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

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
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 Google?s 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. "It?s 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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 107
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    AppleTV being an iOS device only means it will get better and better with support for games and apps. GoogleTV may fade away.
  • Reply 2 of 107
    Ouch! Two words google!



    User interface.
  • Reply 3 of 107
    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!
  • Reply 4 of 107
    mgl323mgl323 Posts: 247member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 107
    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..
  • Reply 6 of 107
    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?
  • Reply 7 of 107
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 107
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 107
    tjwtjw Posts: 216member
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 107
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 107
    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.)
  • Reply 12 of 107
    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
  • Reply 13 of 107
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 107
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 107
    ...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.
  • Reply 16 of 107
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 107
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,460member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 107
    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).
  • Reply 19 of 107
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 107
    sandausandau Posts: 1,230member
    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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