The recent introduction of GoogleTV by Logitech and Sony has generated a lot of hype. At the moment I am not so sure that it deserves it. It’s nice and it looks useful, but I can do more with my HTPC and I don’t necessarily think it’s better than Roku or the upcoming Boxee Box. And the Logitech box is pricey at $299 and Sony’s TV’s are going to be pricey as well.
But, I wonder about it down the road if Google chooses to really pursue it. Let’s face it, they do drop things all the time as if they just lost interest. But I doubt that GoogleTV will go that way. There are too many partners and too much at stake. All of the talk these days surrounds online TV and cord-cutting. This is the future of entertainment and there are a lot of companies who want to control it – and none is more powerful than Google.
What I find interesting about Google’s play here is that, while companies like Roku build a box with apps, Google is creating a platform. They aren’t building a box. They created a platform to power everyone else’s boxes and other types of devices. Logitech can make a box and Sony can make TV’s and Blu-Ray players, and Dish can make a box and they can all use Google’s platform.
One interesting thing I noticed was GoogleTV’s lack of support for tuner cards. At first glance I thought it was an oversight or that maybe they were still working on it and it would come in an update. But, after further thought, I am not so sure of that. Do they want to try and force the revolt from traditional delivery? Force the content to go online so that the cord becomes obsolete? Maybe. After all, why else would they not support tuners? It would seem a no-brainer to try and get into cable company DVR’s. But I can’t find anything that suggests the support will be coming. And they have to realize that, while the crowd who visits sites like this may not mind having a DVR and separate box like GoogleTV, a large portion of the population doesn’t want two boxes and many won’t even understand the need. Obsoleting DVR’s and forcing everyone online where everything will be on-demand certainly would be good for Google’s business…
Prices drop, sometimes quickly, once a new technology is out, so the initial prices of these offerings from Logitech and Sony aren’t a real concern to me. For now I am happy with my current setup. But I know big changes in media consumption are coming and I think building a platform may be the smarter bet in the long run. The battle for our living rooms is heating up and it’s going to be fun to watch this fight unfold.