Posted by: fastforward on Jul 26, 2011
Ever thought that there was too big a gap between your TV and the internet? I have mentioned previously that more and more people are starting to use multiple technologies simultaneously – some take their laptops, cellphones and tablet computers with them to the couch, and surf the web while watching the latest episode of their favourite TV show.
Why shouldn’t your TV be able to connect directly? It seems like a natural progression.
Of course, the people over at Google saw the potential in this idea and developed Google TV. Google TV partnered with Sony and Logitech to develop TVs that blended television and all the features of a smartphone or traditional computer.
These TVs allow users to browse the internet, watch video from sites like Hulu and Netflix (Youtube is built in to the devices), to use their favourite social media and other apps and to search the internet and channels with the same search bar. You can even control the TV with your cell phone instead of a traditional remote control. Nice.
Unfortunately, despite the pretty promos, reviews for Google TV were often less than complimentary.
Despite the fact that Google TV aimed for easy and hassle-free user experiences (it can work with whatever you have in your TV room - buy the fully intergrated Sony internet TV or just get a box and use it with your home TV – it works whether you just have a wireless internet connection or a cable box or satellite TV), the product is still in the early stages of development and has some glitches.
Partners like Logitech have failed to profit from the venture, the user interface has been described as complicated, and the price (above that of similar products) is a problem for many.
While products like Google TV are definitely set to change the experience of TV in the future (let’s hope that their decision to incorporate the Android OS on future Google TVs sorts out some of the problems), there is already a range of products they are competing against.
Companies like LG, Apple TV, Boxee and Roku have developed set top boxes that allow your TV to connect to the internet and Samsung has their own 'Smart TV', but it’s hoped that the big name and reputation of Google (and, lets face it, the internet and Google are seen by many to be synonyms) will be enough to convince consumers which product to buy.
The suitablity of this type of product for South Africa is questionable - most aren't sold here, and some of the products require a minimum line speed and the type of fast and reliable internet access many don't have (especially if you want to stream HD videos). And, unless you would like to run a LAN cable accross your TV room, you'll need a wireless router.
Still, lets hope that as development continues, we can look forward to smarter, connected TVs in the future.