Google TV Sets, Companion Boxes Delayed at CES

New Google TV sets and companion boxes from Toshiba, Sharp and LG will be delayed from launching at the Consumer Electronics Show upon Google's request, the Times said.

Google TV continues to take its lumps and it looks like the Internet TV endeavor will hit a bump in the road at the Consumer Electronics Show next month.

Google TV is the search engine's effort to wed Web surfing with channel surfing by putting its Chrome Web browser on TV sets and making all TV broadcast and Web content searchable.

The effort is one of the dozen or so in the last decade, including plays by Microsoft and Intel, to put Web browsing and applications on TVs. All have failed.

When the Android-based service appeared on companion boxes from Logitech and TVs and Blu-ray players from Sony in October, it immediately faced criticism from reviewers, who found the software half-baked and the hardware too expensive for the value.

Logitech's Revue companion box costs $300, while Sony TVs integrated with Google TV ran from $600 to $1,400. The Blu-ray player was $400.

Google has also found its service blocked from accessing Websites from CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox as the networks are leery of allowing Google to serve their content for free.

With that considerable opposition as a backdrop, the New York Times said Google has asked Toshiba, LG Electronics, Sharp and other TV set makers to delay introducing Google TV-based products at the 2011 CES so that the company can improve the software.

Google has not responded to eWEEK's request for comment, but a spokesperson declined to confirm the request for the Times, adding:

"Our long-term goal is to collaborate with a broad community of consumer electronics manufacturers to help drive the next-generation TV-watching experience, and we look forward to working with other partners to bring more devices to market in the coming years."

The Times added that Samsung, which has enjoyed great success selling Android-based smartphones and its Galaxy Tab tablet, will have two new appliances running Google TV. It is unclear whether those will be a TV and/or a companion box.

If Google is indeed concerned about improving the Google TV software, it hasn't shown it publicly. The company Dec. 15 unveiled a few upgrades to the product, including improvements to Google TV's search and dual view features, its Netflix app.

Google also launched a Google TV Remote app to the Android market to let users control the service via their Android smartphones. These changes are slated to roll out soon.