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Google Television The Internet Technology

Google TV Suffers Setback 202

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the they'll-get-over-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Google TV has now been around long enough for the geeks to play around with it. And they have come back with disappointing reviews. While most were excited at the concept of wedlock between the TV and Internet, the marriage itself looks destined to be challenging."
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Google TV Suffers Setback

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  • Geeky devices (Score:5, Insightful)

    by devxo (1963088) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @06:20PM (#34635054)
    And in other news, Apple TV is selling like hot cakes [techcrunch.com]. It just shows, like always before, that casual people don't really care about the geeky things those devices can offer. The older I get the more I can side with them too - when I was a teenager I had lots of energy and motivation to play around with computers and other technical stuff I had. Then I got a job, a girlfriend, went to travel the world and saw how much you're giving up by spending so much time with that. In the end, it's not really even that interesting.

    Now I also just want devices that work great. I don't really have any desire to play around with them, apart from the occasional configuration to make things smoother for me. But there is a limit for that, and I'm not gonna spend hours and days coding something to accomplish it. This is also why general population will never turn to use Linux if something doesn't change, and can you really blame them?
    • Re:Geeky devices (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Daengbo (523424) <daengbo@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @06:33PM (#34635216) Homepage Journal

      When all the major networks ban your TV product, it's pretty much destined to fail.

      • by theaveng (1243528)

        Yep. "Google does not support iTunes, and the top video networks such as NBC, CBS, ABC and Hulu have blocked it out."

        So basically GoogleTV can't let me view any of the networks I view most often. :-| Rather than spend $250 for this, I'd rather get a DTVpal DVR which pulls television off the air and records it. Then when I come home, I just playback whatever I missed from last night (primetime) or while at work (mostly movies and international programs). ~40 channels free of charge.

      • by jimpop (27817) *

        > When all the major networks ban your TV product, it's pretty much destined to fail. ...sure, if all you ever watch are major network TV shows. BUT, if you really don't care for network TV in your home (i.e. I got to a pub to watch baseball/football), then Google TV might just be right for you. I dumped cable TV in November, and am still loving my Google TV. My favorite apps are Netflix, Youtube (Gadget Show, Fifth Gear, Rocketboom*, Zadi, etc), Revision3, Cartoon Channel, Adult Swim, and Daily Moti

        • by tepples (727027)

          sure, if all you ever watch are major network TV shows.

          In order to know what everyone else is talking about around the water cooler...

          I got to a pub to watch baseball/football

          Due to alcohol control laws in the United States, students don't have that option unless they're college seniors.

          • by jimpop (27817) *

            > Due to alcohol control laws in the United States,
            > students don't have that option unless they're
            > college seniors.

            Good point. I personally believe that if you are in college, or the armed services, you should be able to legally drink. Old enough to vote, old enough to puke. ;-)

          • by eharvill (991859)

            Due to alcohol control laws in the United States, students don't have that option unless they're college seniors.

            I suppose that depends on how you define a "pub" or "bar". Most "bars" (in the US) that restrict entry to 21 and up aren't ideal places to watch a sports game anyway (1 or 2 small TVs placed in bad viewing areas). Most "sports bars" I am aware of have no age restrictions and have dozens (depending on size of establishment) of TVs scattered throughout. Heck, most chain restaurants have plenty of TVs in their bar areas and no age restrictions. I am not sure where you are getting your information from.

        • by rtb61 (674572)

          Google TV goes no where. At minimum stackable external hard disk and dvd drives, for ripping and media serving. More useful software like firewall and internet serving. While they are at it why not an IPv6 mail and web server. They basically went nowhere with it. The apple product is of course just another outlet for limited licence content with a low entry price to trap the unwary.

          The idiot box is so last century, to kick it into this century it becomes nothing but a display for home media centre that s

      • When all the major networks ban a TV product I would think an anti-competitive FTC investigation should be something worth looking into. Basically they banned a browser with a specific user agent string based on the company that provides the device. Can you imagine if all the networks decided to ban Dell computers but not HP?

        • This is analogous to buying an HD FM radio and complaining that it can not receive shortwave signals.

          There's no reason to appeal to the government. Just get a device that receives the media streams you want.

    • Its inability to run the software people want to use is what needs to change, nothing else.

    • And in other news, Apple TV is selling like hot cakes [techcrunch.com]. It just shows, like always before, that casual people don't really care about the geeky things those devices can offer. The older I get the more I can side with them too - when I was a teenager I had lots of energy and motivation to play around with computers and other technical stuff I had. Then I got a job, a girlfriend, went to travel the world and saw how much you're giving up by spending so much time with that. In the end, it's not really even that interesting.

      Now I also just want devices that work great. I don't really have any desire to play around with them, apart from the occasional configuration to make things smoother for me. But there is a limit for that, and I'm not gonna spend hours and days coding something to accomplish it. This is also why general population will never turn to use Linux if something doesn't change, and can you really blame them?

      Apple TV selling a million times over the course of 4 months sounds very disappointing to me.

      • Re:Geeky devices (Score:4, Insightful)

        by davester666 (731373) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @07:28PM (#34635716) Journal

        > Apple TV selling a million times over the course of 4 months sounds very disappointing to me.

        Really? What is your frame of reference for being disappointed?

        I would doubt you would say the same thing if Tivo, Boxee, Roku or any other drv/media box company announced a similar number.

        And I would be they would all be EXTREMELY pleased to have a number like that for that period of time.

      • by Flytrap (939609)
        Apple TV 2 was launched in October 2010 http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Desktops-and-Notebooks/Apple-TV-Sells-1-Million-Units-297554/ [eweek.com]. That is less than 3 months ago. By comparison, Roku, an arguably superior offering, is yet to reach its 1 millionth sale (across all models), after 2 years!

        Most news articles comenting on the 1 million units milestone have made a point of comparing it to the 74 days it took for the original iPhone to reach the same milestone. That is a phenominal achievement by anyone's yard sti
        • by jedidiah (1196)

          It would not be the first time that an inferior offering sold more units due to a number of factors besides actual product quality (including marketing).

          One could point out the whole Macintosh vs MS-DOS paradox if one were so inclined.

    • by Microlith (54737)

      Nothing like the growth of apathy as a rationalization for closed, hacker-unfriendly systems!

      • Re:Geeky devices (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ColdWetDog (752185) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @07:26PM (#34635702) Homepage

        Nothing like the growth of apathy as a rationalization for closed, hacker-unfriendly systems!

        Come off it and get out of the basement. On a population basis, the number of people interested in 'hacker friendly, open systems' is a rounding error. THERE IS NO MONEY IN IT. There IS money in simple. There is money in just works.

        • I dunno about that. Roku's super simple to set up and use (it "just works"), but has an open SDK and a fantastic (open) private channel system for those interested in doing more. It's the best of both worlds (plus very inexpensive as well).

        • Great. Thanks for letting us know that you've succumbed to the notion that the world revolves around nothing but money. I haven't stooped to that level yet, and I hope I never do, but let me at least say this: no matter how great your product may be, there's never any justification for closing it off in order to prevent your customers for actually harnessing it to its full potential. Just because it doesn't harm _you_ doesn't mean it's okay to support it when its limiting the potential of real users who wan

      • There was ever a time when 99% of the population cared that their device was open source and hacker-friendly outside of your mind?

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          Hacker friendly devices lead to other side effects that apathetic consumers actually care about even if they are not directly aware of any notion of "open-ness".

    • by segedunum (883035)

      And in other news, Apple TV is selling like hot cakes [techcrunch.com]

      Selling a million devices versus the sum total of TVs sold is actually very disappointing.

    • Re:Geeky devices (Score:4, Informative)

      by geekoid (135745) <(dadinportland) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @07:11PM (#34635556) Homepage Journal

      Except you don't need to play around with it to work. It does what Apple TV does, plays more.

      It's just not the global plug to free crap some people want.

      And Apples TV s not selling like hot cakes. They've sold a total, since inception, of 1 million units.

      • It's 1 million units of the new Apple TV. If you count the older generation, it's way more than that. Don't let facts get in the way of your rant though.

    • by rolfwind (528248)

      And it certainly took Apple more than enough iterations for them to finally hit on a winning formula. I mean, Apple TV has been around since 2006.... although it may be the $99 price point now...

      The older I get, however, I don't want devices that just work great. I want less. Of everything. Today, in media overload, I find it a relief to have the TV off (thinking of getting rid of all service altogether and using the screen to watch Redbox, maybe Netflix). I listen to some music, but never the radio.

    • by Seumas (6865)

      The problem is that it seems like everyone is trying to stuff more internet in my television, when what I really want is more television in my internet. There is a difference.

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      > that casual people don't really care about the geeky things those devices can offer

      Yeah. "Geeky" things like playing your own videos.

      A device that "just works" is something that doesn't force you to futz with Handbrake.

      Just point your girlfriend/wife to the local media server and let her drag & drop stuff on it as she finds it.

      • Pretty soon anything other than buying a trinket from an official app/media store is going to be considered "geeky hacker stuff"...in fact for certain devices we may already be at that point.

  • For those that have the attention span to read either the entire article, or the summary, but not both.
  • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @06:27PM (#34635150) Homepage Journal

    Sounds like they should have release Google TV beta first.

    Joking aside, this is probably why Apple is taking such a cautious approach with Apple TV. They realise that there is potential, though it is not clear how it should manifest itself. Playing around with other solutions like XBMC and Plex it feels like there is certainly a future, but it may still be a few years down the road. Maybe devices like the Wii would be better, if it simply offered the missing components like being able to stream from a home media server?

  • Since original article refuses to load anything but the Ad.
    http://www.google.com/#q=Google+TV+Suffers+Setback [google.com]

  • ps3, 360, etc (Score:5, Insightful)

    by smoondog (85133) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @06:35PM (#34635234)

    the internet has made it to my tv, i get it through my ps3. why would i want another device that basically does the same thing but less of it?

    • The consoles have been the Trojan Horse for getting Internet video into the living room and onto the TV for years. I "cut the cord" to my cable a while back, and get all video on my TV screen via the 360. MS (and Sony) won this battle without even firing a shot, as best as I can see.

    • by timeOday (582209)
      Newer TVs don't even need a PS3. I have a Sony Bravia set with support for Netflix and Amazon video streaming (plus about 100 others I've hardly looked at). It's slightly harder than changing the channel, but not hard. I upgraded my Comcast service for no other reason than to get better streaming quality, and am very happy with it. Standard-def looks about equivalent to DVD, and high-def even better. (Neither quite as good as broadcast TV, and I haven't tried Blu-Ray).

      I also have a homebrew PVR, alth

      • What's funny, is the Netflix streaming on my TV rarely has to buffer, and the video quality is better than via boxee on my HTPC.
    • the internet has made it to my tv, i get it through my ps3. why would i want another device that basically does the same thing but less of it?

      I get internet TV (Netflix, mostly) from my PlayStation. The search function for GoogleTV and its combination of internet-based video and traditional TV in results is a feature that I haven't seen anywhere else. OTOH, it seems from reviews that their are interface (particularly, controller) issues that need polish, and the major networks blocking it because they thoug

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Nope

      Will the PS3 search your network? stream content from a computer? Can you control it from your phone? ca you seamlessly show content from your phone to the TV? can you watch and browse at the same time? Can you be watching something from a site and send it to your DVR?

      No, it won't. You have to buy 3rd party addins.

      • by DogDude (805747)
        "Will the PS3 search your network? stream content from a computer?"

        Yes and yes.
      • by DJRumpy (1345787)

        PS3 has a built in function to scan for media servers. I use a Mac (my primary HTPC) to stream content to my PS3 in the bedroom). It will also offer to convert any formats that PS3 doesn't understand on the fly. It really has turned into a very flexible piece of hardware. That said, I still use my HTPC for most needs.

        For basic streaming like Netflix, a PS3 more than suffices, just as an Apple TV does. They've made it about as simple as you can get, which is what consumers want.

    • Good point. You wouldn't. And the PS3 has sold a gazillion units, so there's lots of people who wouldn't. There are, however, lots of people like me, who have not purchased an xbox, a ps3 a wii or any other gaming device in some time--the last one I bought was a Sega Genesis, which doesn't play anything but its own games. Some of us bought Rokus, some Apple TVs, and some built their own devices. Google and their vendors are trying to catch what they see as the mainstream market--really the late adopter
  • by rubies (962985) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @06:48PM (#34635346)

    TV is a passive medium for the vast majority of people and that's how they like it. Plop on the couch, select your channel and let somebody else make the decisions about what you'd like to watch. Most people don't have a home media server and don't understand why you'd want one (because nobody has explained that your DVD cupboard is basically a sneakernet server, and having everything you want to watch a button click away like music just hasn't happened yet).

    Actually that's a good analogy - we have a home media server and various cobbled together clients around the house, and it's interesting to watch the usage patterns: Music videos get shuffled like a giant video ipod on the main TV, it's like the best MTV that never was with the bonus you can skip stuff you don't want to listen to. Kids want to watch 3 or 4 episodes of iCarly in a row. Parents want to be able to consume a serial like Dexter without the annoying "wait a week for the next episode" that broadcast TV forces on you.

    Most people will want this stuff, they just haven't seen it - so do Google a favour and invite your non-tech-savvy friends to a demonstration of your media serving rigs (assuming you've gone to the trouble of making it demo friendly and can resist the urge to fiddle with technical stuff while you're showing them). What is going to be a killer is pricing - if Google could negoatiate to broadcast a channel of cheap stuff so the "plop on the couch and watch" crew could enjoy another TV channel without having to think too much, they may be tempted to purchase premium content like first run serials without the hassle of torrents.

    • by Tancred (3904)

      I really don't think using GoogleTV (at least for simple things like using Netflix) is any tougher than using the STB from the cable company to get programming on demand.

      • by rubies (962985)

        Probably not, but "on demand" is what's unproven, not the technology itself. If somebody came up with a hybrid service that basically shuffled a TV channel of stuff you like (you tell it how long you want to watch, it knows your preferences or you seed it), the Google people could queue up shows for you (with a few wildcards of things you haven't seen but might like, pilots for shows that you might be interested in etc).

        That way you could still use your TV as a passive entertainment device without necessar

        • by Tancred (3904)

          I'm not saying some people prefer strictly passive TV, but there are lots of examples of on demand content, in wide use and growing - Netflix, Hulu, cable STBs, TiVo, etc. I don't know why you think that's unproven. I'm sure YouTube will start looking more and more like what you describe, as an option on GoogleTV.

          • by rubies (962985)

            It's unproven as the take-up is low, especially outside of the US. Problem one is that because we have no effective micro-payment systems, these things are subscriber based or require the purchase of expensive dedicated hardware like a TiVo (a complete flop in Australia as it happens). Hulu, not available outside the US at all. Ditto for Netflix (I assume because rights to the shows are sold on a regional basis). The only companies at the moment who can afford to buy the rights here in Oz offer some of

  • Steve Jobs has it right on this one: The only way to empower users is to only offer programming via an on-demand model, whether it's $0.99 per show on iTunes or unlimited streaming on Netflix. The "push model" of television is incredibly inefficient and any DVR-style device (ie, think TiVo, not AppleTV or Roku) is just prolonging its death spiral and keeping consumers trapped in the past.

    I refuse to install an antenna on my house to receive push TV programming and will certainly not subscribe to push TV ove

    • by vivek7006 (585218)
      OK, just keep paying $0.99 per show on iTunes, while I record it in pristine HD for *free* using windows 7 MCE.
      • I'm happy to put my money where my mouth is. That airwave bandwidth is better repurposed into a high speed national wireless network.

  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @07:06PM (#34635514)

    I had looked at various "media" devices such as the Roku, but all came up way short. I was shocked to find that, apparently because of their business model, the Roku will not play the free Hulu content, even if you buy a Hulu Plus subscription (and there is a lot on regular Hulu that is unavailable on Hulu Plus). Google TV was about the only consumer oriented appliance that I found that gave me everything that a browser would have access to. But at the $300 price of the Logitech version it is way too much for too little. For that kind of money I might as well build a PC that I can dedicate to the living room. I could not only browse everything on the web, but I could also install and play web oriented games on the big screen, and run other applications that Web TV can't such as Skype, TeamSpeak, Google Earth and so on. And I've also found myself wanting a DVR that isn't dependent on my having a cable or satellite provider, and it looks like to get that done right I'll have to base it on a PC anyway. So it was obvious that Web TV as it is currently offered is too little for too high of a price. A cute toy, but only for those who have too much money and not enough imagination to see what they can do with a real computer instead.

    One big downside is that somehow turning a case from the typical vertical design into a horizontal case that would better fit in a media center seems to be very expensive. In my shopping I've found horizontal form factor cases for as much as $200, and that is without a power supply. Obviously I can get much nicer vertical cases a lot cheaper. I'm still hoping to find a case maker that is making a decent case at a reasonable price (responses welcome).

    • by The Good Reverend (84440) <michael AT michris DOT com> on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @08:24PM (#34636232) Homepage Journal

      I was shocked to find that, apparently because of their business model, the Roku will not play the free Hulu content, even if you buy a Hulu Plus subscription (and there is a lot on regular Hulu that is unavailable on Hulu Plus).

      This has absolutely nothing to do with Roku, and everything to do with Hulu's licensing agreements. Hulu has the rights to show their non-plus shows on the internet, but NOT on set-top boxes or via streaming (to Roku, Internet-enabled TVs, game systems, or anything else). Agree or disagree with the pay model that Hulu+ is using, but the "+" refers to the ability to watch it on your television via these devices. They can't show the non-plus material because they don't have the rights to do that.

  • by diegocg (1680514) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @07:09PM (#34635528)

    It's just me, or Google is failing at everything that is not their core bussiness of search & ads?

    • by Nerdfest (867930)
      Their email and calendar solutions are very good, as is their browser. There's that YouTube thing ... and Android of course.
  • Google must be considering making it look like any Chrome browser out there. If they don't do that, it's probably come down to either:

    - it's hard to do. maybe they'd need Adobe cooperation to disguise the Flash plugin for GoogleTV. Adobe may not want to upset content providers.
    - they're afraid of confronting content providers, who may retaliate by blocking all Chrome browsers or switch to Silverlight, or...?

    Hopefully some hacking will resolve the issues. I like the interface. A big plus with GoogleTV compar

  • 200 Channels and nothing but cats...

  • by cmdr_tofu (826352) on Tuesday December 21, 2010 @07:54PM (#34635922) Homepage

    TV is fairly dead and I (and I imagine many many others as well) have not owned a TV or payed for Cable TV service in years.

    You can get all the relevant content online (podcasts and streaming mp4, youtube, download services, etc) or simply ordering/renting DVDs. I'd consider getting a Sony-GoogleTV, for the screen (I mean my Sun CRT is nice but..) and for Netflix (now I have to use an annoying Windows Virtualbox). Buyers beware it does not seem to have a VGA input only HDMI... The cheapest model I see is $600! Better wait until that CRT breaks :)

  • CUMBERSOME KEYBOARD?! This thing is more ergonomic and comfortable than my desktop keyboard. Sent from my Logitech Revue Google TV.
    • by jedidiah (1196)

      No. Some things just work best with a proper keyboard.

      Things like "search" is one of them.

      "10 foot interfaces" really fall on their face here.

      Given how well established PCs are, people should really be much less phobic when it comes to keyboards.

  • Everybody and his brother is in this business. Our Tivo streams Netflix, Amazon, what have you - it doesn't support Hulu (yet), although with a DVR I'm not sure what the value of that would be. Plus thanks to free tools like Handbrake, pyTivo and streambaby we have streaming access to ripped versions of all our DVDs on it as well. Right now I can't think of anything it doesn't do that I wish it did.

    Point is, as far as I can tell there's nothing particularly special Google TV offers that's not already availa

  • I would imagine that Google honors their own "don't play on tv, only play on a 'computer'" tags?  I ran into that on my WDTV box, and a 3rd party (legal) firmware update took care of it.  But will Google support hacking themselves?
  • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Wednesday December 22, 2010 @10:24AM (#34640716)
    and they want their WebTV back.

What this country needs is a good five cent microcomputer.

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