How Google Wants to Enhance Your Television

John | Jun 17, 2011

Technology is many things to many people—and perhaps all things to some people—but the one thing it isn’t, is going away. The good guys at Google TV are doing their part to ensure that won’t happen. So, what exactly is Google TV? Google TV is what’s known as an overlay. This means it adds content to existing content. As an example, if you subscribe to a premium home entertainment provider, then by default you have access to a range of content that is delivered through the set top box, commonly referred to as a receiver. This includes regular television broadcasts, access to Pay-Per-View events, Video On Demand, and recorded shows by way of a Digital Video Recorder or DVR. When a Google TV set top devices is added into the mix, either as a separate component or integrated directly into televisions, additional content can be accessed. This includes Twitter and Facebook, access to additional web content like YouTube, and even direct access to Netflix right on your television. Google TV is actually a collaboration between Google, chip giant Intel, consumer electronics leader Sony, and smart-device innovators Logitech. Essentially, it’s Google’s Android operating system and a Linux version of their Chrome browser to create an interactive overlay. Interactive overlay? Linux? Chrome? Sound complicated? Depending on one’s “tech” savvy, acceptance could range from “I want this right now “, to “No thanks but I bet my grandkids would love it”. After all, the vast majority of us are still television traditionalists who, for the time being, prefer to keep our television viewing separate from our internet surfing. However, sometimes we really love the hybrid experience that results from blended technologies. For those who love the gadgetry and all that the modern world has to offer, Google TV could add a layer of fun and convenience that will serve to heighten the television viewing experience. After all, we’re not unfamiliar with set top technology, and more and more we’re getting used to technology convergence. Remember when music and television were separate? Now, your satellite or cable programming includes dozens of channels of digital music. What is even more exciting is that since it uses Google’s Android operating system and the Linux version of their Chrome browser, third-party developers can create additional features because of the open-source technology provided by both applications. The sky could literally be the limit when it comes to this new technology, currently limited to certain brands of Sony devices. However, both Toshiba and Vizio have shown a willingness to participate in this new technology. What will ultimately decide the success for Google TV and other integrated internet to television services, is if people ultimately find accessing the web from their TV beneficial. While the technology driving televisions has changed drastically over the last half century, the idea of what a television is has not. Many people will probably prefer a certain amount of proximity to the web browsing device, like from their smartphone or tablet. Time will tell. How often do you think you’d surf the web from your television, if you had the possibility?


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