Apple TV, Google TV - Is 2012 the Year They Take Off?


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We've heard it before and nothing happened, but that doesn't necessarily mean it won't, right? I'm referring to the idea of Internet TV that has, up to this point, failed to really take off. But, is 2012 the year that this trend could change? There is a lot of speculation and rumors that indicate that it could.

The concept behind Internet TV is fascinating but many of the early offerings lacked luster. The products that have taken off are the Internet video boxes such as Roku, Boxee, and Apple TV.

Do you currently use an Internet TV device? If so, are you happy with it?

This year, the opportunity is said to lie in TV sets with built-in Internet connectivity. The reason for this is largely a result of the shift in consumer behavior. The trend has gone from viewing online entertainment through a desktop to viewing it through mobile and tablet devices. From all indications, the next shift will be to the living room.

At this time, Samsung, Sony, Sharp, LG, and Panasonic all have connected TVs on the market, but there are reports that Apple will release a TV set later this year. In addition, based on what Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said at the Le Web conference, Google TV will be integrated into the majority of televisions by this summer.

(He begins talking about Google TV around 38 minutes in)

In order for 2012 to be the year for Web TVs to become mainstream, consumers will have to be educated on what they are. For this to happen, the consumer electronics companies will have to use effective marketing strategies to create a need for consumers to want connected TVs.

If this happens, it will, no doubt, open many doors for hardware makers, content providers, and others. However, there are questions that remain such as, what will happen to the Internet video boxes that have been, up to this point, primarily responsible for the success of Internet? While this could be a very real concern, it appears that companies such as Roku have already taken this into consideration.

Earlier this week, the company announced the Roku Streaming Stick that plugs directly into a TV and transforms it into a Smart TV. Users will be able to purchase the Roku Streaming Stick later this year, but it will also be available as a bundle with Best Buy's Insignia TV. According to the company blog, Roku is working to secure more partnerships with other TV manufacturers.

While only time will tell if 2012 is, in fact, the year that connected TVs take off, hopefully, we'll have a better idea of what to expect after next week's Consumer Electronics Show.

Would you be willing to buy a connected TV this year? Let us know.