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Google TV 2.0 Review, Tweaks, and Screenshots 107

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-it-out dept.
DeviceGuru writes "Google and its Google TV 2.0 partners made quite a splash at CES this week. As a followup, this detailed blog post at DeviceGuru reviews Google TV 2.0's features, specs, apps, and flexible new user interface, and shows how you can add customized folders and shortcuts to the home screen for accessing hundreds of favorite apps and websites within a couple of mouse clicks."
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Google TV 2.0 Review, Tweaks, and Screenshots

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  • Google TV problem (Score:1, Informative)

    by TechGuys (2554082)
    Anyone who has ever used or read about the original Google TV would know that the problem wasn't about technical details, lack of customized folders and shortcuts or user interface and apps. You know what it was? The lack of content! Since Google didn't work out deals with content providers, all of them just started blocking Google TV. I don't care about whose fault it is, but since Apple TV and all the competitors have worked it out (hell, even Microsoft with Xbox360!), there is no point in buying Google T
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by cvtan (752695)
      Same comment applies to cable TV. 500 channels of nothing worth seeing.
      • Re:Google TV problem (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TechGuys (2554082) on Monday January 16, 2012 @09:22AM (#38712584)
        Well that just the same old elitist "nothing but junk on TV" line. In my opinion there are plenty of good shows on TV, in fact more than I even have time to watch. Saying that there is nothing good to watch is pretty much the same when old people are crumby about how everything was better before and teens can't behave now. Now I get off your lawn!
        • by SomePgmr (2021234) on Monday January 16, 2012 @09:40AM (#38712706) Homepage
          I can agree that there are shows worth watching on TV. My problem with cable is that, to see the 5 or 6 shows I like, I've to bump up through the packages until I'm spending $80+/mo just to see them. If there are 3 currently airing in any given month I'm paying something like $20 per show. The rest of what I watch is just fluff to have something playing in the background.

          I'm encouraged by Hulu, Netflix and now MSFT producing original content. At least one of the Hulu ones I've watched is actually good. I can only hope that more companies find ways to do it profitably and jump on board.
        • It doesnt even change from country to country. Indeed, you get 100 channels, and at most 10 out of that 100 is some watchable stuff, with 3 that out of ten are the real sellers that are put there to make people buy it (sports, some documentary channels, some major mainstream stuff), and rest 90 channels are just shit.

          even discovery channel had splintered itself to around 10 channels and diluted its content by spreading its noteworthy programs to those 10 channels, and 'marketing' them separately.

          reall
        • by jedidiah (1196)

          Nothing is on.

          A fancier real-time viewer is not going to change that fact.

          You need something to search through all of those 500 channels for weeks on end day and night to find the few things that are worth bothering with. If you just "channel surf", you are not likely to find anything.

          Unfiltered cable does seem like crap.

          You need a different kind of device. It's not GoogleTV. It's trying to solve the wrong problem.

        • by Snaller (147050)

          Well there is nothing but junk on TV, unless you have the mind of a teen.

    • From GoogleTV's Twitter [twitter.com]:

      can't say for sure but we are working with various networks to bring more stuff to GoogleTV. Keep your eyes peeled.

      I wonder what that comment is worth, but I don't think they will make the same mistake twice.

      • They've also said that google tv will be in half the tv sets made by some time this year. I'm going out on a limb and saying that if half the tv's sold have gtv in it and the networks dont figure out how to deliver their content to that at a profit then they're a bunch of idiots.

        Oh wait, they ARE a bunch of idiots. Well, stay tuned. Something is going to happen.

    • by Sepodati (746220) on Monday January 16, 2012 @09:21AM (#38712578) Homepage

      Why should there have to be deals made to watch Internet content on a box connected to my TV?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Google isn't accustomed to providing content; they're accustomed to linking to others' content.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        And profiting from others content by advertising around those links. That's the most important, and to content owners, offensive part.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Troll alert Troll alert Troll alert

      Hey, DCTech. Long time, no see.

      How's CmdPony? InsightBytes? What are some of the other ones you were using? Dave something? Doug? hmm...

      Why all the new accounts? Why do you need more than one? /. must be your training ground, because you really are shitty at this.

      Troll alert Troll alert Troll alert

      Still posting first, still being upmodded informative (obvious would be more like it. How be you tell us something new?)

      Obvious troll is obvious

      • by ilguido (1704434)
        You may have a point... I didn't notice the timestamp and the account number, but after reading your post I took a look at his posting history and I have to say that there's something fishy.
    • Uhm, since when Google TV is about consuming some content from the internet? It's an operating system for TVs! TV vendors are jumping on "let's have a TV OS" bandwagon, which is a great thing. (and no thanks, I don't want to have a separate ugly box, with its own power supply and yet another hdmi cable; "original Google TV" wasn't for me for exactly this reason) It's a big thing for TV manufacturers, TV officially turns into yet another PC. But there is next to no point for people who're ok with buyng yet
    • Re:Google TV problem (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pseudofrog (570061) on Monday January 16, 2012 @10:19AM (#38713010)
      Here we go again.

      Every time I click on a news story involving Google, I'm all but positive that the first post will be:
      a) Posted with a 2.5+ million UID
      b) Over 100 words long, yet still posted the same minute the story goes live
      c) Negative towards Google

      Here we go again. Welcome back CmdrPony / InsightIn140Bytes / DCTech. Happy shilling. Hope you karma manages to hold out for more than 4 days this time.
      • Regardless, he's not wrong. Google does have a legitimate content problem. They run the risk of being outfoxed by competitors with content deals - including the Xbox 360 of all things - if they can't get the cable providers on-board.

        • Yes, he actually is wrong. He is setting the problem up as "TV over the Internet should work exactly the same way as TV has for the last 100 years". It doesn't.

          And the insidiousness is that you can't even reason with him - he is being paid for his opinion, and no amount of logic will be able to change his advertisement (and yes, that's what it is) that Google is bad, and FB and MS are good.

    • by Volvogga (867092)

      There's lots to watch... and my Google TV puts it all together for me. Did I miss some promise where by getting my Revue, I was magically supposed to double the amount of "premium" and mainstream content I previously had access to?

      It is a middleman device between my cable box and my TV. Instead of using the 5+ year old, unresponsive, slow, and rather unattractive cable box guide to find something to watch, I can use this device to search for something to watch by name, genre, and a few other factors (and fo

    • So, you're suggesting they stop working on things they can control and send all of their people to the broadcaster waiting rooms?

      It's not a Google should do this or Google should do that. The studios and broadcasters are actively blocking Google TV from even using Hulu or NBC.com.

      This isn't a Google issue. Just like if Sony told Apple to go stuff iTunes, there would be no Sony music on iTunes. The Beatles were not on iTunes for a long time, and it wasn't the fault of Apple. They didn't want on iTunes fo

      • "The studios and broadcasters are actively blocking Google TV from even using Hulu or NBC.com"

        Yes. So what you're left with is

        "And, unless you ignore the fact that Amazone video and Netflix among many others are available on Google TV, Google TV offers at least as much"

        Sure, which means it's competing head to head with devices that are

        1) less expensive
        2) have more content (last I checked, iTunes has more than Amazon, at least here in Canuckia)
        3) easier to use
        4) doesn't need a frigging keyboard

        So the questio

        • Let's hit all of these, because they are good questions:

          1) less expensive

          Neither an iTV nor an XBox will be cheaper than a Google TV device, which will most likely be built in. Also, if it is built into a DVD/BluRay player, that's 2 advantages over both iTV and XBox. Anyone think an iTV integrated TV will be cheap? ;)

          2) have more content (last I checked, iTunes has more than Amazon, at least here in Canuckia)

          Yes, but will iTV support Pandora and upcoming versions of Spotify? Will it have Twitter, G+, and Facebook apps? Google TV content is not restricted to rental movies and shows. Will iTV make Apps available

    • If you root your google TV (thus voiding the warranty, at least in the Logitech Revue where it required soldering to root the box) you can trivially hack around this problem.

      Once the box is rooted, you just change the flash player ID. Then Hulu and their droogies can no longer can tell you aren't a Windows PC running IE, so you aren't blocked.

      Refusing to actually understand and abide by the Open Source value proposition is what sunk previous versions of Google TV. If logitech had an "SSH login enable" che

      • by packslash (788926)
        yah that's a sweet solution for my mother. brb having a soldiering iron shipped to her house.
        • 'Zactly my point. When llogitech closed off their GoogleTV box they ruined the product for your mom.

          They don't understand what they are selling, and how to make it profitable.

    • The problem with GTV1.0 (apart from being available almost no place, and an exorbitant cost) was

      1. They did not have the market on it - and actively fought people from sideloading
      2. Had done absolutely nothing to make a powerful LOCAL media player

      So you couldn't watch much online and nothing offline, and so you had an expensive piece of crap.

      This time it seems they will allow people to install (and thus the hackers of the world can bypass any block)

      But if they don't get it right this time there is no point

    • Once Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility is complete, they will be able to integrate their technology into Motorola cable boxes, which are the most common cable boxes in the US. Then things will really start to change.
  • by psergiu (67614) on Monday January 16, 2012 @09:13AM (#38712542)

    What about the early adopters who bought the original Google TV boxes - is there a firmware update available to bring the new features to them ? Or they are supposed to chuck them to the garbage bin and buy new ones ?

    • by VMaN (164134)

      Garbage.. Because once newer models come out the older firmware gets corrupted and the device becomes bricked.

      • by tepples (727027)
        An device that relies on Internet services and receives no updates to work with the changes to the protocols of said services is as good as bricked.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      By Google TV box , do you mean Logitech Revue? Then yes, the update was released towards the end of last year. If you do not see the update, go to Settings --> About --> Software Update. You should get a message saying Update available. Click that and you should have the update at the end of it.

      • by psergiu (67614)

        That's the last year update - also mentioned in the beginning of TFA. But all the bells & whistles are described for "upcoming hardware in 2012".

    • by Kamiza Ikioi (893310) on Monday January 16, 2012 @11:00AM (#38713398) Homepage

      I bought a Logitech Revue, and we've finally received the last update. We probably won't receive the next. Then again, the hardware is a little light to provide much else beyond what it does now. For $99 it was an awesome deal. It's a huge step up from BluRay's that play Netflix and Pandora, and easier than Roku (in my opinion, your mileage may vary).

      I might augment it when Simple TV comes out (the OTA DVR featured at CES this year).

  • by Dupple (1016592) on Monday January 16, 2012 @09:42AM (#38712718)

    The link in the summary says one thing from google. Here's a thought from someone who isn't from google saying something about google

    http://gigaom.com/video/google-tv-ces/ [gigaom.com]

    The last paragraph reads

    While it’s clear that the CE industry needs to do something to fight fragmentation between the dozen or so smart TV platforms, it seems unlikely that Google TV will be its savior in the near future. Google might have more partners than it did a year ago, but they’re hardly adopting the platform en masse. Unless something drastic happens, don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

    Very poor of slashdot to drink the Koolaid like this.

  • Based on Honeycomb (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigsexyjoe (581721) on Monday January 16, 2012 @09:45AM (#38712744)

    I think everyone knows that HoneyComb (Android 3.0) is a stop gap Google made because Ice Cream (Android 4.0) wasn't ready. Since HoneyComb is a code dead-end, that will be abandoned after Android 4.0 comes out, isn't it clear we should wait for a Google TV based off Ice Cream or a later version of Android?

  • Still Junk (Score:4, Informative)

    by na1led (1030470) on Monday January 16, 2012 @09:47AM (#38712760)
    I have a Logitech Revue with the new Google TV 2.0 and I still don't have access to many of the Streaming Channels I have on my Roku (like Hulu plus). The DLNA Media Player doesn't work, menu navigation is cumbersome, and the search feature doesn't work with Netflix. It just doesn't seem polished for TV. It's like using my Android Phone on my TV and having to navigate with a touchpad keyboard, not something my kids or wife could easily use. I think Google missed the boat with this one!
    • by Hohlraum (135212)

      The search does work kinda. If you search for something that is on netflix it will show up as a tv series. If you launch that result and its available on netflix it will show up as a 'watch now' option inside that app. But I agree it is cumbersome.

    • That's funny. My wife and kids have no problem using the Logitech Revue. Granted, they can't find as many shows as I can to stream, but it still works for them. I don't pay for Hulu plus, so that's not an issue for me. The media player also has no problem playing any media file I have on my network. I guess some people just have different experiences?
  • by Jagen (30952) on Monday January 16, 2012 @10:04AM (#38712876) Homepage

    I've heard the article, seen the videos, digested the spiel, but I still don't see why I'd want a Google TV box.
    It's a standalone box that isn't a DVR, isn't a games console and doesn't play physical media like DVDs/BRs. And it was $300 at launch, did they seriously think they had a winner there?
    It seems to be a solution to a problem that no one else thinks is a problem, if it had a least been integrated with a physical media player, or DVR (and I mean been a DVR, not sort of linked up to an external unit), it could have been justified as a replacement for something I already had, as it was it was just another expensive device wanting one of the limited HDMI ports on my TV.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I had the same thoughts as you when it first launched. I was in the room at I/O when they announced it and my comment to my co-worker was, "unless they're giving one to everyone, there's no way I'd ever buy that." They didn't give us one that day, but a few months later an email arrived offering developers like me a free Revue.

      I've since come to really like it. It's one of two boxes I know of (the other being TiVo) that are not delusional enough to believe that Cable/Satellite is going away any time soon. W

    • by nanospook (521118)
      Actually, Sony has integrated it with a DVR for $199 (US). I bought one and while I fully agree that the Google TV part is just a joke as far as content goes, it does play Blue Ray!
    • by wasme (35127)

      The point is to unify the TV/DVD/blu-ray firmware ecosystem.

      Google doesn't want to sell you a box. Although GoogleTV is available to Logitech and Roku and others to make boxes the real long term goal is to get GoogleTV to run *on the TVs themselves*. (And on DVD and blu-ray players.)

      Right now each tv manufacturer writes its own firmware. My parents recently got an LG tv & home theater system which runs it's own special LG firmware which has it's own special UI and connects to it's own special LG app sto

    • by cthulhu11 (842924)
      $300 is indeed overpriced. I would have rather spent $100 or whatever on a Roku for playing files over the net rather than $200 for a Boxee Box, but the latter has superior format compatibility, and $200 for a BB was more palatable to my wife than $500 for an Oppo BD player that may have still required hoops to just mount and play files on a local system, if it could at all. DVR - no appeal to me, we watch 1-2 game shows on a single OTA station and don't care if we miss one. Physical media: have an exist
  • by pcause (209643) on Monday January 16, 2012 @10:06AM (#38712902)

    I saw this demo'ed at CES and Google made a serious mistake in capability. it turns out you can run only a small set of applications available on the market on Google TV 2.0. The reason for the limited selection is that Google TV 2.0 doesn't support touch/multi-touch. I asked the Google TV person why they weren't supporting multi-touch (at least 2 finger touch) from Bluetooth keyboards/keypads that could provide this capability and hence open up pretty much the full market to Google TV 2.0. he said the capability wasn't in the OS/libraries at all because some OEMs - he specifically mentioned Sony - couldn't support it in their devices. What an amazingly stupid decision. Build the capability into the OS and let the manufacturers with half a brain support it. Users will get most of the market apps and developers will have their lives made simpler as opposed to having yet another Android fragmentation issue to deal with. A truly stupid decision.

    • by SomePgmr (2021234)
      Yeah that's a little silly. I guess the upside is that it's something that can be fixed in software if the users really want it.
    • by rsborg (111459)

      I asked the Google TV person why they weren't supporting multi-touch (at least 2 finger touch) from Bluetooth keyboards/keypads that could provide this capability and hence open up pretty much the full market to Google TV 2.0. he said the capability wasn't in the OS/libraries at all because some OEMs - he specifically mentioned Sony - couldn't support it in their devices. What an amazingly stupid decision.

      The reality is that "touch" requires very rapid response in order to work. The mouse was popularized because it abstracted the "touch" using an onscreen pointer... this worked for decades while touch-based technology (disintermediating the onscreen pointer) floundered.

      How would you abstract a two-finger touch to a relevant touch even on the display?

    • by cthulhu11 (842924)
      Do you REALLY need such a complex interface to interact with a TV for watching Netflix?
  • by Junior Samples (550792) on Monday January 16, 2012 @10:34AM (#38713124)

    There was no mention of support for common networking protocols such as CIFS (SMB) or NFS file systems. I need the ability to navigate and play my networked media files just like I can through any computer attached to my network. DLNA was mentioned, but DLNA's file restrictions make the networking protocol totally useless. DLNA is defective by design.

    It's nice to see that MKV files are supported, unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any way to directly access the files over a networked connection.

    • by Curupira (1899458)
      What? I can play DLNA just fine over my wireless network (last-year Samsung Smart TV accessing my NAS). I can open mkv, avi and other file formats just fine. DLNA does _not_ restrict file formats. It _mandates_ a small list of file formats (h264 and such), but the manufacturer is free to support more formats, as Samung does.
      • My ReadyNAS NV has a DLNA server built-in. I played with it for a while. After scanning in the media files, Less than 5% were visible at the DLNA client (Sony XBR9). Only a few of those were playable. The organized directory structure of the media files was lost was lost. The files appeared in an unorganized list with no directories.

        I normally use a Popcornhour C200 via NFS to access my media library. No streaming - just direct access. SMB is a little slower than NFS. I had problems with some of the

        • by na1led (1030470)
          I have a D-Link DNS-320 NAS with similar issues. It doesn't index properly and only shows a fraction of the videos you have stored. I believe Logitech has admitted there is a problem working with NAS, they blame Google for course.
        • by zeroduck (691015)
          I have absolutely no problem with the DLNA server on the ReadyNAS NV+. I can see the DLNA share from my computer, and it works as expected from my WDTV. If you're seeing a flat list of files, it is probably a setting on your client. The structure that I see is the actual folder structure of the directory the DLNA server scans.
      • by jedidiah (1196)

        Yeah. It doesn't "restrict" things, it "mandates" things.

        [rolls eyes]

        If you a device that can handle normal PC file sharing protocols then DLNA is redundant. Then just handle the files any way you like. It's a solution from a pre-PC mindset that's a little dated now that every little device is pretty much a PC running Unix.

  • Great article by DeviceGuru, but he didn't look at the software remotes like Able Remote: https://market.android.com/details?id=com.entertailion.android.remote [android.com] With this app you can use your Android phone as a remote control for Google TV.
    • It appears to be Market-only, which sucks for people who recently bought an Archos 43 and don't yet have a $420/year smartphone bill or even a Samsung Galaxy Player in their immediate budget.
  • GTV Works for Me (Score:4, Informative)

    by rshol (746340) on Monday January 16, 2012 @11:28AM (#38713758)

    I have a Revue purchased late last year for $99 and upgraded to 2.0. Here are my answers to some of the issues posted above.

    1) CIFS/SMB easily supported using File Expert. Sees and opens the SMB shares on my Ubuntu media server just fine.

    2) DLNA also works. The Logitech DLNA client works just fine with both MiniDLNA and Media Tomb. The limitation is the codecs supported by Android. If Android will play it you can get it via DLNA.

    3) Plex is even easier. Set up a plex server, install plex on the Revue and, voila, streaming video. Plex promises that shortly (ha) it will overcome most codec limitations.

    That said I don't want to watch Hulu or some of the other sites others are interested in. I want Amazon streaming video (well supported) and ESPN. Amazon is well supported and ESPN is reasonably will supported. The problem with ESPN is in Flash and, as I understand it, is partially a problem of Adobe, Google, ESPN and hardware. There are some glitches on all fronts, one of the most important is that when Flash sites are coded they make assumptions about the minimum level of hardware available on the client (memory, processor speed, storage) that the Revue does not meet.

    So for me its a win. Amazon + 90% ESPN + excellent integration with my Dish box + full web browser + personal movies and photos. Your mileage may vary.

  • I'm so excited I get Gmail, Gcal, GoogleMAP, googleVOICE, and in one convenience FOLDER? Folder???? meh...

  • What I really really wanted when I bought my Sony Blue Ray Google TV box (and I knew I might be disappointed) was the ability to hook a web cam via USB and SKYPE using my 60 inch TV. As suspected, I was totally disappointed. I still have to hook my laptop up with wires all over the place. There's no apps for Skyping that I could find. Skype apparently has their own hardware market for Skyping from a TV and doesn't plan to share it with Google TV. Their devices cost a ridiculous amount of money for one solut
  • All this discussion above is missing the point about owning and watching TV. The key differentiation factor nowadays is not content or interface ! These have become commodities, so a Google TV will bring nothing new to the market, except that I can now use all Google Android apps from my TV set...meh ! The fundamental factor is that nothing revolutionary has happened to way we watch and interact with our tv sets since...ever ! A Tv set nowadays is not about how many channels I have, nowadays is about how

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