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Google TV: A Tech Lover's Dream Come True, but Is the Average Consumer Ready?

05.27.10

Tech lovers have been daydreaming about it for a while now, and it’s finally here . . . kind of.

The Dream:  Internet for Your TV

We’re talking, of course, about a unified web browsing, video streaming, downloading, and television viewing experience—in other words (that rhyme), the internet on your TV set.  And this has become an increasingly enticing fantasy now that there are more and more options for downloading and/or streaming movies and TV shows online (think Hulu). 

The Realization:  Google TV

Last week, Google announced Google TV, its attempt to fulfill that fantasy.  Essentially, Google TV works by running the Android operating system (yes, the same one used on their mobile devices) on your TV, allowing you to use your TV to browse the web, run Android apps, and, probably most importantly, search for, stream, and download online video content. 

Of course, you have to get the proper hardware first.  And there are several ways you can do that:

  1. Buy a Sony TV specifically set up for Google TV.  Sony has partnered with Google to make a TV with the necessary hardware to run Android and give you access to Google TV.
  2. Buy a Sony Blu-ray player with the Google TV hardware built in.
  3. Buy a Google TV set-top box manufactured by Logitech that will work alongside your existing TV tuner. 
  4. Buy a DISH Network Google TV box (probably won’t be available till later).

Oh, and you’ll be able to buy all of this at your friendly neighborhood Bust Buy.

The Reality:  Slow Consumer Adoption

So is Google TV the greatest thing to hit the living room since microwaveable popcorn?  Well, it’s probably too early to tell.  It is a step in the direction of creating a fully-integrated media experience.  But even though Google TV will be available in the near future, it’s still going to take a while for the culture at large (not to mention the cable companies) to embrace the idea of web-connected TV.  After all, Apple TV has been on the market for a while now and has really only had moderate success in niche markets.  Granted, Apple TV doesn’t allow you to run apps, browse the web, or stream online videos, but it is a lot easier to use than Google TV is certain to be.

The thing to remember is that public adoption of new technology grows a lot slower than the technology itself.  Just think about HD programming—the technology has been around for over a decade, and we’re just now seeing consistent mainstream adoption.  So while Google TV is a step in the right direction, it may be a while before every home in America feels like they just have to go out and purchase it.

More Information

Want to learn more about Google TV?  Check out these resources: