Google TV is Back!
Google TV is Back!
Google is taking another shot at the Smart TV platform with Google TV. Originally launched in October 2010, Google TV failed to impress with devices Logitech and Sony. In November 2011, Logitech announced they would stop making Google TV devices due to operating losses. This time, Google TV is back with devices from Vizio and again from Sony, in an attempt to change home entertainment.
What is it?
If you aren’t familiar, Google TV is a Smart TV platform that integrates Google’s Android operating system and the Chrome internet browser to merge streaming and live entertainment. Essentially, with Google TV, you can browse the internet, stream audio and video, and have all your favorite apps right on your TV with access to the Android App store, Google Play.
What is Different This Time?
Google TV didn’t do well initially, but this wasn’t because Google TV wasn’t awesome, it just wasn’t the right time. Content providers blocked their stuff on Google TV and device prices were high and not user-friendly. Needless to day, consumers weren’t fighting each other to get their hands on Google TV.
This time around, the time is right. Smart TVs are huge in the TV market right now. Google TV has been updated with a newer version of the Android operation system as well as updated versions of the TV and Movie apps. Not to mention, the number of apps available this time around has increased considerably. And, Google Search is a powerful search function for finding what you want on cable tv, the web, or an app.
The Devices- Sony NSZ-GS7 ($199) and Vizio Co-Star ($99)
At the end of July, Sony started shipping their Google TV device and Vizio is expected to start shipping the Co-Star by mid-August (pre-orders started in July). Both of these devices already have an edge on current streaming devices, such as Roku, because of how they integrate with your cable TV. With a Google TV device, you can surf the web, search for streaming movies or tv shows, or find an app, all without interrupting live TV.
In addition to popular apps such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, and Youtube, the Vizio Co-Star also has the added feature of OnLive Game Service. OnLive is a service that allows users to play demos or full-length top-tier games directly off of the cloud without having to own a gaming console.
Both devices ship with a universal remote with touchpad and keyboard. These remotes significantly improve the Google TV experience by eliminating the need for a keyboard and mouse or the tedious process of using on-screen keyboards. There are also Android and iOS apps available to turn your phone into a remote control.
The Sony Google TV device is slightly more impressive in the Tech Spec department with its digital audio output, 8GB internal storage capacity (the Co-Star can connect to external storage via USB), and 2 USB ports (the Co-Star has 1).
Whether Google TV flourishes or flounders remains to be seen, but, I fully expect it to be at least a moderate success…. and certainly more successful than it had been previously.
I think Vizio’s device will outshine Sony’s for a few reasons. First, it’s half the price. Next, while it lacks a few things in the tech specs, it is still quite impressive. Finally, the added feature of OnLive gaming sets it apart from Sony and any other streaming device available.