It's like the fragmentation issue with Android phones, but much, much worse, since there's not even the general idea of a handset to keep licensees sort of in the same ballpark.
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post #9 of 108
Nobody is providing "answers" to anybody, and most certainly not to Apple and their Apple TV. Everyone is trying to keep up with the iPod, then the iPhone and now the iPad, but no one, not even Apple, has an answer for Apple TV.

Apple TV is boring and unnecessary. Google TV is profoundly unrefined. To be totally frank, pretty much all of these boxes/capabilities suck at this point in time. None of them have caught on with consumers in any meaningful way. Not even close. No one's playing catch up to anybody because every product released thus far has failed to make any semblance of a game-changing impact. Hell, forget impact...none of them have even been simply "kinda good" yet.

Boxee Box "may" (haven't experienced it yet to say anything with confidence) be a worthwhile "kinda good" option for users with large media libraries wanting to stream from a computer to a TV as it'll play nearly anything, but I don't have high hopes at all for it after the incredibly underwhelming Apple TV and Google TV products. None of these manufacturers seem to understand what needs to be happening with media on a TV yet. Either that or the content is so locked up in a fight between countless players that it'll be years before anyone has a chance of putting out a product that gets the organization and user experience right.

There's nothing really horrible about Apple TV, but given it's limited functionality, even at $99, it begs the question, "why do I need this?" It's the only Apple product that is, well, in my opinion, how should I say this...wholly unnecessary? Wasteful? Laughable? Utterly forgettable?

Everyone keeps talking Airplay. I give it a year before it's forgotten. It's simply an inefficient method for viewing media on a TV. iPod and iPhone users will be the first to forget it when it drains their batteries faster than ever. iPad users will get over the novelty soon after despite suffering less battery woes.

I can't wait for the next step in home media consumption to become a bit more concrete, but going off of the latest offerings, it's still a long ways off. It'll be tinkerers only until someone comes along and puts out a truly revolutionary product. No one has come even remotely close to doing so yet.
post #10 of 108
How are they even comparable?? One allows you to use the web on your tv, the other encourages you to spend more money on itunes and stream stuff from your iOS devices (something that is completely unnecessary if they just built DLNA into they handsets).

They are two completely different products. All the "competition" is down to press hyping them up against each other.
post #11 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

But since "Google TV" isn't actually a device but a service and software stack, and because manufacturers are free to implement those services and software any way they like, there won't be an actual "Google TV" installed user base to write apps and games for.

If your satellite box uses GT in some flavor but forgoes the complex keyboard-like remote in favor of the satellite providers remote, and Sony does their insane Sony thing, and Samsung tries something else that suits their style (and I shudder to think, having endured their TV "internet" interfaces), and that bargain-bin Blu-ray player (now with Google TV!) just sort of throws whatever remote they had around in the box, how can developers write to a knowable interface?

It's like the fragmentation issue with Android phones, but much, much worse, since there's not even the general idea of a handset to keep licensees sort of in the same ballpark.

This is not the issue you're making it out to be. If only...

It might have hope of being cool if this was actually the real issue. Google TV simply doesn't work well right now. You can get to know the Sony control easily enough (despite all it's blatant shortcomings) and the Revue as well, but it doesn't change the fact that what you're controlling simply doesn't work well. The software is a disorganized, non-functional mess.
post #12 of 108
I think I have just figured out how to best summarize my thoughts on Apple TV.

Apple TV is as groundbreaking and necessary as this recent Apple product:

http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC...co=MTY3ODQ5OTY

(If you must be that guy living the perfect little iLife to the max, you might end up buying an Apple TV. Everyone else will give it a glance at most and move on.)
post #13 of 108
Calling GTV "Google's answer to Apple TV" is just bloody stupid.

Calling it "Google's answer to Boxee" would be closer but calling it "Google's answer to viewing the web on your TV" would be closest.

I understand the need to link articles with Apple in order to post them on AI... but there's no need to be so stupid about it.

I propose a week of honest article names on AI! It doesn't matter if you can't mention Apple, just be honest. For this article I suggest:

David Pogue and Walter Mossberg think Google TV is shit...
and we think it's funny because Google stole Apple's iPhone ideas
post #14 of 108
And wait until you try to get tech support or customer service from Google... you'll be totally out of luck, because it's completely nonexistent.
post #15 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by gcom006 View Post

Nobody is providing "answers" to anybody, and most certainly not to Apple and their Apple TV.
...
I can't wait for the next step in home media consumption to become a bit more concrete, but going off of the latest offerings, it's still a long ways off. It'll be tinkerers only until someone comes along and puts out a truly revolutionary product. No one has come even remotely close to doing so yet.

Exactly.

Whilst the companies that can create the technology side don't have full access to the content it's not going to happen though.
post #16 of 108
...favorably to the Roku XDS. I own both, and the Roku has the most content (and is adding content the fastest), the best "make a channel" kit (and it's open source), and it has by *far* the best hardware, leaving the AppleTV in the dust. Even beyond the far superior hardware connectivity, it does things like support 1080p and 540p, not just 720p, and it can properly deal with HDMI to DVI. From composite to component through the entire range of progressive scan modes, analog and digital (Toslink) audio... it's clearly Roku, baby. Apple pulled a total fail this time.

When there's a competitive Google/android hardware offering at $99, I'll be very interested to take a look. Until then, they're not even in the running.
post #17 of 108
Why is tech getting more complicated when it's supposed to make our lives easier? Everyone's fawning all over these new new new ideas but no content content content.

It's amazing, you make this TV show or movie, it's in digital format, it should be just one step from that to watching on whatever device you want. It's like a Zerg infestation complicating that simple, basic one step. All these DRM, rules, rights, regions, devices, protocols, manufacturers, systems... RIDICULOUS.
post #18 of 108
The most important thing here is that Google brought its sh*t to market in time for the lucrative holiday shopping season, to create a semblance of keeping up with Apple. Oh, how Google shareholders would bitch and moan if this hadn't happened. They are like Microsoft shareholders: looking at specs, not caring about design, and hoping/expecting it to be profitable. In contrast, Apple focuses on overall design, and the profits follow naturally.
post #19 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

David Pogue and Walter Mossberg think Google TV is shit...
and we think it's funny because Google stole Apple's iPhone ideas

But as with everything, the "magic sauce" lies in the execution and specific implementation, rather than the vague idea.

And Google's implementation of Apple's ideas looks absolutely appauling.

Fortunately, that's why IMPLEMENTATIONS are patentable, and not IDEAS. (I guess the stupid USPTO needs reminding of that though).
post #20 of 108
Many people who dismissed AppleTV have obviously never used it.

There is a ton of valuable professional content for Free on AppleTV from iTunes.
* AppleTV provides multi-zone AV features that normally costs thousands elsewhere.
* iTunes University includes entire semesters of classes from the best universities in the US.
* US cable news and international news for free and on demand.
* Cable talk shows on politics and education and comedies for free and on demand.
* Lots children programs on demand and for free
* Tons of internet radio stations from all over the world.
* Actually all the major content providers from around the world are there for free.


What's may be next for AppleTV?
* AppleTV may replace your cable box regardless of your provider/country using Apple HLS
* AppleTV may provide controlled applications for providers like NetFlix, Verizon, AT&T etc...
* AppleTV may provide cloud based DVR functionality.

People are now discovering AppleTV and there is no stopping it. It's gonna be a big winner when combined with iADs and iTunes. Note that AppleTV is now a best seller on Amazon along side the other best selling Apple products.

Time will tell.
post #21 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by fyngyrz View Post

...favorably to the Roku XDS. I own both, and the Roku has the most content (and is adding content the fastest), the best "make a channel" kit (and it's open source), and it has by *far* the best hardware, leaving the AppleTV in the dust. Even beyond the far superior hardware connectivity, it does things like support 1080p and 540p, not just 720p, and it can properly deal with HDMI to DVI. From composite to component through the entire range of progressive scan modes, analog and digital (Toslink) audio... it's clearly Roku, baby. Apple pulled a total fail this time.

When there's a competitive Google/android hardware offering at $99, I'll be very interested to take a look. Until then, they're not even in the running.

But in my experience with the Roku, which I like...it has a terrible flaw: it saturates my network and makes it impossible to do anything else on it, like surf on my iPad while watching Netflix. Whereas the Apple TV has no such issues while watching the same movie on Netflix.
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post #22 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by fyngyrz View Post

When there's a competitive Google/android hardware offering at $99, I'll be very interested to take a look. Until then, they're not even in the running.

For all the spying without consent, lackadaisical control over 3rd party spying, and advertising Google does, GTV should be free, but even that's too expensive for me.
post #23 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post

Many people who dismissed AppleTV have obviously never used it.

There is a ton of valuable professional content for Free on AppleTV from iTunes.
* AppleTV provides multi-zone AV features that normally costs thousands elsewhere.
* iTunes University includes entire semesters of classes from the best universities in the US.
* US cable news and international news for free and on demand.
* Cable talk shows on politics and education and comedies for free and on demand.
* Lots children programs on demand and for free
* Tons of internet radio stations from all over the world.
* Actually all the major content providers from around the world are there for free.


What's may be next for AppleTV?
* AppleTV may replace your cable box regardless of your provider/country using Apple HLS
* AppleTV may provide controlled applications for providers like NetFlix, Verizon, AT&T etc...
* AppleTV may provide cloud based DVR functionality.

People are now discovering AppleTV and there is no stopping it. It's gonna be a big winner when combined with iADs and iTunes. Note that AppleTV is now a best seller on Amazon along side the other best selling Apple products.

Time will tell.

A good post. iTunes University is plenty good, just started looking around, but appears that it has some good scientific content, and the way its presented online is clear and well thought out.
I don't have Apple TV as I live in Australia, not sure whats available, hard to get answers from the people in the Apple shop.
I agree with you, there is a pent-up demand for Apple TV, which will only grow stronger, only Apple has the nous (proven countless times) to get this right, I don't doubt they will.
We certainly live in a most interesting time thats for sure.
post #24 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Users are used to long load times, "missing plug-in" errors, and choppy videos on the Web, ]



Huh? Maybe 5 years ago. These days, videos load almost instantly and play smoothly. Missing Plug-in errors? Huh?
post #25 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by maccherry View Post

Apple tv is all about your content. Period.And when the apps for the Apple tv start rolling in Google tv will get its a** kicked!

Apple TV is not about apps.

Apple tv is all about your content. Period
post #26 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post


I propose a week of honest article names on AI! It doesn't matter if you can't mention Apple, just be honest. For this article I suggest:

David Pogue and Walter Mossberg think Google TV is shit...
and we think it's funny because Google stole Apple's iPhone ideas



Love it!!!!!!
post #27 of 108
Fundamentally, I don't know if I want an intelligent TV, I think the external box is a better solution, I don't want to have to go through 2 or more interfaces to watch TV. How fast is the channel switching? Can I surf the web in PIP and watch the football game on my Digital Cable box or Satellite box.

What if I get tired of using Google and want something else? I don't know if I want a TV with an Android OS when I can plug my laptop, xbox360, blu-ray player into my 60 inch one I have now.
post #28 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post

Many people who dismissed AppleTV have obviously never used it.

There is a ton of valuable professional content for Free on AppleTV from iTunes.
* AppleTV provides multi-zone AV features that normally costs thousands elsewhere.
* iTunes University includes entire semesters of classes from the best universities in the US.
* US cable news and international news for free and on demand.
* Cable talk shows on politics and education and comedies for free and on demand.
* Lots children programs on demand and for free
* Tons of internet radio stations from all over the world.
* Actually all the major content providers from around the world are there for free.



Can you surf through all that? Or do you need to scroll and scroll and scroll through lists of text?
post #29 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Core2 View Post

Fundamentally, I don't know if I want an intelligent TV, I think the external box is a better solution, I don't want to have to go through 2 or more interfaces to watch TV. How fast is the channel switching? Can I surf the web in PIP and watch the football game on my Digital Cable box or Satellite box.

What if I get tired of using Google and want something else? I don't know if I want a TV with an Android OS when I can plug my laptop, xbox360, blu-ray player into my 60 inch one I have now.

That sounds exactly like the Logitech Revue w/ Google TV.
post #30 of 108
Thanks AS007 - didn't know most of that.
post #31 of 108
I like the Logitech Revue better. I just switched the user agent and now I can watch all the programming except ABC and Hulu. Also with the Sony TV you have to use that big ugly remote. With the Revue you have 4 options.

- Included Keyboard
- Mini Controller
- Mobile device (iOS/Android)
- Any Harmony Remote
post #32 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Core2 View Post

Can I surf the web in PIP and watch the football game on my Digital Cable box or Satellite box.



Of course you can (depending on the TV set). That's the real killer capability: You can look stuff up while watching TV.

Hey - where did we see that actor before? Call up IMDB. Watching the local news and wondering about the big storm brewing near the vacation house? Call up the remote weather website in a window during the commercial. Sports stats? Live real-time commentary from your favorite blogger? Like those Apple keynotes, but for all sorts of events?

As of now, folks watch TV with an iPad on thier laps for these sorts of things.
post #33 of 108
Well, it's no surprise that the reviewers think GTV sucks. Google has no taste and has never demonstrated any talent in UI design. It wouldn't even be newsworthy except as an example of Google's latest consumer spyware, very telescreeny.
post #34 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by gcom006 View Post

I think I have just figured out how to best summarize my thoughts on Apple TV.

Apple TV is as groundbreaking and necessary as this recent Apple product:

http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC...co=MTY3ODQ5OTY

(If you must be that guy living the perfect little iLife to the max, you might end up buying an Apple TV. Everyone else will give it a glance at most and move on.)

Considering thst it comes with 6 eneloop batteries at that price, that's actually a deceptively good product at an excellent price point you link to there. I've done my research so I know. Apple's products are like a brainy supermodel. A casual observer can make a lot of wrong assumptions about what's beyond the skin.
post #35 of 108
This is just how Google does things.... They cobble a bunch of stuff together. Barly get it to work and release it as a product. After several revisions, it starts to be stable and intutive. Then they come out with an update that add a couple of cool new features, but breaks a bunch of stuff that that was working to start with....

Google obviously has some talanted designers.... The just need a few more engineers and product managers to clean up the crap from the designers so that it is a main stream product....

It is just my opinion of course....
post #36 of 108
Another Apple killer bites the dust!

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post #37 of 108
Nothing like summarizing bad reviews of Apple alternatives to get the fanbois all fired up. It's almost too easy...
post #38 of 108
Google's entire foray into tech beyond search, has been "chaotic, complicated" in general. So no surprise here. Google aint Apple, folks.
post #39 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post

Many people who dismissed AppleTV have obviously never used it.

There is a ton of valuable professional content for Free on AppleTV from iTunes.
* AppleTV provides multi-zone AV features that normally costs thousands elsewhere.
* iTunes University includes entire semesters of classes from the best universities in the US.
* US cable news and international news for free and on demand.
* Cable talk shows on politics and education and comedies for free and on demand.
* Lots children programs on demand and for free
* Tons of internet radio stations from all over the world.
* Actually all the major content providers from around the world are there for free.

I have an AppleTV, and I'm not sure how to get to half of that stuff. How do I do it? I know it has my iTunes library on there and photos, and surfing the movies and tv store is obvious, but how do I get to radio stations and the free kids stuff, news, etc.

BTW, I really enjoy the ATV. The interface is nice, the movies are very crisp -- even the SD movies look amazing on the HD set, unlike the SD movies that get pushed through the cable box.

Prices are about equal to other places. I like the Tomato Meter and Reviews, though wish I could see more of them (you only see the top 3 or 4, and only the first line or two of the reviews).

My wife and I were enjoying some YouTube content the other day. We like the screen saver that shows our photos.

To rent from iTunes I was looking at a $50 adapter to connect the MBP to the tv. That was when I realized that for $50 more I could have a dedicated box. So far, I'm glad I did it. Partly because I know they'll keep improving.
post #40 of 108
that is how Google does it...

Apple is simple.
Google is complex.

Apple is for the consumer.
Google is for the nerds.

Just an example... I've tried to explain Google Voice to my parents several times, and they still don't know what it is.
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