LG releasing Google TV-based smart TV as Apple television rumors swirl

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
LG has taken the wraps off its first Google TV-powered television set, even as rumors of an Apple television loom over the industry.



The South Korean consumer electronics maker issued a press release on Friday (via TechCrunch) unveiling its new LG Smart TV with Google TV, set to be introduced next week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nev. The new set, which will be featured in a demonstration next Monday, sports a custom interface on top of the Android-based Google TV platform.



?Through Google TV, LG has merged Google?s established Android operating system with LG?s proven 3D and Smart TV technologies, offering consumers a new and enthralling TV experience,? said LG President and CEO Havis Kwon.



LG touted the device's "ease of use" as its most attractive feature, citing the combination of the Android-based user interface and an LG-designed Magic Remote Qwerty. The television utilizes LG's CINEMA 3D technology to offer a 3D viewing option.



The company does not, however, appear ready to fully commit to Google TV for its connected sets. LG noted in its press release that it will "continue to advance its own Smart TV platform" alongside Google TV. Based on NetCast, the platform will power more than 60 percent of the company's flat panel TVs that will arrive later this year.







"With a growing collection of content and services, LG?s Smart TV platform will continue to provide consumers with a unique user experience," the release read.



For its part, Google struggled to gain traction with Google TV when it released the software in late 2010. Sales of set-top boxes and HDTVs based on the platform floundered, with partner Logitech reporting losses of as much as $100 million from the initiative. Last October, Google released a new and improved Google TV with more support for the Android Market application store and improved search functionality.



Eric Schmidt, Google's chairman and former CEO, remains confident that Google TV will take off. H made the bold prediction last month that "the majority" of televisions in stores will run Google TV by next summer. The company has its work cut out for it, as a number of TV makers, including LG, Samsung, Panasonic and Sony have committed to developing their own competing platforms.



Meanwhile, evidence of an upcoming Apple television continues to mount. One recent report claimed Apple designer Jonathan Ive has a "slick" 50-inch Apple television prototype in his studio at the company's headquarters. Rumors have suggested that different versions of the set could be as small as 32 inches or as large as 55 inches.







Sony CEO Howard Stringer said last year that he has "no doubt" that late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was working to revolutionize the television. According to him, a "tremendous amount of R&D" is being spent by the industry to invent the next generation of TVs.



Stringer also gave voice to a latent desperation that TV makers have been experiencing as of late. "We can't continue selling TV sets [the way we have been]. Every TV set we all make loses money," he said. Several display-making companies, including Samsung, have seen eroding profits in recent years as flat-screen purchases have slowed.



Jobs himself told his biographer that he had "cracked" the secret to a simple and elegant TV interface. A new Apple patent application uncovered by AppleInsider on Thursday revealed that Apple has invested research funds on improved LCD display picture quality when watching widescreen movies, prompting further speculation that the company is working on an television set.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 49
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I'm glad to see Google wised up and moved to an Android-based system. I look forward to seeing many demos next week at CES.
  • Reply 2 of 49
    Quote:

    Jobs himself told his biographer that he had "cracked" the secret to a simple and elegant TV interface.



    Ha. This must be AI's new auto signature. See it in every... single... post.
  • Reply 3 of 49
    red oakred oak Posts: 640member
    I can't wait to see the remote



    So, LG is putting a UI interface on top of Google TV. Because that approach has worked so well with Android smartphones
  • Reply 4 of 49
    alfiejralfiejr Posts: 1,524member
    Google just doesn't get the essence of TV viewing.



    it is NOT about proactively searching for stuff. that takes effort. so you do it at your computer "workstation."



    it is about lazily soaking up whatever you enjoy/want with as little effort as possible. e.g. "i want my MTV." plug and play is where it's at.



    i hope Apple grasps this difference too.
  • Reply 5 of 49
    Google TV? They still haven't given up on this crap?



    A TV is like a speaker for visual information. To be effective, a UI like this would have to reside in an A/V receiver that's acting as a switcher for all of your sources and driving the TV, not in the TV itself.



    And even that's half-assed, unless the device is also a universal cable box, DirecTV box, and DVR.



    Anyone who bitches about 3-D being a money-making gimmick and then runs out to buy this crap will mark himself as a major hypocrite.
  • Reply 6 of 49
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Jobs himself told his biographer that he had "cracked" the secret to a simple and elegant TV interface.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bryanhauer View Post


    Ha. This must be AI's new auto signature. See it in every... single... post.



    Which must be automatically linked to the image of the iMac with Hugh Laurie's character 'House' on the screen. I think I've seen it (re)used 10 times this week alone.
  • Reply 7 of 49
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ... as rumors of an Apple television loom over the industry..



    I worry about Apple's ability to execute a slick "smart" TV, based on my experience with the AppleTV (gens 1 and 2). Two observations:



    1) I'm on a 20Mbps broadband service, but frequently have tv shows and movies interrupted, from hiccups to stalls requiring restarts. That's worse than the normal broadcast experience and it doesn't bode well for streaming.



    2) More troublesome (in terms of inattention to detail) are movie descriptions that don't fit in the space allotted to them on the AppleTV. At least I can't find a way to navigate past a second screen of text. I had to pull up only three movies, at random, before finding an example: Go to "The Chaos Experiment". The text describing the movie ends in an ellipsis. But by using the up arrow, you can bump to a second screen to continue reading. Unfortunately, that page of text also ends in an ellipsis, and I can't find a way to get to the third (and final?) page of descriptive text. That's a hell of a user experience!



    If Apple's iBook showed only parts of the texts purchased or viewed for consideration, people would find that intolerable. The fact that it happens frequently--and has been happening for years--makes me worry about Apple and TV. I guess I'm bitching because I expect better from Apple.
  • Reply 8 of 49
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    LG has taken the wraps off its first Google TV-powered television set, even as rumors of an Apple television loom over the industry.



    Too funny. Like other companies should just close shop because Apple has looming rumors.
  • Reply 9 of 49
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rtdunham View Post


    I worry about Apple's ability to execute a slick "smart" TV, based on my experience with the AppleTV (gens 1 and 2). Two observations:



    1) I'm on a 20Mbps broadband service, but frequently have tv shows and movies interrupted, from hiccups to stalls requiring restarts. That's worse than the normal broadcast experience and it doesn't bode well for streaming.





    I have an 8 Mbps (as tested) Internet connection, and I watch HD on the AppleTV without any issues. Just sayin'.
  • Reply 10 of 49
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rtdunham View Post


    I worry about Apple's ability to execute a slick "smart" TV, based on my experience with the AppleTV (gens 1 and 2). Two observations:



    1) I'm on a 20Mbps broadband service, but frequently have tv shows and movies interrupted, from hiccups to stalls requiring restarts. That's worse than the normal broadcast experience and it doesn't bode well for streaming.



    2) More troublesome (in terms of inattention to detail) are movie descriptions that don't fit in the space allotted to them on the AppleTV. At least I can't find a way to navigate past a second screen of text. I had to pull up only three movies, at random, before finding an example: Go to "The Chaos Experiment". The text describing the movie ends in an ellipsis. But by using the up arrow, you can bump to a second screen to continue reading. Unfortunately, that page of text also ends in an ellipsis, and I can't find a way to get to the third (and final?) page of descriptive text. That's a hell of a user experience!



    If Apple's iBook showed only parts of the texts purchased or viewed for consideration, people would find that intolerable. The fact that it happens frequently--and has been happening for years--makes me worry about Apple and TV. I guess I'm bitching because I expect better from Apple.



    Comcast?
  • Reply 11 of 49
    orlandoorlando Posts: 601member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    I'm glad to see Google wised up and moved to an Android-based system.



    GoogleTV was always Android based. The big change is they finally added the Androids Market.



    -----



    What I haven't seen yet why an Apple television will be any more successful than the current AppleTV. The AppleTV is still referred to as a hobby, so why do people think that a full TV ( which will probably cost at least a grand if not more) will do any better?
  • Reply 12 of 49
    daharderdaharder Posts: 1,580member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Orlando View Post


    GoogleTV was always Android based. The big change is they finally added the Androids Market.



    -----



    What I haven't seen yet why an Apple television will be any more successful than the current AppleTV. The AppleTV is still referred to as a hobby, so why do people think that a full TV ( which will probably cost at least a grand if not more) will do any better?



    Wishful thinking... ?
  • Reply 13 of 49
    firefly7475firefly7475 Posts: 1,502member
    OK... so I may regret saying this, but I think Google TV may end up as the defacto "smart TV" platform standard.





    It's what the OEM's want...

    Well... sort of. I'm sure they would rather their own unique platforms, but with the threat of Apple TV looming it's not hard to imagine them coalescing around the Android platform.



    When you look at the major TV manufacturers (e.g. Sony, Panasonic, Sharp, LG, Samsung, Visio etc) most are already Android partners to some extent.



    The OEM's will also have the ability to differentiate through completely skinning the default Google TV UI.





    The technology may be "good enough"...

    Apple could create a more unique and user friendly TV UI than Google (e.g. Siri integration etc) but Google TV wouldn't be that far behind.



    Lagging by 12 months in the smart phone industry is a big deal, lagging by that much in the TV industry (where people switch out their TVs far less often) isn't so much of a problem.





    Google has the infrastructure...

    YouTube serves up almost as much Internet video as all other Internet sources combined.



    I'm not sure if there is any other company in the world other than Google that has the infrastructure and scalability in place to deliver a wide-scale content-on-demand video service.





    Google has a carrot for the networks...

    I've gone on about this ad nauseam in other threads about the iTV... a company needs leverage over the networks so they will provide them with the content they need (and at the price they need it) to be able to deliver the TV service that consumers want.



    One way to get leverage over the networks is to offer them a new (and larger) revenue stream, and one of the ways to do this is through enhanced advertising (e.g. in-program advertising or highly targeted advertising)



    Google know what your searches are. They know your browsing patterns, they know what you buy. Heck they can even scan your email for keywords.



    The ability to deliver targeted advertising is Google's bread and butter, and it happens to be something that Apple sucks at.







    But I'm not writing off Apple...

    Maybe Apple could do something totally unexpected and change the way we think about TV.



    Maybe they could find a way to carve out a lions share of the profit marketshare without the sales marketshare by offering a TV that syncs well with the Apple eco-system.



    Maybe they could even partner with a company like Facebook to deliver some targeted advertising that blows Google TV out of the water.



    Anything is still possible at this point.
  • Reply 14 of 49
    moxommoxom Posts: 325member
    I'm looking forward to the LG demo next week.



    As someone who sells TV's for a well-known UK retailer, this really has sparked my interest.



    Most customers I speak to don't care too much for 3D or SMART TV due to the perceived expense and the fact that they feel they are paying extra for gimmicky features. I dont believe these companies have done enough to spark peoples interest and to show them the possabilities.



    However, having demoed many Smart / 3D sets to many customers, they start to see the potential and start to get enthusiastic.



    One issue that needs addressing is that the UI. Many customers find it very off-putting and complicated to navigate. Only Samsung seem to have a decent UI but there is still room for improvement.



    I sure hope all these rumours of an Apple TV set are true. If anyone has the ability to build a simple/engaging UI coupled with a beatifully designed set then it is Apple...
  • Reply 15 of 49
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member
    That black to gray gradient looks like it was directly ripped from Apple TV.
  • Reply 16 of 49
    drdoppiodrdoppio Posts: 1,132member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    <...>

    LG touted the device's "ease of use" as its most attractive feature, citing the combination of the Android-based user interface and an LG-designed Magic Remote Qwerty. The television utilizes LG's CINEMA 3D technology to offer a 3D viewing option.

    <...>



    My expectations for a TV are rather simple, and whichever company gets them right gets my money. All I want is this:
    1. Individual settings for each channel -- volume, picture, etc. I had this on my first TV set 15 years ago (Philips)

    2. Auto recognition of content -- a prerequisite for the following few features:
      • Auto mute when commercials start, un-mute at the end

      • Auto channel switch when content that I have banned is shown

      • Keeping track of my thumbs up/down preferences


    3. Family/individual user accounts

    4. Full Internet integration:
      • IMDB integration

      • Social networking integration

      • Streaming content from subscription services (Netflix, etc.)

      • Youtube, Hulu, Pandora, etc.


    5. Recording functionality

    Everything else is secondary to me. Things I am particularly uninterested in are:
    1. Simple interface. TV is simple enough. It wouldn't hurt to get some advanced customization options for a change.

    2. Voice control. I have my family to talk to. The TV should be smart, but not try to pretend it's a person.

  • Reply 17 of 49
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post


    Google just doesn't get the essence of TV viewing.



    it is NOT about proactively searching for stuff. that takes effort. so you do it at your computer "workstation."



    it is about lazily soaking up whatever you enjoy/want with as little effort as possible. e.g. "i want my MTV." plug and play is where it's at.



    i hope Apple grasps this difference too.



    Google tv with the new interface is pretty easy to use. Maybe a little easier then apple tv since google tv boxes have hdmi IN . No source changing needed
  • Reply 18 of 49
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post


    [*]Auto mute when commercials start, un-mute at the end




    Good luck with that.
  • Reply 19 of 49
    cmvsmcmvsm Posts: 204member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rtdunham View Post




    1) I'm on a 20Mbps broadband service, but frequently have tv shows and movies interrupted, from hiccups to stalls requiring restarts. That's worse than the normal broadcast experience and it doesn't bode well for streaming.



    You must have some kind of service issue. I have a measly 1.5Mbps DSL service and I can stream without any interruption from Apple TV or my home computer.
  • Reply 20 of 49
    cmvsmcmvsm Posts: 204member
    Again, television manufacturers are looking to be able to slap as many feature stickers on their sets as possible, without thinking of the benefit to the consumer. Its all the same crap.



    Fact of the matter is, if I have to turn anything extra on, funnel through more menus, screw around with a giant remote, hooked up to 5 different devices, that does god knows what, then it's a hassle to use.



    Give me voice control or give me death.
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