Google's TV plans are having technical difficulties. The technology giant has requested that the manufacturers of its TV-plus-web sets delay product introductions to give the company more time to tune the software.
Sets branded as Google TVs were expected to make a big splash at the Consumer Electronics Show next month in Las Vegas. The products seek to take Internet-ready TVs to the next level with a Google search engine that searches TV programming as well as the web, plus other innovations. But early reviews of the platform have been less than raving.
Google Platform Delays
The delay is the latest in a series of Google-promised revolutionary platforms that have left manufacturers tapping their feet as the Mountain View, Calif.-based search giant postponed launches to refine the software. These have included the Chrome operating system for web-focused laptops, the Android OS for tablets, and now Google TV.
Because of the delay, and the missed opportunity of a big launch at next year's CES, some observers expect Google TV will have to wait at least another year before it has the opportunity to catch the public's imagination and pocketbook.
The planned TV sets, ranging from a $600 24-inch HDTV to a $1,400 46-incher, were expected to be complemented by devices from Sony, Logitech, Samsung and others that would allow consumers to keep existing TVS while adding Google's bells and whistles. According to news reports, Samsung is going ahead with plans to introduce its add-on appliance at CES, and the Logitech device is already on the market.
A key question is how differentiated Google TVs will be. Net-connected TVs, or TVs that have Internet access through Blu-ray players, game consoles, and the like, are becoming more commonplace. Netflix and other online programming services can be accessed on these sets, increasing the number of movies and TV shows available from online services and cable beyond what any mortal could reasonably consume and still have a life.
Watch Conan and Twitter About Conan
Google TV will add an expanded search function, but it appears that the major TV networks and the network-supported Hulu video site will not be available on demand through Google sets. Amazon and Netflix movies and TV shows will be available on demand, as will YouTube videos, ESPN.com and Twitter.
Early consumer reviews of the Logitech Revue add-on complain that it's slow and doesn't deliver more value than less-expensive devices. Interaction with Google TV requires a remote that is also a mouse and a keyboard, since the set is as powerful and functional as many personal computers.
Software in the set can be updated, and TV and the web can be experienced side by side on the same screen. "With the feature," wrote Google TV Product Manager Larry Yang in a posting on the Official Google TV Blog last week, "you can do things like watch Conan while tweeting about him on Twitter at the same time."
There will also be a true 21st century capability to control the TV via voice commands, utilizing an Android smartphone or an Apple iPhone with a Google TV Remote app.
Posted: 2011-01-03 @ 7:19am PT
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