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Google airs more details about Google TV

Google TV -- the Web giant's software package for finding and watching TV programming over the Internet and through traditional subscription services -- looks less vaporous now. Just in time for introductions of Google TV-enabled hardware from Sony and Logitech, Google announced further details about the platform it launched in May.

google_tv_logo.jpg

A blog post and accompanying video advertise many of the usual online video and audio services: movies and TV shows from Netflix or Amazon's video-on-demand service, shorter clips from Google's own YouTube, Web radio from Pandora, photo browsing from Yahoo's Flickr and so on.

But Google TV will also include a set of Web applications, some video-enhanced, from the NBA, CNBC and Twitter, among others. A "Fling" feature will let you toss the Web page or video you're viewing on a smartphone (presumbably, one running Google's Android operating system) to Google TV. And sometime early next year, Google TV will gain the ability to run apps downloaded from Google's Android Market.

But note some video sites not listed: Hulu (coming to Roku's Web-media receivers and TiVo digital video recorders), to be followed by some HDTVs and Blu-ray players), Major League Baseball's MLB.tv (already on Roku and in Boxee's software) and ESPN3.com (so far, unavailable on any Web-media box).

And, of course, Google TV won't be able to play movies or TV shows streamed or downloaded from Apple's iTunes Store. For those, you'll still need to hook up a computer to the TV or get Apple's just-updated Apple TV.

Future Google TV software updates could fill in some of those gaps and add other new features (one interesting possibility would be simple video calling).

But they may not be able to do much about a basic vulnerability of Google TV: Its separation from the digital video recorder. Although Google promises a simple, searchable program grid in its software -- something desperately needed to manage ever-larger programming bundles -- it can't promise one-click recordings along the lines of what TiVo offers. Dish Network says it's configuring its digital video recorders for easy pairing with Google TV devices. But for other TV providers, you'll have to puzzle things through on your own.

So it may come down to balancing two different sorts of pain: the ongoing irritation of a dumb and clumsy cable or satellite DVR interface versus the onetime frustration of setting up a Google TV box to control that DVR through an infrared remote-control relay. Which sounds like less fun to you?

By Rob Pegoraro  | October 4, 2010; 2:40 PM ET
Categories:  Gadgets, Music, Pictures, TV, Video  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Apple TV unboxing report
Next: Skype (sort of) available for non-Verizon Android phones

Comments

Just hook up an internet connected computer (with PVR software) to your TV and be done with it. It does not get any easier than that.

Posted by: jimsandy1 | October 4, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm still looking for website that will aggregate all my shows for me.

Right now, I can scan the program guide and watch live or record what I find. For me to use internet based video I want something similar. But if it omits sources (like Hulu) that's a major drawback.
Note, the site does not have to play the video, just give me an easy way to click to the video on the appropriate site, again like a program guide.

Posted by: wvp123 | October 4, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Good article Rob. It helps me to see that google tv is going to be too confusing for most people. Furthermore, nothing has been said about how google plans to offer customer support to the masses of confused users that are going to be seeking assistance. If google treats its tv customers the way they do their Pay-per-click advertisers, consumer are going to be in for a very bitter experience.
For now, I'm sticking with my TV on PC software from LiveTV-On-PC (dot com). I watch a lot of shows and broadcasts on it and it's as easy to use as a web browser.
For those times I want the larger tv screen experience, I plug my computer into the TV with an s-cable ($5).

Posted by: monicapellar | October 4, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

@jimsandy1
A PCTV, with tuner card, hdmi output, etc, costs about $500 to $1000. Apple TV or Google TV is $100.

Posted by: wiredog | October 5, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

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