Google TV - An Introduction
The Internet on your TV. Sound like something you'd be interested in? Google is hoping so, as they have partnered up with Sony and Intel to begin producing a box you can hook up to your television. But how will it work, and is it even relevant?
The Google TV box will most likely be a small set-top box much like your current DVD or cable box. It will essentially be a small computer which will let you access the internet by using your television screen instead of your monitor. You'll be able to browse photos, watch YouTube videos, and surf the Internet using Google's Chrome browser.
It's too early to tell if this will be able to serve as a full replacement for your cable service. A major problem consumers have always had with cable is that they must pay for channels they do not want. The average cable user watches perhaps 15 channels regularly, even though he must pay for 60 or more. It is unclear at this point if Google will be able to offer a la Carte channels via their new box. If they can, it may likely signal the beginning of the end of the traditional cable box.
Google is currently working with several manufacturers to produce peripheries for the Google TV. One of these is Logitech, who is working on a keyboard for the new device. This is nice because it would most likely to be cumbersome to perform searches without a keyboard, but there may be little advantage to this over using a laptop computer.
Of course, the Google TV isn't exactly a groundbreaking idea. Owners of Nintendo's Wii have been able to browse the internet for several years on their TV using the built in browser powered by Opera. Wii owners can also watch YouTube and perform Google searches. This Wii browser is navigated by the Wii remote via a wireless pointing mechanism. Users can either use a virtual keyboard or buy a periphery keyboard, also made by Logitech. Many other companies have also provided solutions for an internet on the TV experience. The PS3 from Sony (who is set to produce the Google TV) already has a web browser application, as do cable boxes from Dish Network.
It will certainly be interesting to see what becomes of the Google TV project. Oftentimes Google's products are a hit or miss. Gmail has turned into a highly successful email service, but Google Buzz (Google's competitor to Twitter) seems like an unnecessary also-ran which has failed to catch on. To use a cliché which will no doubt become overused in regards to the Google TV: stay tuned.
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