After quite a bit of speculating, we finally know that Google TV is a real product, but there are still a lot of questions about what exactly the product is, and what it does.
While Google, as usual, released a pretty informative video that explains the basics of the new product, it still doesn’t go quite far enough to educate you on everything you need to know. You know, little things such as price … availability … how it connects, the brass tacks that help a consumer decide if this is an item they actually need in their lives.
First off, as was mentioned back in March when we first wrote this up, the leading partner in this venture is Sony. The hardware and software will be built into at least some Sony television sets, but it is not known how much of a premium this will add to the cost of the sets. For those who already have HD TVs and would like to take advantage of this new system, you will be able to purchase a set top box that will connect to your television via HDMI. (And that TV with 20 HDMI slots I’ve been waiting for is happening when?) No price has been mentioned as of yet for how much the box will run. Integration will also appear in the Playstation 3 at some point, but no date has been mentioned as to when that will happen.
While Google is saying that Google TV will be available to consumers in “Fall 2010” in the United States, there was no distinction made between this meaning the separate box or the Sony television sets. For those of you in other countries, you can expect to see international roll out happening through out 2011. The kick to the teeth is that the hardware will be exclusive to Best Buy here in the United States, but the good news is it is a one-time expense with no sort of subscription plan needed to use it beyond what you pay for Internet access.
The system is definitely Android based, and Google is promoting that you will be able to run Android apps inside of this system, you will also be running a version of the Chrome browser meaning you can do lots of nifty Web-based activities also. No word on if Chrome extensions will work on this version, but it is a distinct possibility I would imagine. The one major drawback being rumored today is that supposedly you won’t be able to play videos from Hulu even though the site is Flash-based. Apparently this has more to do with TV licensing than any sort of technical problem.
Logitech has been mentioned as a partner in this project to build remotes with keyboards built-in to them, it seems you will also be able to control the device from your Android phone if you so choose. Due to this you will also be able to do voice searches from your phone because of the search that is already built into the phones.
This all sounds very interesting and potentially useful, it would still be nice to know how much this may end up costing us. What point is there to getting excited about it if it ends up costing several hundred dollars. We’ve all been burnt before by Google when it looked like the Nexus One would be sold cheap and it ended up being north of $500. Will the same thing happen here? It seems like it would be a good idea to sell this as cheaply as possible because it provides Google with a way to finally get into your living room and on to your television, but you never can tell what this company is going to do exactly.
Hopefully Google will reveal the pricing in short order, but until they do, I’m not getting worked up over this.
What say you? Does Google TV interest you at all?