10 Ways Google TV Will Kill Apple TV
10 Ways Google TV Will Kill Apple TV
by Don Reisinger
Google TV Has Real Web Integration
The Apple TV offers an "Internet" option. Some might think that by choosing that option, they would be able to surf the Web. They would be wrong. Instead, Apple TV only allows users to watch YouTube videos and listen to Internet radio stations. Google TV, on the other hand, will allow users to search for anything on the Internet, view Web videos and much more. If consumers buy the Logitech set-top box that will run Google TV, they will even be able to have Webcam chats from the device in 720p HD resolution. Not bad.
It Integrates TV, Entertainment Devices
TV might be somewhat of a misnomer when it comes to Apple's product. Although users can watch television shows, it doesn't necessarily provide real television integration. There's no access to cable programming. Owners can't even schedule their DVRs to record a show. But on the Google TV, they can. According to Google, users will be able to access and control all the entertainment devices in the house. They can find programming via the DVR and set it to record directly from the Google TV.
Its Not a Hobby
Rest assured that, unlike the Apple TV, the Google TV is no hobby. The device features all the bells and whistles that consumers would expect in a product that promises to be the next big thing in home entertainment. Aside from Flash capability, the device will allow users to bring the Web to their televisions. They will also be able to access the content that they want, regardless of where they find it. In other words, Google TV could be an extremely powerful entertainment product. That's certainly more than what can be said for the Apple TV.
It Pulls Content from Everywhere
As mentioned, the Google TV interface is designed to take content from the DVR, the Web and just about anywhere else and bring that to the television. So, if a user wants to view content from Major League Baseball's Website on their televisions, they can simply beam it through the set-top box running Google TV directly to their televisions. If there's something useful built into Android apps that consumers want to check out, they will be able to access those as well. Google TV aims to grab content from wherever the consumer is and get that to their televisions. That's an exciting concept that's sorely missing from the Apple TV.
iTunes Isnt Everything
Apple TV's integration of iTunes is a key component in Apple's living-room strategy. For the most part, it works quite well. But that doesn't mean that it's better than what Google TV will offer. Yes, iTunes is a fine service that provides access to all kinds of content, but the Web is arguably better. It can offer consumers all the content found in iTunes, plus much more. Google sees that. But so far, Apple doesn't. That's a problem.
It Goes Beyond Flickr
When Apple added Flickr integration to Apple TV, some wondered if it was the beginning of something big for the set-top box. Would it finally start offering content from around the Web? Since then, Apple has been mum on the issue, only offering access to the photo-sharing site and YouTube for those who want Web integration. Google TV is nothing of the sort. As mentioned, it delivers access to any Web content, not just those sites that the company has struck a deal with. So, if accessing Flickr is all consumers want, they can still do that with the Google TV—and then some.
Control via Smartphone
A growing number of consumers are opting for an Android-based phone or an iPhone when they head to their carrier's store. Realizing that, Google's vendor partners have decided to make it much easier for users to access the Google TV with their smartphones. According to Logitech, it plans to deliver an application that will allow consumers to control all the content on their Google TV right from their phones. If they find something on their smartphone that they'd rather see on their televisions, they can easily send that over to the Google TV.
It Works with Other Vendors
Apple TV comes only from Apple. That's not necessarily a bad thing, given the company's history, but it does limit what can be done with the device. Google has decided to form partnerships with manufacturers to get Google TV set-top boxes out in the wild. It's a smart move. By licensing the software, it gives vendors the opportunity to bundle other, useful features into the devices to make them appeal more to consumers. Logitech, for example, plans to bring its Vid Webcam service to its device. Look for many more features beyond those mentioned by Google when the devices launch.
It Runs Android Apps
Google TV runs Android. According to Google, that means consumers will be able to download any app from the Android store. Of course, some apps, including those that require a smartphone to work, won't be available to Google TV owners. But that shouldn't matter. Android now has more than 50,000 applications available. And once developers realize that they can create apps designed specifically for Google TV, it might only be a matter of time before useful programs start cropping up in the Android Market. So far, Apple has yet to even hint that apps would be coming to the Apple TV.
Sites Will Be Optimized for It
There is one potential problem with the Google TV that the search giant needs to address: sites won't be optimized for the set-top box. Luckily, Google has already thought about that. According to the company, it will offer an SDK to site operators, so they can optimize their pages for the Google TV. Once sites start supporting the Google TV, pages will be displayed just as they are on typical monitor sizes. Unfortunately, Google said that the SDK will likely appear sometime after launch. That means folks who pick up a Google TV box in the fall will be out of luck for some months. But that shouldn't keep it from becoming a superior alternative to the Apple TV.