Whatever happened to Google TV
In October 2010, Google TV was officially launched, promising to bring video on demand to the mass consumer market. It's now over 2 years since the first announcement of the service in May 2010, so where is it? Why are there no Google TV set top boxes in the shops yet?
The answer to this is that there have been negative reviews of the service. Some reviewers have commented that the system is not trivial to set up initially, and that the whole concept is a 'jumbled mess of ideas' with serious omissions like an integrated DVR (to record the stuff that you are watching or schedule recordings) and less than slick user experience.
Another problem is network support. Although Google TV have signed up some big media partners to deliver content, there are still many media groups who block google TV from their web services, including NBC and ABC, two of the biggest content suppliers in America. In fact, the only big network to embrace Google TV is Dish Network which has had to drop it's prices significantly in recent months to try to stimulate demand.
Is this the beginning of the end for Google TV then? Possibly not. Last week, Google aquired SageTV, a cloud based content platform. This seems to be in line with the current Chrome strategy of hosting all apps and data in the cloud. In fact, there's no point having a consumer based DVR device if you can just copy the files directly at source into your own 'video vault' which you can watch any where at any time using an android powered device- this is similar in concept to Apple's new iCloud service. So will Google TV 2.0 be a winner? Only time will tell, but the main determinant will probably not be whether the devices work or look well, but whether Google will be able to agree licencing deals with the major networks to deliver the sorts of television experience that people will want.