Advanced Television

Google TV is go

May 24, 2010

“Google TV,” is here. The service, developed in partnership with Sony, Intel and Logitech has been publically demonstrated in the US for the first time and claims to “fuse the freedom of the Internet with television programming.”

At the launch of 'Smart TV' Google executives claimed their TV platform will succeed where offerings such as Apple TV have failed. “Google TV is a new platform that we believe will change the future of television,” Google group product manager Rishi Chandra said after unveiling the new service at a software developers conference in San Francisco. “Users don’t have to choose between TV and Web; they can have both.”

Google TV, which is powered by Google’s Android software and Chrome Web

browser, can be accessed using connected TVs from Sony or set-top boxes from Logitech that route Web content to existing TV sets. These devices are promised to be widely available by the Christmas season and rolled out internationally next year.

Google TV, which promises to extend the Internet search and advertising giant’s reach into the lucrative TV ad market, “combines the best of what TV has to offer and the best of what the Web has to offer,” Chandra said.

“The transition from TV to Web is totally seamless,” he said during the demonstration for thousands of developers which featured a few technical glitches. “To the user it doesn’t matter where I get my content, whether it be live TV, DVR, or the Web. They just want access to it,” Chandra said.

Initially, advertising served on Google TV will be the same as seen now by television viewers or Web surfers but the Internet firm said it is pondering ways to tailor advertising to the platform.

Google TV product manager Salahuddin Choudhary said in a blog post that Google TV will allow TV viewers to get “all the (TV) channels and shows you normally watch and all of the websites you browse all day. This opens up your TV from a few hundred channels to millions of channels of entertainment across TV and the Web.”

Sony chief executive Howard Stringer described it as “a very big deal.”

“I can’t stress that enough,” Stringer said on stage. “When you put all this, as we’ve done for the fall, into the world’s first Internet television, the opportunities are, in a sense, just mind boggling.”

“We do not think that this is going to be another WebTV,” said Martin Olausson, Director of the Strategy Analytics Digital Media Strategies service. “We see a demonstrated market need and willingness, and the experience and resources of these partners give Google TV a good shot at success.” Strategy Analytics estimates that the number of so-called “cord cutters” could reach more than 10 per cent of US television households by the end of the year. The Google TV platform will potentially further drive this migration.

According to IMS Google's announcement that they are making their WebM VP8 video codec an open-standard codec without any associated license fees sent immediate ripples through the entire video industry. One key beneficiary may be Intel, whose line CE4100 of processors along with TI's DaVinci line may be the only ready-to-ship set-top-box chips that can be upgraded to support WebM via software.

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