CES 2012 and the Future of Google TV
Google TV (GTV) was officially launched in October of 2010 with initial support from Sony and Logitech. Sony integrated GTV into many of their high-end TV’s, while Logitech chose a different route. Logitech released a separate device that you hook-up to your TV, but preforms similarly to GTV on Sony’s TV’s. What GTV lets you do is access Android applications, Facebook, YouTube, Google Chrome browser, and more from your couch; essentially turning your TV into a smart TV. Since its launch, GTV has had its share of problems ranging from poor reviews, stiff competition from Apple TV, delayed updates, and lack of support from content providers such as Hulu and TV networks. As of November 2011, Logitech announced that the Revue is being discontinued; Logitech made this decision due to losing millions of dollars during its early adaption to GTV. Although Logitech is exiting the GTV business, it is still clear that the future of televisions is with Smart TV’s.
So what has Google done to help raise its flagging Smart TV business? The recent release of the Honeycomb upgrade with the Android Market is a step in the right direction, but with the loss of Logitech from GTV, it seems that a company needs to step up and fill the gap for support. LG, Samsung, and Vizio all major television producers, have stepped forward announcing that they will be releasing GTV products in the near future. This just may be what Google needs to get the ball rolling in the right direction. The true test is to see what these companies announce for GTV at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). I believe if Google and its allies can make a large enough impression at CES with the announcement of new GTV products, companies such as CBS, NBC, and Hulu will have no choice but to eventually accept GTV (and the likes) into their folds.
As it stands now, Google TV and Apple TV are a niche product. Many families already have electronics such as gaming consoles and laptops that offer much more functionality while also offering many of the features that Google TV has at no added cost. This makes it very hard for many to justify the addition of another device to hook up to ones TV. I think It is hard to predict what will happen this year with GTV, but it will be a turning point for better or worse. My guess is regardless of how bad GTV has done this far I think Google is getting on track. With the release of Honeycomb and the backing of some big name TV manufacturers, it has a bright future.