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It’s not too late to save Google TV, but basically it’s still in Beta

News reports in the US are saying that despite Google TV being panned in the press, more and more TV manufacturers are signing up for the platform, in

By PETER WHITE

Published: 2 December, 2010

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News reports in the US are saying that despite Google TV being panned in the press, more and more TV manufacturers are signing up for the platform, including anticipated moves from Toshiba, Samsung and Vizio in time for January’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Sales are thought to be slow and that was cited this week as the reason for Sony to cut $100 from its TV models which have Google TV built in. That sounds a bit harsh given that Sony is always cutting its models during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday rush to stimulate a stampede of buying.

A lot of people ask us, “Is Google TV going to happen?” and while it can’t be 100% clear, there are a number of observations to be made and more work to be done on the product. Google gets a very clear 5 out of ten and a “must try harder sticker.”

Once Samsung joins the party to produce a TV set or two with Google TV functionality, then with Sony, Toshiba and Vizio it is one or two manufacturers off a clean sweep in the US TV market. It’s not on a wide variety of models, but essentially this doesn’t add all that much to the Bill of Materials, and so we think it will spread to other models, and with that much retail space behind it, it will have the power that Blu-ray commanded in the global retail consumer electronics footprint. And that has enormous influence with consumers.

In September both Samsung and LG were widely expected to deliver some form of Google TV, but still haven’t done so.

And given the fact that the TV itself is facilitating the access to internet content, as long as there is a direct Ethernet or WiFi connection to broadband from the TV, then the TV can be connected to any other type of TV, be it cable, DTH or IPTV or simply ASTC public broadcasts. So this is as much a route to any kind of hybrid as it is purely to the free to air community.

The other key thing about Google TV is the scope of its ambition. Most criticisms published in the few weeks since it has been on sale are about the quality of some video and hitches in its UI, or people just plain don’t want text search and TV on the same screen (they want one dedicated Facebook/Search screen and one dedicated TV screen). Right now Google TV is not supposed to be for everyone, just those who want to shift online viewing into the living room, without being told by Apple or some other CE maker, what exactly they are allowed to watch on the internet. Google TV lets you watch anything you can search, but interestingly that doesn’t include the Apple web site.

The rules for take-off in the consumer space are that first there are people who “Want one,” that the price is set so that they can “afford one” and then finally they “know someone who has one.”

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