Monday, October 25, 2010

Google and Sony Partner

Just when you thought you finally figured out all the options you have to watch TV, another new category of devices and services comes on the market. So was the case earlier this month when Google announced that they had partnered with Sony to develop and market a TV that is essentially the “Swiss Army Knife” of living room TV viewing.

For years pundits have been predicting the eventual merging of the various television and media services into one box. Up until now only the most technically adroit among us with ample wallets could afford and actually use the first generation hybrid devices. Google and Sony promise to change that.

I have written often about the various video services that are now available to most of us. Gone are the days when our choices for viewing were controlled by broadcasters, cable/satellite companies or the video store. The Internet has changed all of that since it levels the distribution playing field. Programs can be sent directly to the viewer whenever they want to watch.

One of the negative by-products of this explosion in choices is the ability to keep track of what is available. It is like drinking water from a fire hydrant … it might quench your thirst but the experience is not pleasant. The TV viewing choices are so vast that if there was a printed “TV Guide” containing all the channels and programs it would have be the size of the New York City phone book to list a single week’s offerings.

Google TV promises to do much more than only physically connecting all of your sources of programming such as over-the-air broadcasting, cable, satellite and the Internet. It has an easy-to-use interface that allows you to know what is available and to actually watch or record the programs. Perhaps this is the most important development.

The Google TV also allows you to access the non-video services on the Internet such as facebook, and even email. Recent studies show a significant increase in people who report that they watch TV and surf Internet simultaneously. Whether a single screen device will prove to be adequate remains to be seen.

As the Internet becomes more robust and more households get increased data delivery speed, TV will continue to migrate from the traditional distribution services. Will this improve the quality of the programming and reduce the costs? That remains to be seen. I, for one, am not holding my breath.

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Blogger Ricardo Ang II said...

I was recently at Best Buy and took 15 minutes to play with the device. First thing I've noticed: the remote is horrible! Navigation was a pain and the buttons aren't backlit! It's inexcusable for most folks who would want to operate it in the dark, without turning on a light.

10:32 AM  

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