The new Apple TV, a box that costs $99, is expected to challenge Google TV in a classic battle for the living room this holiday season. Who has the edge and why?
When Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the new Apple TV Sept.
1 in one of his patented oh-there's-one-more-thing-moments, analysts rushed to
compare the digital TV service to the forthcoming and ballyhooed Google TV.
The freshened Apple TV is like the old hobbyist passion,
albeit streamlined and sans storage.
Where Apple once offered a $229 box for users to buy --
another expensive piece of hardware -- the company is now offering a quirky hockey puck
of a device for $99.
The device, shown here
sports an HDMI connector, Ethernet and WiFi, optical audio and USB plugs. There
is no local storage.
The new Apple TV is like a streaming machine, offering high-definition
movie rentals for $4.99 and a TV rental option for 99 cents a show. The popular
Netflix streaming service is baked in
, as is integration with YouTube, Flickr and
meanwhile, is an ambitious, sweeping effort to let users turn their
televisions into computers.
Google TV attempts to marry channel surfing with Web
surfing. The service, slated for a fall release, will let users
navigate between all their channels and all their favorite Websites
and Web applications through Google's Chrome Web browser.
Google also has a Chrome Webstore coming to sell
applications such as games that users will be able to play on Google
TV. Consumers will buy a set-top box to connect Google TV to their TV
and a remote from Logitech to navigate the service.
Altimeter Group analyst Michael Gartenberg told eWEEK
while Google TV aims to be "input one" on user's TVs, Apple TV is
shooting to be "input 2."
Where Google TV tries to supplant the cable box
and fuse the TV content with its own Web content, Apple TV aims to replace
the DVD player. Both approaches face challenges.