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Deep hardware discounts suggest sluggish sales of Google TV

post #1 of 78
Thread Starter 
Sony's price slashing promotion for its new Blu-Ray Google TV appliance indicates additional trouble for the Android-based device, following a content blockade imposed by television broadcasters, a rash of unenthusiastic reviews, and the fragmentation issues endemic to Android.

Sony announced a promotional $100 price cut on its $399 Google TV device, an unusually deep discount for a brand new product, especially for Sony. While the company offered a variety of Black Friday discounts on other Blu-Ray products, none approached the 25 percent off fire sale of its new Google TV box.

Sony's combination Blu-Ray and Google TV device was just introduced last month, making the slashed price an indication that the devices weren't garnering much attention despite the media attention focused on Google TV and its use of Android. As TechCrunch observed, "this doesnt look so well for Googles living room takeover plans."

When Google TV goes bad

Google initially floated plans to line up licensees for its Google TV set top box in May, hoping to leverage its Android OS to deliver "an entertainment hub that searches all of your channels, recorded shows, YouTube, and other websites," as the company described at the time.

In a market where nobody has done very well, Google TV planned to leapfrog Apple's iTunes-tethered Apple TV device by offering an integrated web browser along with searchable cable TV in addition to Internet streaming content. Unlike Apple TV, Google currently has no iTunes equivalent to offer direct movie or TV digital downloads or rentals; it only supports streaming Netflix, Amazon and YouTube videos, as well as web-based content delivered via Adobe Flash and raw H.264.

The first few Google TV devices were met by prominent reviews characterizing it as a "geek product," with David Pogue of the New York Times complaining that it was "an enormous step in the wrong direction: toward complexity."

A second blow from the platform came from broadcasters, who as the Wall Street Journal reported in August, were "reluctant to partner with a service they believe encroaches on their turf."

That reluctance quickly turned into a full scale blockade of website traffic (via Flash or not) to Google TV from ABC, CBS, Fox, Hulu, NBC, and Viacom, dramatically narrowing the ability of Google TV buyers to use the device as it was originally advertised. The remaining features of the device put it in the category of Microsoft's beleaguered Media Center, but lacking that platform's integrated IPTV tuner and Tivo-like DVR playback features.

There's not currently an app for that

The other leg intended to prop up Google TV were custom Android apps targeted at HDTVs, but Google hasn't yet opened up an Android Market for its TV boxes, nor is its Google TV software development kit available yet. A few apps come bundled with the systems, including clients for Amazon, Netflix, and Pandora. Google also bundles its own Chrome web browser.

Google hasn't yet extended its Android Market beyond smartphones, not even to currently shipping Android tablets. In September, Google's director of mobile products Hugo Barra said "the way Android Market works is it's not going to be available on devices that don't allow applications to run correctly. Which devices do, and which don't will be unit specific, but [the current Android OS 2.2] Froyo is not optimized for use on tablets." Nor Google TV.

Barra added, "If you want Android Market on that platform, the apps just wouldn't run, [Froyo] is just not designed for that form factor. We want to make sure that we're going to create a application distribution mechanism for the Android market, to ensure our users have right experience."

Apple's chief executive Steve Jobs noted that fact when dismissing the "avalanche of tablets poised to enter the market," saying "nearly all of these tablets use Android. But even Google is saying don't use Froyo [the current release of Android OS], and instead to wait to use next years' version. What does it mean when a software maker says not to use their release and you use it anyway?"

Android fragmentation and Google TV

While Jobs didn't directly address Google TV as a product, he was critical of Android in general, stating that, "unlike Windows, where PCs have the same interface, Android is very fragmented. HTC and Motorola install proprietary user interfaces to differentiate themselves. The user left to figure it out."

Reviews of early Google TV offerings from Sony and Logitech have made similar observations on the fragmentation in the user interface that mirror Jobs' comments directed at Android smartphones and tablets.

Jobs also took issue with Google's Android Market policies, saying "there will be at least four app stores on Android which customers must search among to find the app they want and developers will have to work with. This will be a mess for users and developers. Contrast this with Apple's integrated app store. Has three times as many apps and offers developers one-stop shopping and [they] get paid swiftly."

In comments that apply broadly to Android's use in smartphones, tablets, and Google TV, Jobs added, "we think Android is very fragmented and becoming more fragmented by the day. We prefer integrated so the user doesn't have to be the systems integrator."

Android ads vs iOS paid apps

Apple hasn't yet announced any plans to open up a store for apps targeting Apple TV, choosing instead to revamp its offering at a lower $99 price point with a very simple interface and new AirPlay features that make the device more of a repeater for iTunes and iOS devices like the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, which can already target Apple TV with AirPlay streaming audio and video.

Beyond the TV, Apple's App Store is also differentiated from Android Market in that the primary business model for iOS involves paid apps; Google's Android apps are almost entirely ad-supported. In part, this is because Android makes it easy to steal games, erasing the business model that has resulted in a healthy market for iOS development on the iPhone and iPad.

Google is also primarily interested in using Android as a way to display ads, as opposed to Apple's business centered on selling hardware. When Rovio, the developer of the popular "Angry Birds" iOS game, brought its title to Android, it only offered it as an free ad-based title, noting "that is the Google way," in a tweet. It later added that while not all Android apps were free, "the ones with more than 50K downloads are We just hit 7M downloads on Android."

On the iOS platform, Angry Birds surpassed 10 million paid downloads as of the beginning of November. In total, the title had distributed 30 million paid and free versions across all platforms.
post #2 of 78
Wow, Android really seems to be a mess. Google is not Apple that is for sure. I know people get all worked up about Apple's so-called "closed" model, but I prefer it. As a customer I could not care less whether some developer has his titty in a philosophical wringer over open or closed software models or Apple's "big brother' approach. Just make me a product that works and don't make things complicated for the user. Oh thanks Apple, you did that. Google, you didn't.
post #3 of 78
Critics of Apple's "closed" system just refuse to accept that most folks do not want to deal with the hassles of what Android has to offer. The Joe-consumer has enough of that going on with dealing with the mess that is Windows. Android is going down the same path as Microsoft did in the 90's when the PC makers (HP, Compaq, etc..) installed Windows on their PC's but put their own front-end interface or tools to differentiate themselves. In the end, it was just one big mess.

Keep it simple for the consumer, make it work well, hide the systems layer, and put it in a polished, well-built box and you got a recipe for success. It still stuns me that the other players have not figured that out yet.
post #4 of 78
Are these out in the UK yet?

And are Sony advertising them on TV in the US?

If the GTV is being blocked by the networks would they still accept $$ from Sony to advertise it.
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post #5 of 78
Google is proving to be a giant "bag of hurt".
post #6 of 78
Not quite sure how Google TV relates to Iphone but ok.
post #7 of 78
I have only one principle concerning Google: I won't pay for its service. Never. Why should I? They'll get money from me anyway.
That would leave off GoogleTV and ChromeOS (Android is fine. I consider it's free) from my spending, ever.
post #8 of 78
I can't believe how a product can be designed so incredibly badly (from the reviews I have read). Didn't anyone stop and think "this remote control is just absurd"?

And on top of it all they designed it around an expensive platform from Intel (compared to the Apple ARM based platform). So what if it can do 90mbps H.264 decode, most online HD streams are under 10mbps and will remain at that for quite a few years.
post #9 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Deep hardware discounts suggest sluggish sales of Google TV

That seems to be the case. I wonder where GoogleTV will be this time next year. I say theyll either have to figure out how to make it useable (i.e: simplifying it) or it simply wont exist. Its sad, too, I thought Googles idea of accentuating the networks content was a decent plan, but between the OS, the HW, and the networks fighting against it I cant see how they can possibly win without starting over.

PS: I think this time next year the AppleTV will have an SDK.


Quote:
Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post

I have only one principle concerning Google: I won't pay for its service. Never. Why should I? They'll get money from me anyway.
That would leave off GoogleTV and ChromeOS (Android is fine. I consider it's free) from my spending, ever.

That is an interesting comment. Its hard to get someone to pay more for an item that has been branded so long as cheap. The major Japanese car companies suffered the same fate in the 80s. Maybe Google needs to offer a subsidy with a new name.
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post #10 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider

Beyond the TV, Apple's App Store is also differentiated from Android Market in that the primary business model for iOS involves paid apps; Google's Android apps are almost entirely ad-supported. In part, this is because Android makes it easy to steal games, erasing the business model that has resulted in a healthy market for iOS development on the iPhone and iPad.

Emphasis mine!

Does the author of this article have any facts or citations to back up this statement?

.
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post #11 of 78
I'm sure it's not intentional, but Android is a gift to Apple. Apple competes with HTC, Motorola, and the other OEMs that use Android. By providing those OEMs with a half-a$$ed OS strategy, Google has sabotaged them all in the long run. Google has also managed to divert those OEMs from Microsoft, a company that could actually provide a full-a$$ed OS strategy.

Eventually the OEMs will figure out that Android is not their salvation, and they'll reluctantly go crawling back to Microsoft and learn to accept that they must either eek out a low-margin existence or no existence at all.

But in the meantime, Apple will have established a very strong position in the market. We might end up in a situation where MS and Apple more or less split the market.
post #12 of 78
If Sony discounting a TV means Android must be suffering sluggish sales, what do the Apple black friday sales mean?

I mean, the two coincide, so why does the blogger differentiate between them so much?

An the whole "fragmentation" angle is pure bullshit, so it would be great if it could just be laid to rest.

Besides the fact that the different phone manufacturers put their "skins" on Android, and maybe bundle some of their own apps, Android basically exists in 3 different releases right now, and 95% percent of apps run across all platforms. Older phones might not run the most current, or poorly optimized games, etc. Very similar to iOS3 and iOS4. There are plenty of "iPad only" and "iOS 4 only" programs on the Apple platform, but nobody is screaming about fragmentation there.

Also, just a reminder that the INTERNET is about ten thousand times more fragmented than either of these platforms, and seems to be functioning fine and in no danger of going bankrupt or being discontinued. Talk about lots of different devices, programs, plugins, etc accessing it, take a deep breath, and stop the Android fragmentation hysteria already!
post #13 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hattig View Post

I can't believe how a product can be designed so incredibly badly (from the reviews I have read). Didn't anyone stop and think "this remote control is just absurd"?

And on top of it all they designed it around an expensive platform from Intel (compared to the Apple ARM based platform). So what if it can do 90mbps H.264 decode, most online HD streams are under 10mbps and will remain at that for quite a few years.

Sony in the dark ages in some respects. That stupid remote on the sony internet tv is just horrible. I was in my local sony style a few weeks ago and messed around with it. JUST NASTY. and no one even helped me out. I hate the customer service at sony style.
Now just look at the apple tv with ipad . I can stream all my content over and watch the internet to. Everything is easy and smart. Grandma can go into the Apple store, pick up the ipad and navigate with nary a problem. Well, almost none but you know what I mean.
post #14 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Superbass View Post

If Sony discounting a TV means Android must be suffering sluggish sales, what do the Apple black friday sales mean?

I mean, the two coincide, so why does the blogger differentiate between them so much?

I saw the Apple TV at 20% off at MacConnection. However, none of the other places had more than a token discount, so it appeared to be a MacConnection loss-leader. I guess the difference is whether there was massive discounting at all stores (which would indicate that Apple led the way) or one or two stores. In the case of the Apple TV, only one store that I know of had a significant discount. From the story, ALL Sony Google TVs are being heavily discounted. That's the difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Superbass View Post

An the whole "fragmentation" angle is pure bullshit, so it would be great if it could just be laid to rest.

It's BS because you don't like it? Sorry, that's simply your bias.

It's very real. Software developers are complaining about how hard it is to develop for Android. Users are complaining about the lack of consistent UI. And users are stuck using vastly different versions with no end in sight. My daughter bought a brand new Android phone model in June. It is running Android OS 1.5. They claim that some day it will run 2.1, but it's not available. There's no sign that it will run 2.2 - EVER.

Given that Android is playing catchup and using 2.2 features as selling points (Flash, anyone?), that inability to get current versions is a very real problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Superbass View Post

Besides the fact that the different phone manufacturers put their "skins" on Android, and maybe bundle some of their own apps, Android basically exists in 3 different releases right now, and 95% percent of apps run across all platforms. Older phones might not run the most current, or poorly optimized games, etc. Very similar to iOS3 and iOS4. There are plenty of "iPad only" and "iOS 4 only" programs on the Apple platform, but nobody is screaming about fragmentation there.

Also, just a reminder that the INTERNET is about ten thousand times more fragmented than either of these platforms, and seems to be functioning fine and in no danger of going bankrupt or being discontinued. Talk about lots of different devices, programs, plugins, etc accessing it, take a deep breath, and stop the Android fragmentation hysteria already!

Which merely demonstrates that you don't have a clue what you're talking about.

With the Internet, every browser has to be able to read and interpret the same commands. They're not perfect, but they're pretty good. There are very few things that one browser can read and another won't. There are almost NO things that a given hardware device can't access. A web page viewed on 5 different browsers will have slightly different appearance, but the content will be the same. And user interaction remains the same.

With Android, that's not even close to being true. Apps that run on one device won't even work on another. When switching from one device to another, you have to relearn the entire UI.
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post #15 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

Critics of Apple's "closed" system just refuse to accept that most folks do not want to deal with the hassles of what Android has to offer.

It is true that most folks do not buy an Android powered phone.

It is also true that a whole lot more people buy Android powered phones than iPhones.

Is there any explanation for that?
post #16 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Superbass View Post

If Sony discounting a TV means Android must be suffering sluggish sales, what do the Apple black friday sales mean?

!



The iPad saw deep discounts on Black Friday.
post #17 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by maccherry View Post

Grandma can go into the Apple store, pick up the ipad and navigate with nary a problem.



I only buy products that are suitable for use by elderly people.
post #18 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by 蘋果蘋果蘋果 View Post

The iPad saw deep discounts on Black Friday.

Where? I only saw their standard 10% discounts.
post #19 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by 蘋果蘋果蘋果 View Post

I only buy products that are suitable for use by elderly people.

Well, smart A, I believe his point is that apple attempts to put forward a product that is simple and intuitive to use. Not a mess that you have to learn how to use.
post #20 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by 蘋果蘋果蘋果 View Post

I only buy products that are suitable for use by elderly people.

That's not what he said. Nice try though.

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post #21 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

I'm sure it's not intentional, but Android is a gift to Apple. Apple competes with HTC, Motorola, and the other OEMs that use Android. By providing those OEMs with a half-a$$ed OS strategy, Google has sabotaged them all in the long run. Google has also managed to divert those OEMs from Microsoft, a company that could actually provide a full-a$$ed OS strategy.

Eventually the OEMs will figure out that Android is not their salvation, and they'll reluctantly go crawling back to Microsoft and learn to accept that they must either eek out a low-margin existence or no existence at all.

But in the meantime, Apple will have established a very strong position in the market. We might end up in a situation where MS and Apple more or less split the market.

Just a reminder: Android is the fastest growing OS.
post #22 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by 蘋果蘋果蘋果 View Post

It is true that most folks do not buy an Android powered phone.

It is also true that a whole lot more people buy Android powered phones than iPhones.

Is there any explanation for that?

It's also true that phone models with Android outnumber the 4 models running iOS. Besides, how many people are deliberately buying an Android phone as opposed to the model being offered from a manufacturer they like? Is Android the brand or is the phone model?
post #23 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjw View Post

Just a reminder: Android is the fastest growing OS.

Just barely beating one phone from one company. That was bound to happen sooner or later so? Windows was also fastest grwoing OS i just don't see how it's relevant to the quality and ease of use.

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post #24 of 78
Let's just get this straight:

Google TV suffers because one of the major selling points in that you can catch up with shows online is being crippled by the networks. This is a complete joke and is another example of how industries hate change. It is only a matter of time until google tv is built into TV sets, then we will see how successful it really is.

Compared to apple tv at least google tv is something revolutionary. I live in the UK and there are so many services that offer the same as Apple TV without the drawbacks of the closed eco system.
post #25 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjw View Post

Let's just get this straight:

Google TV suffers because one of the major selling points in that you can catch up with shows online is being crippled by the networks. This is a complete joke and is another example of how industries hate change. It is only a matter of time until google tv is built into TV sets, then we will see how successful it really is.

Compared to apple tv at least google tv is something revolutionary. I live in the UK and there are so many services that offer the same as Apple TV without the drawbacks of the closed eco system.

Right, except for some of us, a nice selling point of the AppleTV is its integration with all the other Apple products one might own...I like being able to stream music or movies from my computer in the office to my TV. The price point's pretty slick too, I didn't have a difficult time justifying it. I will agree wholeheartedly that the content catalogue is lacking, but I'm planning on it being a hackable toy. I would have agreed with you that the Google TV was revolutionary, except it has no content. Google should have planned ahead instead of letting their early adopters get screwed. Why the heck would Google TV be built into TV sets so we can 'see how successful it really is' if it's currently a flop? Maybe Google TV 2.0, with some contracts with the big networks, but who'd spend the extra money with how it is right now? Your point makes little sense.
post #26 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjw View Post


Compared to apple tv at least google tv is something revolutionary.

Oh come on.

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post #27 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Emphasis mine!

Does the author of this article have any facts or citations to back up this statement?

.

The article I'm linking below is from June, but the system is simple. Root your phone, buy an app, back it up, hit the market for your refund, reinstall the backup. Voila, app gotten for free. This has been well documented for quite awhile now.

http://kbeezie.com/view/steal-market-app/
post #28 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

From the story, ALL Sony Google TVs are being heavily discounted. That's the difference.

If you read the fine print on the discounts, it says something along the lines of "offer good until November 29". As far as I can tell, it's a Black Friday sale.
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post #29 of 78
Let's accept for the moment that the Google TV 1.0 implementation is seriously flawed. But that is entirely (mostly?) a software issue. What Google TV has done, though, (and many Blu Ray players and game systems) is make mainstream the notion of having a computer built into TVs - a computer in the living room. Microsoft tried this with Web TV and failed. Maybe they were too far ahead of their time (not enough broadband penetration? TVs not good enough resolution?). Maybe their implementation sucked. Probably both.

But now, many people have broadband, the cost of CPUs etc. for a viable rich-media system is low enough, and so many people have smart phones & multiple computers at home that making the TV just another node on your home network is a real thing. Roku, Apple TV, TiVO et al. are stand-alone stepping stones, but soon we'll see TVs with network connectivity built in as a "must have" rather than a "high end" option.

I hope the current Google TV has a serious UI overhaul and has the CPU power to remain viable for several years. Or, it could turn out like Android phones - manufacturers will abandon the early versions in favor of pushing new iterations of hardware. I think that is more likely. Why fix what you've already sold when you can sell a new one?

- Jasen.
post #30 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasenj1 View Post

Why fix what you've already sold when you can sell a new one?

- Jasen.

That, I think, is my biggest issue with Android, and why I probably will not buy one in the near future. It's not fully Google's fault, necessarily, but I want longevity.
post #31 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Povilas View Post

Oh come on.

constructive thanks
post #32 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

I'm sure it's not intentional, but Android is a gift to Apple. Apple competes with HTC, Motorola, and the other OEMs that use Android. By providing those OEMs with a half-a$$ed OS strategy, Google has sabotaged them all in the long run. Google has also managed to divert those OEMs from Microsoft, a company that could actually provide a full-a$$ed OS strategy.

Eventually the OEMs will figure out that Android is not their salvation, and they'll reluctantly go crawling back to Microsoft and learn to accept that they must either eek out a low-margin existence or no existence at all.

But in the meantime, Apple will have established a very strong position in the market. We might end up in a situation where MS and Apple more or less split the market.

'half-assed'? for the short time it has been in play android is working very well. the half assed part comes from the hardware makers who are being stupid. android 2.2 is very nice and it is going to get even better. i wouldnt' call it a 'gift' to apple....
post #33 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by maccherry View Post

Sony in the dark ages in some respects. That stupid remote on the sony internet tv is just horrible. I was in my local sony style a few weeks ago and messed around with it. JUST NASTY. and no one even helped me out. I hate the customer service at sony style.

Sony is on a roll these days - downhill. Their remotes generally have always been bad. I have a Sony TV and the remote is just alien. The button locations and even their names make little sense. The Xross menu system is not all that great either. The perceived greatness of Sony consumer products is now a fallacy.
post #34 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasenj1 View Post

... What Google TV has done, though, (and many Blu Ray players and game systems) is make mainstream the notion of having a computer built into TVs - a computer in the living room. Microsoft tried this with Web TV and failed. ...

But that's precisely the point.
There is zero indication amongst the general market that there is any interest whatsoever in turning the passive and generally shared living room experience of watching content into a computer browsing experience.
There is indeed a small segment of single geeks for whom that model may be attractive. But any family with multiple people is barely able to survive 'channel clicking wars' with a simple remote, let alone the nightmare of one person browsing as everyone else has to watch.

Its a flawed model.
post #35 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjw View Post

... Compared to apple tv at least google tv is something revolutionary. ...

The only thing revolutionary about Google TV is that now Google can track you in your living room and collect information they previously had no access to. Why anyone would buy a Google telescreen to enable this is a bit of a mystery.
post #36 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by 蘋果蘋果蘋果 View Post

I only buy products that are suitable for use by elderly people.

蘋果蘋果蘋果 = Apple Apple Apple

or...appl
or... bill-G
or... steve-J


Therefore, just the return of a sad troll.
post #37 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

But that's precisely the point.
There is zero indication amongst the general market that there is any interest whatsoever in turning the passive and generally shared living room experience of watching content into a computer browsing experience.
There is indeed a small segment of single geeks for whom that model may be attractive. But any family with multiple people is barely able to survive 'channel clicking wars' with a simple remote, let alone the nightmare of one person browsing as everyone else has to watch.

Its a flawed model.

Spot on.
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post #38 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

But that's precisely the point.
There is zero indication amongst the general market that there is any interest whatsoever in turning the passive and generally shared living room experience of watching content into a computer browsing experience.
There is indeed a small segment of single geeks for whom that model may be attractive. But any family with multiple people is barely able to survive 'channel clicking wars' with a simple remote, let alone the nightmare of one person browsing as everyone else has to watch.

Its a flawed model.

i thought apple was famous for not giving a damn what the general populations interest were?
the henry ford quote comes to mind too.
i agree that the general population and the apple crowd aren't ready for the complexities of dealing with tv as computer. if it ain't along the lines of a playskool toy then forget it, over their heads.
post #39 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

But that's precisely the point.
There is zero indication amongst the general market that there is any interest whatsoever in turning the passive and generally shared living room experience of watching content into a computer browsing experience.
There is indeed a small segment of single geeks for whom that model may be attractive. But any family with multiple people is barely able to survive 'channel clicking wars' with a simple remote, let alone the nightmare of one person browsing as everyone else has to watch.

Its a flawed model.

Quote:
Originally Posted by screamingfist View Post

i thought apple was famous for not giving a damn what the general populations interest were?
the henry ford quote comes to mind too.
i agree that the general population and the apple crowd aren't ready for the complexities of dealing with tv as computer. if it ain't along the lines of a playskool toy then forget it, over their heads.

I don't think you understood his point. It's not that people are stupid, it's that there is no practical way to manage the needs of 3 or four people in one room with one computer on the TV. It's not a solvable problem.
post #40 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by WelshDog View Post

I don't think you understood his point. It's not that people are stupid, it's that there is no practical way to manage the needs of 3 or four people in one room with one computer on the TV. It's not a solvable problem.

that makes no sense at all. if that is true then the tv would have failed long ago, yet, most manage with the remote, most buy dvd players, xbox, ps3 etc, etc, etc,
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