Google TV was expected to be the search giant's way to move into consumers' living rooms. The software, which is currently available on the Logitech Revue set-top box and Sony HDTVs, allows users to stream content from services such as Netflix over the Web, as well as access the Internet and control a DVR. On paper, it's a fine upgrade over most other software platforms running on set-top boxes.
But as 2010 comes to a close, rampant speculation says Google TV might be failing in a big way. In fact, reports claim that Google has asked companies not to talk about Google TV products at CES. In addition, reports say that Logitech has been asked by the search giant to freeze production of its Revue set-top box. Those reports haven't been confirmed, but given the sheer lack of excitement about Google TV products so far, it seems more likely than ever that Google is concerned that its entertainment platform is starting to fail in the market.
There are good reasons to believe Google TV is failing.
1. Where's the excitement?
When Google TV was first announced, there was palpable excitement around the United States about the potential the software offered. It made sense. As mentioned, Google TV offers more promise on paper than any other solution in the entertainment space. But now that Google TV devices are on store shelves, all that excitement seems to have dissipated, causing some to wonder if it's actually falling flat.
2. The Apple TV influence
The Apple TV was called a "hobby" by Steve Jobs for years. But on Sept. 1, Apple unveiled a new version of the device and released it at the end of that month. Recently, Apple said that it was on its way to selling 1 million Apple TV units. It's not groundbreaking, but given the popularity of that device, it's quite possible that consumers might be turning to Apple's option over those from Sony and Logitech.
3. Consumers know the features aren't there
If there is one thing that the Web has helped consumers do, it's research. If consumers did their research on Web TV platforms, many of them likely realized that Google TV is big on potential, but short on features right now. The software lacks application support, access to some online programming and much more. Plus, the Logitech Revue, for example, costs $299, making it quite expensive for what it's offering. It's a perfect storm that could be hurting sales in a big way.
4. The apps haven't arrived
When Google first talked about its entertainment platform, the company said that it would be offering a software development kit to developers that would allow them to bring entertainment content (and other goodies) to the Google TV platform. Unfortunately, those apps won't appear until next year. Maybe if they were available now, consumers would find more value in the software.