Today, Google officially announced its latest product, Google TV.It’s a platform, both hardware (as a set top box) and software, that uses a combination of technologies, including Android, Chrome, and an Intel chipset plus Internet connectivity to create a truly amazing product.
We think it’s going to change the way people watch TV completely. No longer will people crowd around a desktop computer in order to watch videos on Hulu or YouTube. Gone are the days of hooking up your television to your laptop to watch online content. Google has changed everything.
Google TV hooks up to your set top box via HDMI and has an interface similar to something between Windows Media centre and Android OS. Through a search bar, you can bring up various TV channels, find related content on sites like Hulu and Amazon and so much more.
See, Google TV supports Adobe Flash, meaning if you can view it on the web, you can view it on Google TV.
Watching a Football game on TV and want to check your fantasy stats right then and there? You can throw the game into picture-in-picture mode and bring up your Yahoo! Sports account in a few clicks of a wireless keyboard and mouse.
Love movies? You can now watch all your favourite video websites easily on your TV and can use Netflix as well.
But it gets even more innovative. Your Android phone is now a remote. You can speak commands to your TV like “Good Morning America” and the appropriate show will turn on instantly. If you hate fighting over the TV remote, just use two Android phones. Problem solved.
Speaking of Android, a lot of existing Android apps in the Marketplace will work on Google TV. No porting required. It’s a developer’s dream come true.
And really, it’s up to developers to make this happen. Google is open sourcing Google TV in 2011 and when that happens, we should see a flurry of new products and services integrate with the Google TV movement.
Google has also partnered with key companies to make this revolutionary movement become a reality. The Google TV set top box is powered by an Intel Atom processor, Logitech will be producing input devices and a set top box as well, and Sony will be introducing a completely new line of TVs designed with Google TV in mind.
And who will help sell those products? Best Buy (BBY) has partnered with the aforementioned companies, which is very important for everyone involved. Google TV and its associated hardware will hit shelves in Fall of 2010 – right in time for the holiday shopping season which Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn says is incredibly important to making this successful.
Finally, Dish Network’s (DISH) partnership will help bring Google TV into existing set top boxes for those who have satellite television. Integration is key. The less devices needed for a killer user experience, the better.
From our point of view, it’s clear that Google has an incredible next-generation product on their hands. The next few years will see if consumers are willing to adopt it into their lives.
As for companies like Apple (AAPL) and TiVo (TIVO), they better wake up. The Apple TV has been a lackluster affair since its inception and rather than trying to compete with Google, we could see Apple making amends with Google and trying to create an innovative Google TV product, especially when Google TV goes open source in 2011.
TiVo on the other hand is already in the dumps (and not just its stock). The company is a dinosaur and doing something like adding Netflix integration to a DVR is not going to save it. With the Dish Network partnership, Google already has the problem of DVRs handled and we’re sure other cable or satellite providers will soon join in. After that happens, who’s going to pay money for TiVo?
Google has shaken up the television industry in a whole new way today. It’ll be very interesting to see how this plays out as we near closer to the Fall 2010 launch date.
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