Google TV: Party Like It’s 1997!



As rumored in March and earlier this week, Google is bringing the web to your television. You know, like WebTV more than a decade ago. And it didn’t take off then, either.

Google TV will be a set-top box available this fall (and integrated into a new Sony TV coming then, too), allowing us to access the Internet from our televisions (including Flash!). The previews look like really slick On-Demand:

While companies including Apple have continued to try to make Web-TV integration work, the original WebTV was purchased by Microsoft and eventually rebranded as MSN TV. They continue to support existing customers, but Microsoft finally gave up on selling the hardware last year. But Google has tapped Logitech to make some auxiliary devices, including a remote control with a mini keyboard. Isn’t it great? All the inconveniences of your other devices—the tiny keyboard on your phone, the constant distraction of the Internet and the mind-numbing power of the tube—combined into one ultimate time-wasting device. (YouTwitFace?)

Search Engine Land‘s Greg Sterling has a breakdown of some important questions—and touches on what might be the best part of the offering. While we don’t know yet know whether GTV will be subscription-based, it may be a cable killer:

This is an interesting question to consider and one that will take time to answer. Users won’t need a cable TV subscription (though they will need WiFi in the home) to access GTV. So it’s at least possible that the web content and video, Netflix and Hulu that GTV offers via the internet could well substitute for a cable subscription. But content publishers like Hulu will have the choice and ability to block Google TV if they like. This is what happened with Hulu and Boxee previously.

Most people who pay for cable today are unlikely to “unplug” because of this. But there will likely be a group of people who simply use Google TV (or other comparable tools) to get internet content, Neflix and web video in the living room, as an alternative to paying for a cable subscription.

As always, Google has a convenient video for us all:

Gary Price also provides a few links with more information.

What do you think? Is this Web/TV’s best chance yet, or has the concept already jumped the shark?

  • Josh

    You are wayyyy wrong on this one. :)

    That technology cost money in 1997, was slow, looked horrible, and wasn’t wide open—it was proprietary. Also, the times have changed as the average person now has basic computer skills at least and everyone loves youtube, etc. People are warming up to the idea of having a little keyboard in front of them where THEY are the TV programmers rather than someone sitting in an office telling them what cheaply produced crap to watch and charging them an arm and a leg for it. If they can get live sports and live events into this so that people can have that “live” feeling of watching something “now” then I suspect that MANY more people would switch.

  • Terry

    Check out Google TV in action running Adobe Flash Player 10.1 here: http://blogs.adobe.com/flashplatform/2010/05/flash_player_101_on_google_tv.html (Disclaimer: I represent Adobe).

    • Josh

      Hi Terry,

      Thanks for the link. Could you please inform the powers that be that PDF files have ruined the universe and that every time my boss converts his living documents into “official” PDF files I cringe. :)

      Also, conversely, tell them that Photoshop is the best thing ever invented.

      Thank you and rock n roll!

  • http://pdabreak.com PDA Break

    I can’t wait to see how Google TV really is it, is it going to live up to the hype
    .-= PDA Break´s last blog ..Mobile Video for Phones is Still Emerging =-.

  • http://productreviews4today.com Janice Phillips

    Hey Jordan,

    For those do-it-yourselfers out there: find the correct cable (adapter and/or converter box, if necessary) for your PC & TV combination.

    Get the audio hooked the way you want, again most likely using a cable.

    And lastly, adjust the resolution if necessary. All these are one-time outlays of cash.

    Depending on the level of need for the best experience, one will of course have the most up-to-date (or close to it) equipment (HDTV and PC) available with the fastest connection possible. Personal choice here. But, isn’t the need for newer equipment, even now, before GoogleTV a gimme?

    In the early days of GoogleTV there are bound to be bugs, glitches and other things that crop up, as in any new product that will need to be worked out. Will the subscription price reflect the ‘inconvenience’ of this?

    Don’t get me wrong here, even though I have in the past had my PC and TV linked together and was pleased with the results, I can’t wait to see it and maybe even be a guinea pig, if the price is right.
    .-= Janice Phillips´s last blog ..Write for People … Not Search Engines =-.