Google unveiled Google TV at its I/O conference on May 20, promising to revolutionize the TV ecosystem by giving people “the power to experience what they love on TV and on the web on a single screen,” while turning the living room “into a new platform for innovation.”
It’s a promise made by others (including no-less formidable innovators such as Microsoft and Apple) but never delivered on. Much has changed since Microsoft failed with Web TV, however, and even since Apple introduced (and has since largely ignored) its Apple TV. The amount of premium video content available on the Internet has grown exponentially, while faster broadband connections have made delivering high-quality video over IP networks feasible.
More critically, the number of Internet-enabled consumer electronics devices, from HDTV sets to Blu-ray Disc players to DVRs, is growing rapidly, creating a potentially vast installed base of Google TV-capable devices. By 2014, GigaOM Pro expects that over 50 percent of HDTVs shipped worldwide will have a network connection (Wi-Fi, Ethernet or both) and by 2015, nearly 6 in 10 will have one. Of those, we expect that nearly 70 percent will include some kind of embedded web platform, whether Google TV or another vendor’s app store (see TV Apps: Evolution From Novelty to Mainstream). While no guarantee that consumers will embrace the marriage of TV and the web this time, conditions are certainly more fertile now than at any time in the past.
The first Google TV-enabled devices — a set-top “companion box” from Logitech and BRAVIA-branded HDTVs and Blu-ray players from Sony — are slated to be released by the fall of 2010. Electronics retailer Best Buy has committed to carrying and promoting the Sony and Logitech devices.