I’m more than a little scared for Google TV. The company didn’t mention their attempt at invading the living room once during either Google I/O keynotes. While we could devote an entire article to what Google’s indifference towards Google TV means for them and consumers, we’re here to talk about the good news. It seems that Google isn’t totally blowing off Google TV because they announced some improvements that might help the platform become a more viable option.
Over on the Google TV blog, the team announced that Google TV is getting some great new features. First and foremost, users will soon be able to take advantage of Google Play in its entirety for entertainment choices. Users will finally be able to stream movies and TV shows from Google Play to their Google TV while sharing their purchased content across devices like tablets and phones.
While more options for entertainment is great, one of Google TV’s weaknesses was its lack of hardware support. Sony made a valiant first effort, but a lot of people don’t want to buy a brand new TV just for a software upgrade. That’s why Sony, Vizio and LG are all launching Google TV set-top boxes so that consumers won’t have to buy an expensive TV anymore to get access to the features in Google TV. Vizio’s recently announced CO-Star is definitely the best deal at $99 and is aiming directly for the Apple TV.
Of course, Google TV requires support from developers to be great. Software sells hardware and if Google can prove that they have the apps, people will buy Google TV hardware. To help speed things along, Google has released a whole new set of tools like APIs, libraries and custom code to help developers get the most out of the Google TV architecture. Building an app specifically for a TV is challenging, but it could just be the next big market. Developers might want to jump on before it takes off especially if Apple comes out with their oft-rumored iTV.
It was unfortunate that Google didn’t give their TV platform any chance to shine. The news here kind of makes up for it, but I hope that Google actually addresses the problems with Google TV in the future and announces some new product to make it worth it. If they can work with various OEMs like Asus and Samsung to make the Nexus 7 and Nexus phone, they could surely create a Nexus TV.