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Google TV Details Revealed 180

Today Google provided new information about their upcoming Google TV platform for set-top boxes. Using a video and a demonstration site, they show how apps will look and function, and stressed that users wouldn't be limited in their ability to browse the web on their TV. Google also announced content partners, which include Turner Broadcasting, NBC Universal, HBO, Netflix and Amazon Video. "We have also been working with some leading technology and media companies to optimize their content for Google TV, including news sites like The New York Times and USA Today; music sites like VEVO, Pandora and Napster; information networks like Twitter; and online networks like And with YouTube Leanback, we can offer the best experience for you to watch your favorite viral videos and personalized channels on the television." For developers, they put up a guide to optimize websites for Google TV.
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Google TV Details Revealed

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  • by BabyDuckHat ( 1503839 ) on Monday October 04, 2010 @02:52PM (#33786730)
    You: Put the kids to bed and make some popcorn. It's viral video night!
    Spouse: Great, I just love watching my favorite viral videos!
    You: Me too!
    Spouse: I love you honey.
    • by by (1706743) ( 1706744 ) on Monday October 04, 2010 @03:00PM (#33786844)

      You: Put the kids to bed and make some popcorn. It's viral video night!
      Spouse: Great, I just love watching my favorite viral videos!
      You: Me too!
      Spouse: I love you honey.

      You: I sent you a link to a really awesome viral video, let's watch that, ok?
      Spouse: Great idea, my lovey-dov...
      Spouse: I'm filing for divorce.

      • You: Put the kids to bed and make some popcorn. It's viral video night! Spouse: Great, I just love watching my favorite viral videos! You: Me too! Spouse: I love you honey.

        You: I sent you a link to a really awesome viral video, let's watch that, ok? Spouse: Great idea, my lovey-dov... Google TV: NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP / NEVER GONNA... Spouse: I'm filing for divorce.

        You: I thought that song seemed romantic. It was about a guy never giving up, never letting down, never running around and hurting, never making you cry, and never saying good bye.

      • by gknoy ( 899301 )

        I know you jest, but I would imagine that the perfect match for someone who would rickroll their spouse would be someone who would get up and sing it with them too.... Darn you for getting that song stuck back in my head. :)

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by hex0D ( 1890162 )
      You: Do you love me THIS much?

      [puts on pornTube]

    • You mean like America's Funniest Home Videos? That's more or less what viral videos are. Me and my girlfriend watched Censored Count last night along with numerous other similar videos for a half an hour.

  • by yodleboy ( 982200 ) on Monday October 04, 2010 @02:53PM (#33786744)
    That's all i really want, my Roku box with the added ability to stream video from my box o' hard drives to my TV. The Roku box is cheap, small, low power drain, silent and can handle new content when they add additional channels such as amazon. Its one shortcoming for me has been that I can't use it to access media that's NOT on the internet.

    give me this and i'll buy one for every room with a TV.
    • by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Monday October 04, 2010 @03:05PM (#33786904)

      Have you tried Roksbox [] yet? See also the link [] from the Roku forums.

      It's a bit limited in terms of media formats relative to your average PC, but should handle well-formed MP4, MOV, M4V, or WMV files. So you may need to convert some of your existing video files to get everything working properly.

    • by wizbit ( 122290 ) on Monday October 04, 2010 @03:09PM (#33786948)

      It's called the Boxee Box []. I know, I know, Google TV et al will eat its lunch eventually, but it basically does everything you claim to want. At $200, it's cheaper than upgrading my home media player (though I don't know about "one for every room").

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by yodleboy ( 982200 )
        well that's where it falls apart, $200 per room. ouch. I got my roku for $99. that's what i'd consider cheap.
      • by Dr. Blue ( 63477 )

        I have an LG blu ray player that does netflix streaming as well as a couple of streaming pay-per-view places (vudu and cinemanow). It does pandora and some other things (like a low res verison of youtube - why can't they get HD when it's available???), AND plays from DLNA local network shares. And, of course, is a blu ray player. It sells for right around $150 on Amazon now. Why would anyone by a Boxee box for $50 more?
        That said, I've actually been holding off on a new TV purchase to see what the new So

    • Its one shortcoming for me has been that I can't use it to access media that's NOT on the internet.

      That's a rather large shortcoming...

    • by Optic7 ( 688717 ) on Monday October 04, 2010 @03:58PM (#33787600)

      According to this article on Engadget: []

      Roku tells us it'll be adding additional support for DLNA streaming in the future, and with various DLNA-compatible devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the Motorola Droid X, and LG Optimus Windows Phone 7 handset either out or on their way to market, it could present a solid alternative to Apple's AirPlay. We weren't able to test any DLNA features, though, since they're not currently available -- the potential is there, but Roku has to execute.

      I wish for the same. The Roku is where it's at right now in terms of an internet TV set-top box. The Google TV could also be interesting, but let's wait to see it working and how much the set-top boxes are going to cost.

    • The roku is just in america from a little tin pot company.
      Google TV is for the world - with huge company and millions of dollars behind it - plus millions of Android developers just waiting to get their hands on it.

      Its not about you. Its about everybody else.

  • Or is it just DishTV users? Because otherwise how is it different from my old desktop running Boxee? :\

    Look, I'm usually an unabashed Google fanboy, and even I think this is silly.

    • Okay, just read on Logitech's website about a sort of "Harmony remote," that will send commands simultaneously to both whatever you're using for tuning AND the GoogleTV at the same time. That might work.

      • The Harmony remotes kick all sorts of ass. Got one for my dad a few years ago. Now he has one remote which does TV, Cable, Home Theater, VCR/DVD, etc. They take a bit of time to program, (CD with USB cable, look up device codes on the internet, etc.) but once set up, they are amazing. They even have troubleshooting built in. If something doesn't turn on/off, or your tuner/TV isn't on the right channel, the remote figures it out with a bit of user-input. I'd rather have hard buttons to press, but for technop
    • Now why would it need a TV tuner? It's not going to get the content from from an OTA antenna, and it's not going to get it from DishTV either. It's going to get it from the interwebs!

      How is it different from your desktop w/Boxee? It's going to have a power plug, a video/audio plug, and an Ethernet plug. My grand mama can plug it in and watch dancing babies on Youtube. No OS to install, no drivers to load, just grab the remote and surf for brain-numbing "entertainment."

      • The nice thing with the Dish interface is that you can search your DVR, as well as the program guide, and setup recordings, etc.
      • But how long until the caps bite grandma in the ass? All this reminds me of the whole "On the Internet!" dotbomb bubble, although this one will probably be worse. You see for all these services to actually work reasonably well you are gonna need massive amounts of bandwidth and I just don't see the cable/DSL duopoly tripping over themselves to run massive fiber everywhere. Hell even Verizon has slowed down FIOS rollout because it so expensive.

        So while I wish them luck, as one of those stuck in a "test mark

        • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

          Switch to DSL.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          I think the issues of bandwidth and data caps need to be separated. Bandwidth issues can be dealt with easily enough with caching. Much in the same way I 'program' my PVR to select the shows I want to 'record' I should be able to just select the programs I want to download. The programs would download and cache on my box 24/7 in the background. Might not work for time-sensitive programming like the Super Bowl or the finale of Survivor, but would work for most everything else.

          Data caps are a separat
        • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Monday October 04, 2010 @03:49PM (#33787496) Homepage Journal
          "So while I wish them luck, as one of those stuck in a "test market" for caps to cable (which BTW is 36Gb!) I foresee everyone ending up on a "pay by the Mb" plan with a lousy cap, which will kill this, that "gaming streamed...on the Internet!" bunch, and pretty much anything else that isn't offered by the duopoly and thus cap free. Must be nice having a monopoly like the cable/DSL companies."

          Why not do what I do...just get a "business" connection. I do this with my local cable only $70/mo, no caps, no limitations, I can run all the servers I please...AND as a bonus, they can't filter the line (would mess with my contracted throughput amounts), you can get all the free extended basic tv channels, and can scan with QAM tuner for all free (local) HD channels.

          At least...that's what I hear one can do.

          But really, get a business connection, the fees aren't that much more, and I get a low level SLA and have had no problems getting them to call ME back after leaving a service call when I've had a problem here or there.

          • >>>"business" connection. I do this with my local cable co..
            >>>At least...that's what I hear one can do.

            So which is it?

          • A business line here is $200! and gets you a grand total of 100Gb on the cap. Nice idea, no thanks. And from what I've been told many places here in the south are being used as "test markets" for what WILL be rolling out nation wide. so enjoy your cheap connection friends, because it looks like the party will soon be over. Sadly thanks to no net neutrality it looks like big content will win the Internetz, as they will simply have no cap on THEIR content, while pounding you in the ass (going over is $1.50 PE

        • >>>how long until the caps bite grandma in the ass?

          That's grandpa's job, but I see your point. Verizon doesn't cap me (yet) but I'm sure it's only a matter of time. For what it's worth: There's no cap on broadcast television. My DVR can record 2 channels 24 hours a day without limit. Cost: $0.00 monthly

        • Yeah, this is what I don't get about all these streaming based services from netflix to roku to Apple TV to Google TV, or even Pandora for that matter. They are all based on unlimited bandwidth which is really just a temporary abberation of the broadband market in the US where for a short time it made sense to offer people "all you can eat" plans on basis that almost nobody would use it. The minute even 10 per cent of people start using more than a 20GB / month you're going to see caps all over the pl

          • That's why I couldn't believe so many here on /. were "poo poo, free market, poo poo" when it came to net neutrality, because I have seen first hand how lack of net neutrality can quickly twist your choices thanks to bandwidth caps. For some examples, if I want to use Vonage? counts against the cap. The cableco's phone? don't count. If I want to use a Mac or Linux? Updates count against the cap. MSFT? don't, even if I use Autopatcher to download every single patch for EVERY current OS from XP32- Windows 7 X

      • Please tell me how I can watch shows like Mad Men and Trueblood, when they air, using a completely legal method via the interwebs.

        I'm waiting. :P

        Until then, I'm going to need a TV tuner so I can use my existing cable connection.

        • It appears to basically do video pass-through with an IR blaster to your satellite box. So it doesn't need a tuner, it just uses your satellite box for tuning. But it can do picture-in-picture type stuff with video and internet as the video passes through it.

          At least, that's what it looks like.

        • by yotto ( 590067 )

          I think you described a perfectly reasonable reason to pay for cable.

          Likewise, being willing to abandon one of those (for me it's the "when they air" clause) things to lose the cable bill is also perfectly reasonable.

  • Alone? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 04, 2010 @03:18PM (#33787076)

    Though I like to think that I'm very, very different in my viewing preferences than the millions of other folks in the country, this is probably not the case.

    My favorite genre is science fiction and fantasy, some documentaries, occasional thrillers. Bonus if it's a sci-fi/fantasy thriller.

    I got rid of my cable feed because I found that I was only watching a couple channels -- Discovery and Sci-Fi. My daughter watched Disney on occasion but I would pay not to have Zack and Cody's voice ever heard in my household again.

    I want to watch Doctor Who, but it's not available. So I catch it on Netflix instant. I wanted to catch Dual Survival and the new Les Stroud series, but it's on at either Monday or Friday but I can't tell because it's switched around all the time. And on Fridays, believe it or not, I'm usually at the movies for my weekly movie night with the family (this week it will be Let Me In). I wanted to catch True Blood because I heard it's great. Alas, to get HBO requires that I get some Premiere package which would cost another $30/month and even then I'm not about to make a television show dictate when I'm home.

    I get the distinct feeling that the networks are actively trying to make viewing television a painful experience.

    Anyhoo, I'm hoping that Google TV will provide on-demand, current shows. I think viewership will skyrocket if viewers can determine where and when they want to watch a movie. Heck, the ability to choose a target demographic for advertising purposes should make the network execs salivate.

    Choices now are:
      Netflix instant, but their selection is pretty atrocious.
      AppleTV - but it's more expensive than I am willing to pay
      Miro - content is of varying quality
      torrents - great content, great price, great picture quality, not legal and risk of malware sites

    • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

      If you think the Netflix selection is atrocious (assuming you live in the USA) then never look at what they offer us up north (Canada).

      I'll have watched everything worth watching before my free month is over. And at the rate they're adding worthwhile things to watch, I should be able to pay a single month in about one year to catch up on their list.

      To be fair, the licensing rights in Canada are even worst than in the USA. I bet Netflix isn't to blame for the poor selections in either countries.

      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        They have thousands of old movies and tv shows. I am watching my way through all of Stargate recently. Unless you must have only new material, how in the heck would you get through it in your lifetime much less a month?

        • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

          I think you missed the "worth watching" and "Canada" part of my reply.

          Go ahead, search for Stargate all you want. In fact, search Stargate, Seinfeld or even older shows like Cheers. I think Netflix Canada only has 10% of what you get in the USA. And not the good 10% either.

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      Netflix has the trueblood dvds, my girl friend is currently eating up all 3 dvds by mail that way.

    • Re:Alone? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Keruo ( 771880 ) on Monday October 04, 2010 @03:29PM (#33787238)

      AppleTV - but it's more expensive than I am willing to pay

      Is it really? I paid $100 for my 1st gen appletv, threw in $40 for the broadcom crystalhd chip, installed linux with XBMC on it and it works great. It took few hours of tinkering but now it plays 1080p smoothly.

    • >>>I got rid of my cable feed because I found that I was only watching a couple channels --

      Ditto. I used to like history and animal planet, but neither is as good as they used to be (History isn't history anymore). So the only channel I was still watching was Sci-Fi and I could stream those shows off hulu, or buy on DVD for much cheaper, so why pay ~$800/year to Comsucks?

    • by cshay ( 79326 )
      Depending on where you live, there might be good programming in over the air HDTV. The cable company has unfortunately manage to get a monopoly on a couple sports channels (and baseball games) that I can't get anywhere else, but I just decided that I am not giving comcast $100/month to watch approximately 20 hours of exclusive content per month.
      • This past weekend I got to see all kinds of baseball and football games over Free TV. The cable channels haven't locked them all up

  • I'm still exclusively interested in finding out what video formats are available. I have an extensive library of h.264 encoded movies for Apple TV. I don't want to buy or stream movies from these services on my sad internet connection, I want to properly enjoy what I already have. And I'm tired of converting movies.

    Oh, and how metadata for my videos will be handled. MetaX for tagging in my iTunes library and Boxee's backwards method both work. What does Google do?
    • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

      I'm curious for a similar reason. MythTV, despite supporting multiple tuner types, doesn't fully support multiple tuner types at once (you can't create recording profiles for anything but the first device), so my HD-PVR is stuck recording at the default: 1080i with about 9Mbps average data rate, baseline profile. It is right up against the bounds of what is practical to play back without GPU acceleration, and even then, it sucks up between 1.25 and 1.5 cores of a 2.25 GHz Core 2 Duo.

      BTW, if anybody knows

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ingenium13 ( 162116 )
      GoogleTV doesn't support DLNA streaming, so there's no way to play content stored on your network. For me, this is a deal breaker and will drive me to Boxee (or Roku if they add DLNA support soon) when it launches. I was excited about GoogleTV until I learned this...too bad.
  • I hope they release an API so it can be integrated into MythTV. Get the best of both without having to change devices.
  • by alta ( 1263 ) on Monday October 04, 2010 @03:23PM (#33787134) Homepage Journal

    For so long we've longed for the use of vector graphics in websites because it reduces size so much. We finally have major browsers that fully support SVG. Flash also gives you vector graphics. Now the second to last suggestion... Avoid vector graphics. Use bitmapps because they're easier on the CPU.

    Before all we worried about was load time. There was no 'processing' past the intial page load, or at least nothing substantial. Everyone was optimizing the hell out of their gif's and jpgs. Low bandwidth was our enemy. Now Vector images are bad, we have plenty of bandwidth, but ironically they're worried about a weak CPU...

    So weird.

    • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gmail.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Monday October 04, 2010 @04:05PM (#33787668) Homepage Journal

      Now Vector images are bad, we have plenty of bandwidth

      Not necessarily. How big would Strong Bad's emails get if they were converted from SWF vector animation to H.264 compressed bitmaps? I've done tests on other SWF animations, and conversion to video bloated them by a factor of ten.

      • How do vector graphics reduce space?

          GIFs and JPGS can be squeezed to just a few K. I'm confused why you'd say vectors are simpler.

    • by djradon ( 105400 )

      Comparing vector to raster is like apples and oranges, but that's an interesting observation... the choke point for graphics has shifted way up. it's because vectors are like blueprints (and the cpu cycles are like fantastic builders) whereas raster is a less-dimensional structure that can be easily displayed and copied, but not easily manipulated.

  • by spudnic ( 32107 )

    So I can't use it as a DVR unless I am on Dish? It says it integrates with my existing cable box? What is it talking about there?

    I think I'll stick to my TiVo if this is the case. TiVo paired up with pyTivo gives me everything I need and has for years.

  • No content (Score:5, Insightful)

    by StubNewellsFarm ( 1084965 ) on Monday October 04, 2010 @03:50PM (#33787516)
    Lest you be deceived by the article summary, let's run down the content:
    • Turner Broadcasting and NBC Universal: No, they're not providing shows. They're just updating their websites, so that you can view them on your TV.
    • HBO: Yes, you get HBO shows on demand. If you already subscribe to HBO. This is perfect for all 10 people who went for the high-end cable package but who don't have a DVR.
    • Netflix and Amazon on demand: Just like pretty much every internet-connected box produced in the last 3 years.

    I don't want a web browser on my TV. I do want a way to ditch my cable TV and still get access to shows on demand. So far, at least, this doesn't get us any closer than Apple TV, Roku, Boxee or anyone else.

    • The one thing it does beyond the others is put 3rd party apps on the TV. It's an open question whether this turns out to be useful, but it does open the way for, for example, content producers to make apps which they control to give you content on demand. We'll see.

    • by Snaller ( 147050 )

      "I don't want a web browser on my TV."

      Its not about you.

      "I do want a way to ditch my cable TV and still get access to shows on demand."

      There are bittorrent programs for Android. Run them on your TV and have it download torrents - can't be more on demand than that.

    • I want a web browser on my TV. TV is garbage. I want to watch TED, and news related content on my TV. To hell with the rest of that crap.

      See... opinions can differ :-)
  • by dbet ( 1607261 )
    Currently, I run a DVI + mini-jack to my TV and just use my computer. That's about $10 for the wires and the DVI goes about 30 feet. It might go more, I haven't tried, but at 30 feet I have no observable signal loss. Add in the possible cost of a second (or third) video card, and a TV box has to beat that to be worth it. Add in other $20-ish for a media remote for your computer.

    The best part is it plays every single format with no start-up time (even a DVD takes a while to load, skip commercials, etc
  • Open Source?  From Sony and Logitech???

    What gives?
  • But the real question is... will I be able to use Google TV to watch Hulu on my TV?

    I already have a Tivo, so I already have a way to record live TV, access Netflix, watch Amazon VOD, YouTube, etc. And with pyTivo I can watch videos that I downloaded to my PC from the web. All that is missing is Hulu.

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard