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Google TV not ready for prime time

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for Google TV. First, Fox joined the other three major networks in blocking Google TV from streaming their web content; then Walt Mossberg and David Pogue, two of the best-known commentators on consumer technology, came out with some harsh criticism of the product’s market readiness.

Now, long time Google nemesis Viacom has joined the content embargo, denying Google TV access to a swath of additional programming, including its popular Comedy Central properties, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.

Although the broadcast companies have given a variety of reasons for pulling their content – Fox said that Google TV’s footprint was too small – it is widely believed that they are more concerned about losing TV ad revenue if their content becomes more widely available through the Internet.

Meanwhile, journalistic criticism of Google TV centers on both its cost and complexity. There are currently three very different ways to get Google TV. One way is through the Revue – a small black set-top box from Logitech, which costs $300; the second is though a custom Sony Blu-ray player costing $400; and the third is through one of Sony’s new line of Internet TVs, which start at $600. All are significantly costlier options than Apple TV ($99) or the Roku set-top box ($60), which offer some of the same features.

But despite the cost of the hardware, it is Google’s operating software that has attracted most of the adverse comment. As David Pogue wrote in the New York Times, “when we sit down at the TV, we want to be passive, with our brains turned off.” Instead, Google has turned a time of relaxation into a much more active web-based experience, filled with additional remotes, keyboards, screen menus, and search boxes.

Both Pogue and Mossberg conclude that while it may be of interest to technophiles, Google TV is not for the average consumer. Combine that opinion with the absence of popular programming and it’s probably a good idea to take Google TV off the holiday shopping list – at least for this year!



Comments:
Comment by Nancy, posted 1/13/2011, 2:58 PM:

I am a mom and a tech geek. I love the integration I have experience with Google TV. The Logitech Revue product works better with DISH Network than any other tv provider. As an employee at DISH, I believe it is one of the best products we have been associated with-next to our own developed DVR technology. Readers of your article can go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiIPoWXALbs to view it or to DISH's website http://www.dishnetwork.com/googletv for more information! I am always multi-tasking
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