This week I finally took the plunge into the streaming content device world, or whatever we are calling a la carte television solutions such as Apple TV and Google TV. I will be totally honest and tell you I have been considering purchasing an Apple TV for a long time now but just couldn’t stomach the $249 price point, however, at $99 I couldn’t pass it up. I really believe that the new price point will bring the Apple TV out of the “hobby” category and put it in many more peoples homes.
Without going into detail on the services each implements, I will just say that both devices deliver streaming content such as Netflix, flickr, YouTube amongst others. The difference in content lies in the fact that Apple TV utilizes the iTunes Store for movies and television shows in a pay per episode format. Another selling point for Apple TV is the seamless integration with content on your Mac, either hard wired or wirelessly. Google TV really emphasizes the ability to access the internet and endless possibilities.
After owning an Apple TV for just over a week, and having the ability to see numerous demonstrations on the Google TV, the implementation of each is extremely different. From what I have seen, Apple implements the whole television experience and what I mean by that is. when viewing content all the screen real estate is dedicated to that content. There will be no tweeting, checking email, or cruising the net, in other words there will be absolutely no multitasking in the Apple TV world.
On the other hand, Google TV looks to give you a multiple screen experience using a Picture-in-Picture implementation with the ability to cruise the Internet while watching your content. Now, this type of concept is in essence your computer screen being broadcast onto your television screen, which has been attempted before and failed miserably. I’m not sure I want to have my email or Twitter feed on my television while my family is watching some Disney movie. That being said as I have been using my Apple TV and have desired the ability to multitask or look up some stats on the net while watching a ballgame. The Apple TV just seems a bit limited at this point, but if the rumors are true and apps from the App store will be accessible, I can see the possibility of ever increasingly usability.
I look forward to checking out Google TV, and, as I mentioned, I may not want a bunch of information on the screen while watching television, but at least with the Google product I have the option. I can choose to dedicate my screen to one specific piece of media or to split it up and have a ton of media on my screen at the same time. In any event, it will be extremely interesting to see how the likes of these two devices, as well as others such as the Boxee Box and the Roku Player will affect the way we interact with media around our homes.
Have you taken the plunge into streaming consumption of media? What device are you using? What features do you simply love or what would you like to see implemented? Let me know in the comments below.