Feb 13 AT 1:05 PM Taylor Wimberly 38 Comments

3 Google TV announcements that would excite me


Over the weekend Google teased some big announcements were coming to Google TV on Monday, but so far all we have seen is a blog post about a new YouTube udpate that is coming later this week. Many are assuming that the YouTube news was the big announcement, but Google actually made that post Sunday night and they did tease announcements, plural.

Hopefully Google still has some kind of big reveal coming later today, but if they don’t here is my list of three things I would like to see.

1. A new $99 companion device

Where are the new devices? We saw a few products demoed at CES like the LG Smart TV and Marvell set-top box, but none have gone on sale yet. To make matters worse, some of the previous generation of Google TV products have been discontinued and are no longer available in retails stores.

Recent rumors have suggested that Google will get into the hardware business and release their own home entertainment system. People briefed on the company’s plans think Google’s box will stream music and other digital media, and we have our fingers cross that this device somehow integrates with Google TV.

Google recently made the switch to ARM based processors from Intel x86 processors, which should help to reduce the overall cost of devices. When we questioned a Marvell representative at CES about the cost of future Google TV devices they said, “I can tell you it’s going to be a lot cheaper than $300. It will be a very attractive price point.”

We saw the sales of the Logitech Revue really take off when the price was reduced to $99, so hopefully Google and their OEM partners can offer a device somewhere around that price point.

2. Content deals with major networks

After the recent update to Android 3.1, I am really happy with my Logitech Revue. For people that wish to cut the cord, Google TV is about 90% of the way there. Their new content channels menu offers a great experience, and I now go to it first instead of my lame Time Warner channel guide.

Instead of focusing on what’s showing on live TV, the new menu lets me browse shows and movies from all sources. I can still filter down to only live TV shows, but it’s nice to just browse by category when I know what I want to watch. Google TV supports Netflix, Amazon Videos on Demand, and a whole host of other online streaming content.

Google’s Chrome Browser supports Adobe Flash Player, which opens the door to a huge chunk of streaming content. More and more networks are putting live TV shows and sports broadcasts online (like Monday Night Football and the Super Bowl), but the major networks still block the Google TV browser from accessing a lot of their content.

For example, if your wife wants to watch the latest full episode of The Bachelor on abc.com, you will be granted with a message that your device is not currently supported. You will see similar messages from NBC, CBS, and FOX. Some cable channels like TBS and TNT will allow you to watch some full episodes online, but you are required to login to your cable account and not all providers are supported.

If Google can somehow work out a deal with these broadcast networks, it would make Google TV much more appealing to the average user.

3. Timely software updates to Android and Chrome

It took Google almost two years to upgrade Google TV devices to Android 3.1, which added the Android Market. Now Google has already moved on to Android 4.0, but there are no promises that current hardware will ever get that software update.

I understand that wireless carriers are a big bottleneck with software updates for phones, but there’s just no excuse for the slow updates on Google TV devices.

Another example is the Chrome Browser found on current Google TV devices. It is stuck at version 11, while version 17 was just released to other devices last week. Now that Google has placed the Chrome Browser on the Android Market, they should be able to push out timely updates. Google TV devices would still need to be upgraded to Android 4.0 before that happens, but hopefully it’s on their list of to-dos.

Wrap Up

Don’t get me wrong. I’m completely satisfied with my current Google TV experience, as are many others. I think the main frustration comes from the slow pace of innovation compared to other Android devices. I thought by now there would be some awesome applications for my Google TV, but there are not enough devices out there yet for developers to actually get a return on their investment.

Even though many would consider Google TV to be a complete failure up to this point, I still see huge potential in the platform. If Google goes down the route of re-branding their efforts as Google @home or Android Hub, and just makes TV another application of the platform, I think they can turn it into a winning product.

What kind of announcements would you like to see in relation to Google TV?

Via: Google TV Blog

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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    If they announce all three, it would be one of the greater tech orgasms I will ever have.

    • spazby

      yea, that would be great

    • http://www.focuszonedevelopment.com Homncruse

      In other words, today is a very messy day for BiGMERF to not wear pants.

  • thekaz

    I’d lay down $99 for such a device!

  • AceoStar

    If there was a number 4 for me, it would certainly be the release of a plethora of cheap smart devices that would be released with the Android at home box. Controlled power strips, light bulbs, locks, entertainment centers, everything! They need a huge accessory following at release to make Android at home take off as fast as possible, and I hope it comes out with a bang :D

    • amgala


    • AceoStar

      Also wouldnt mind the @Home/GoogleTV device running as a HDMI hub. I’m already maxing all 4 inputs as it is :p

  • amgala

    Content from the major providers is the #1 issue with GTV in my opinion. It’s really a shame that the providers blocked GTV after initially supporting it. My second request would be more apps for GTV.

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      Have you tried out Plex for Google TV? https://market.android.com/details?id=com.plexapp.gtv

      • gossipininja

        I did not find plex that good. It always plays the wrong episode, even when I browse by folder.
        I am not a fan of having my media automatically indexed. I have a folder structure on my nas for a reason.

        • http://clarklab.net Clark Wimberly

          Part of me likes the auto-indexing, part of me doesn’t. For TV shows I absolutely love it, how it tracks each episode and whether or not I’ve watched yet- it’s like having my own Netflix.

          But trying to browse non-popular or especially your own content is pretty dang rough. The tip I discovered there was the index this content as ‘home movies’ instead of TV shows. That way it doesn’t do any magic or re-organizing, it just uses your folder structure.

      • Justin Ziemba

        Love Plex. It’s not perfect, but it more than gets the job done for me. Have it installed on both GTV’s, android phones, tablets, PC’s, and (gasp!) my wife’s macs.

        Still trying to get the perfect ripping profile. At the moment, it seems that using AnyDVD and Handbrake, ripped to MP4 with AC3 (5.1 audio) works the best. Well, it works on the GTV and Android… but no audio when playing directly on the PC (WMP). Plex (on PC) will play it fine.

        The surround sound has been the tricky point.

        Oh yeah, and to be able to stream movies OFF of my network to my tablet, while traveling is killer.

  • Stuart

    I would +1 such a device! ;)

  • Phil

    There should be no need…I repeat NO NEED for a content deal to allow a browser to access the same content that any other browser can access. I don’t even understand how they are legally getting away with this. They have singled out a device, browser and company to block while allowing all others with no technical reasoning behind it. I guess Google won’t push the issue with the government but I sure wish at least a group of citizens would do so.

    • BiGMERF

      Lead the way captain

    • http://clarklab.net Clark Wimberly

      Agreed. I’ve never quite been able to figure that one out.

  • Daniel

    All very nice, but to have it usable for me the #4 would have to be : available outside the United States.

    • kzlife

      Waiting for a google TV device here in Europe..

  • Pete

    Am I the only one that would love to see some sort of GoogleTV / DVR combination box? If I could get a GTV/DVR/HTPC combo box with cablecard support I could replace my cable co box and my Windows Media Center (for DVR-ing and local network media playback). And it likely wouldn’t suck.

    Does Tivo have a patent on set top DVRs or something? Where is the competition for Tivo boxes?

    • nerdshowandtell.com

      Google purchased SageTV last year, and development still continues internally without any public release or information since.. My wish is they combine the SageTV platform, hardware type devices (cheap extenders like their hd300), etc. into GoogleTV. Then full support for cablecard devices like the HDHomeRun Prime (including recordonce / recordmany, etc support).. That would be a VERY complete setup.

  • http://www.infotainmentempire.com pekosROB

    Content delivery/providers is a huge issue.

    If those sites weren’t blocked from GoogleTV devices (and whatever other devices there are that could access and play them but are blocked), a $99-150 or even $300 device might totally be worth it to someone since they aren’t really missing out that much in the end. They could easily sell more devices if it had access to more content.

    Playing an Android game on your TV is great and all, but I’d rather save that for my phone/tablet and have VIEWING stuff my primary objective on my TV.

  • http://None Javier Bastardo

    I’m hoping for at least one of these to happen soon. I need more Google in my life.

  • aranea

    What would excite me is that apps available for gaming consoles. I have a PS3 and it’ll be great to run google tv on it.

  • http://keridel.blogspot.com keridel

    the only thing i want to see is a worldwide release. because the rest of it is means nothing in a closed environment such as it is now

  • Shawn Clark

    All these ideas sound great to me…idk what the hold up is.

  • JBC

    So… reading that the “big” announcement is a new and improved YouTube app…?

    Really hope this isnt it.

  • Thomas Taylor

    Yeah, the content is a big bummer. I just bought a Roku instead of a Revue because of content – Hulu Plus specifically. Unfortunately, Roku doesn’t support playing local, NAS or DLNA media. I want all the web-based content AND the local stuff in one box. I don’t think there are any that do that well right now.

  • cb2000a

    I use and have installed several Roku boxes. They are simply the best choice for variety of channels out there right now.

  • http://www.jimtravis.com jimtravis

    I am one of those very satisfied Google TV (Revue) owners. Would welcome the improvements noted in this article. I too am disappointed with the dearth of Google TV apps, but also understand why based on mediocre sales of Google TV devices. Hopefully the new “products” trigger a sales of splurge.

    • Paul Messier

      Two more issues. Need to incorporate dvr recording with owner supplied hardware. Second need to be able to listen/stream internet radio. Can not stream local NPR station. No shoutcast and winamp programs available to install on Google TV.

      • Steve Santinelli

        GoogleTV (More specifically Revue) is directly connected to the dish network 900 series dvr, and it does a great job talking to my TIVO and knows all about it. I’m good with GTV talking to my tivo, I like them separate, so when I get around to upgrading I can get a BETTER TIVO.

        And yeah, dish lost HUGE on patent infringement with Tivo, so Tivo DOES hold many patents… Sadly most of the money they receive in the settlement seems to have gone to the lawyers, because tivo hasn’t done ANYTHING innovative in quite a few years….

        I just want my GTV experience to be faster, especially with chrome, just seems a bit clunky. OH and come setup with flash that works, I shouldn’t have to dive into the settings of flash to get it to work out of box….

  • Sturoid

    so did anything get announced?

  • kendrick wilson

    how about a TV tuner like Boxee?


  • OldTechdude

    The $99 Box looks like a SageTV Media Server (HD200, HD300). But I would not get my hopes up. After Google bought (killed Sage TV) they killed the Hardware products immediately.

    I was a long term user of Sage and happy to pay the few fees they had. Sage was a relentless software developer with quarterly and monthly updates. Amazing little company.

    The Sage Developer Community added PLAYON and HULU support over 1 year ago. I am using both and very happy with my Wireless HD200 boxes.

    Ultimately Google TV will fail. They don’t listen to customers, and don’t play well with others.

  • Justin Ziemba

    Gomez – can you share a little more detail on your ripping setup? I struggled to get avi’s working on GTV.

    Did you rip with 5.1 audio?