Today Google announced, via their blog, that the Honeycomb-based overhaul to the Google TV platform will start rolling out this weekend. Sony Internet TV users can expect the system update to be available beginning Saturday, while Logitech Revue owners will have to wait a bit longer for their upgrades.
I’ve got a Sony Internet TV in my house right now, and so am actually pretty eager to check out Google’s new take on television. Count me amongst the majority who were majorly disappointed by version one of the platform when it hit retail outlets right around this time last year. I actually bought Sony’s Blu-Ray/Google TV combo box only to return it a week later after being thoroughly turned off by the system. Since then I’ve been enjoying more and more Internet-based video content and in fact took the step of canceling cable TV in my house (save the bare minimum that comes with Cable modem service). So I’ve been seeking out Web-based video more than ever.
The current Google TV platform, which I’ve been getting re-acquainted with over the past few days via the Sony TV now in my living room, is still something of a confusing mess if you ask me. But its video search is very powerful, particularly if the video you’re searching for is available on YouTube or one of a handful of supported services like Amazon Instant Video (provided you’re a subscriber). The new Google TV promises a much more attractive and, presumably, intuitive UX along with Apps. Apps aren’t important because Apps are hot; Apps are important because they let the content providers regulate who gets to watch their programming, thus circumventing the “Google TV is blocked from accessing this Web video” problems that kneecapped the platform right out of the gate last year.
“TV & Movies” is the marquee app out of the gate, aiming to blend smart search and viewing history/preferences with access to broadcast/cable/sattelite and online video content. Look for a host of apps from big names, including HBO (HBO Go), TBS, TNT and CNBC to also debut at launch. One thing that’s apparently still missing is DVR integration, unless you’re a Dish subscriber. During the week that I’ve had Google TV back in my life, not being able to somehow integrate it with my TiVo has ranked amongst my biggest frustrations.
As soon as I get my OTA update I’ll start messing around with it and gather my thoughts in a blog post or two. Meantime, if you’re interested in the future of Google TV, check out the demo videos elGoog posted to YouTube earlier today.