Google TV could be an exciting new search and video service or it could be just another Web TV experience with a tepid reception, joining Microsoft and Apple in a market yearning for more consumers. Gartner analyst Van Baker isn't impressed, having watched many products and services geared to blend TV and Web fail. Perhaps Google TV will be an Android platform that lets users easily jump back and forth between watching their favorite television shows and accessing their favorite Web applications.
Google TV, an effort to bring Internet search and other Web applications to
consumers' televisions, could be an exciting new entrant into the field of Web
Or it could be just another Web TV experience with a tepid reception,
joining Microsoft and Apple in a market yearning for more consumers, according
to industry analysts.
is an effort to funnel search, video, Twitter
and other Web applications through set-top boxes and onto televisions. Google
has made a prototype set-top box based on its Android operating system, powered
by Intel's Atom processors and tested on televisions made by Sony.
The platform will use a version of the Google Chrome Web browser, letting
users search the Web and video content just as if they were accessing the Web
from their desktops and mobile phones. Users would access these applications
from a remote control with a small keyboard from peripheral device maker
Combined, these elements would form a media platform allowing users to access
Web applications such as YouTube and Twitter and watch satellite TV
programming from the Dish Network.
However, Gartner analyst Van Baker isn't impressed, having watched many
products and services geared to blend TV and Web fail.
"There is only one problem with this vision," Baker wrote on his blog March 18.
repeatedly rejected these solutions. Consumers have a perfectly good platform
for accessing the Internet and that is the personal computer. Bringing PC-style
access to the television is just not appealing to consumers."
Baker isn't saying couch potatoes don't want some combination of Web and TV.
Thousands of consumers watch Netflix movies or YouTube clips on Web-enabled TVs
instead of the smaller screens of their PCs.
"The combination of video content and quick hit content like news
headline and weather that can be accessed via a traditional remote are valued
by consumers assuming the performance is adequate and the services are
responsive," Baker wrote.
However, he said, bringing a keyboard into the equation reverts to the PC
model of Internet access, something which consumers have not yet cottoned to.
Can Google TV break from this history of hybrid-Web-and-TV failure?
This remains to be seen. Consumers do love to surf the Web while watching
TV, according to new research from Nielsen, which found that about 60 percent of TV watchers simultaneously use the Internet
Perhaps Google TV will be a platform that lets users easily jump back and
forth between watching their favorite television shows and accessing their favorite
Web applications from their 52-inch plasma TVs with just a few clicks of a
That could be quite powerful. So could the application ecosystem supporting
it. Since Google TV is built on the Android, it seems likely third-party
developers will be able to build applications that TV-loving consumers would
However this shapes up, IDC analyst
Hadley Reynolds agreed there has to be a whole different user experience to
make this offering attractive.
"This announcement shows the lengths that Google will go to crack into
the TV advertising segment, and it demonstrates their dedication to the
strategy of providing infrastructure to reap the benefits of multiple
application options which they and others will build to run on their platform,"
Reynolds told eWEEK.
While Apple and Microsoft have been in the game longer, Google TV may offer
the right combination of programming and Web applications users have been
wanting from convergent Web television.
"No one has a lock on how this convergence of TV and Web will
develop," Reynolds said.