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Why Google TV is Not That Great

On October 11, 2010, in Professional Writings, Technology, by Tyler Gray

google-tvOf the many of the excellent reasons cited by Nicholas Deleon in his Oct. 7th posting on CrunchGear, “Am I Blind, Or am I Just Not ‘Seeing’ What’s So Great About Google TV” his strongest point is that while Google TV will bring the Internet to your TV, you most likely already have, or could very easily have the Internet on your TV.

Given that just about every laptop and flat screen TV now include VGA and HDMI ports, connecting an old laptop to your TV is an easy fix.

With the addition of a wireless mouse and keyboard, you can then have the entire Internet available on your TV! As Nicholas also alludes too, the only real downside of this approach is that is is difficult to watch certain cable channels and live sporting events. However, if you are willing to spend a few minutes searching for “Free TV Online” staying up to date with your favorite shows like Mad Men or Eastbond and Down isn’t a problem.

Thus instead of spending $299 for the Logitech Revue, use that extra VGA or HDMI cable you already have and pick up a used laptop and wireless keyboard / mouse for under $100. Most new Blue-Ray players have Wi-Fi capabilities that allow you to access Netflix & YouTube. Here the only real advantage of Google TV seems to be if you happen to already be purchasing a new TV that includes it, but again you could probably get a better deal on a bigger TV and use the cost savings to purchase a new Netbook.

Finally in regards to some of my colleague’s other points:

  1. While Google is incredibly useful for email and I look forward to switching from a Blackberry to an Android; Do you really want a single company knowing everything about you? Even if there is no personally identifiable data, your viewing habits are certainly going to be logged and used by advertisers. For some background on this, Eli Pariser’s PDF2010 keynote on the “Filter Bubble, or How Personalization is Changing the Web” embedded bellow is  must see YouTube TV.
  2. In terms of features I you wish your phone had, is working as a remote control one of them?  If anything, having an FM radio tuner on your phone would seem to be more useful. Whether or not the government should step in and mandate this functionality is a matter of intense debate.
  3. In terms of Apps, if you already are paying for cable, you probably have a fairly decent programming guide that includes a DVR. From what I can tell, it does not look like Google TV is very useful without cable. Thus you are essentially paying for something another cable company already provides, or spending extra for a few neat features. Secondly, just as it is not much fun to watch someone else use apps on their smart phone, I can’t imagine wanting to hang out an watch someone else play with their apps on Google TV.
  4. As someone who has never bought an Apple product, I am sure Google TV is or soon will be better than the alternative. For something like this, being open source is a definite plus. However one must wonder- What about apps that make it easier to find and download cable shows without actually having cable? I would imagine the industry will hit back hard.
  5. On the plus side, advertising on Google TV could be a blessing for smaller organizations and small businesses that might be intimidated by the world of traditional media buying. For bigger companies and political campaigns, Google TV could be an excellent way to share your latest web ad without paying the hefty commissions typical of most ad agencies.Likewise Google TV’s integration with the current Ad Words platform should be welcomed by anyone managing online ad campaigns.
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