Print 48 comment(s) - last by vol7ron.. on Oct 18 at 9:35 AM

Sony's Google TV  (Source: Sony)

The TV packs one big remote control. Soon you will be able to control your TV via your Android smart phone, though, even using voice commands.  (Source: Sony)

For those who don't want to buy a new TV, Sony is also offering a Google TV Blu-Ray player, giving customers one more way to ditch the set-top box.  (Source: Sony)
Google aims to take over the emerging TV OS market

Google is increasingly became a leading force as an operating system developer.  Its Android smartphone operating system is growing faster than any other smartphone operating system, and its Chrome operating system for tablets and netbooks will soon debut as well.

But Google's latest OS entry comes in a market you might not expect -- television.  On Tuesday, Sony introduced the first television hardware on the market to be powered by Google's new Google TV OS.

The new Google TV-enabled HDTV flat-screens from Sony come in 24-inch ($600 USD); 32-inch ($800); 40-inch ($1,000); and 46-inch ($1,400) varieties.  They will be sold through and at retailers like Best Buy.  Best Buy will have the new TVs stocked by Sunday.

The new Sony TV marks a departure from "dumb" televisions that had to be attached to set-top boxes from companies like Apple, Logitech, Roku and Boxee, in order to provide additional functionality.  With Google designing the operating system, Sony was free to focus on adding enough hardware to support it -- a manageable task.

Sony packed an Intel Atom-based CE4100 consumer electronics system-on-chip (SoC) into the television to provide it sufficient processing power.  The TV's video hardware is capable of providing a dual-view mode, with two simultaneous high-definition feeds.  You can connect the television to the internet by ethernet cable or by Wi-Fi

The operating system, Google TV, is actually a variant of Android and shares much of its source code.  As Android is built on a Linux kernel, this marks yet another example of how Google is quietly growing Linux's market share (Linus Torvalds must be somewhere silently cheering).

The OS is streamlined to provide easy web browsing, with a focus on common activities like reading the news, posting to Twitter/Facebook, and running searches.  Much like Microsoft did with Bing for its upcoming Windows Phone 7, Google has fine-tuned a version of its search engine that's more friendly for TV uses, with a propensity to display TV show schedules prominently in the results.  As with any browser, users can bookmark their favorite content for a speedy return at a later date.

One of Google's closest competitors, the new $99 Apple TV, has a lot to worry about from Google's new OS.  It is capable of playing 1080p video, while the Apple box can only muster 720p.  And while Apple has banned apps from its set-top (for now), Google has embraced them, with the new TVs soon being able to fully access the Android market (Sony's page says this feature is "Coming in 2011").  The Sony TVs come preloaded with CNBC, Napster, NBA, Netflix, Pandora, Twitter, and YouTube apps.

The TV will soon have a plethora of control options.  Current users must utilize a bulky six-inch remote that packs an optical mouse pointer, a mini keyboard, a home button, and more.  Soon, though, Google will be releasing an app that will allow Android phone owners to use touch and voice controls on their phone to navigate through their television's menus.

But Google isn't abandoning those with "dumb" TVs who are loathe to upgrade to a new set like the slick Sony HDTVs.  Accompanying the HDTV launch is a new $400 USD Blu-Ray player from Sony that come with Google TV installed inside.  This unit comes with the same kind of advantages as its television brethren -- eliminating the superfluous set-top box, offering full 1080p, and offering access to useful apps.

Surveying the Google TV launch, one can't help but get the notion that Google is plotting the demise of the traditional personal computer.  After all, much like Apple, it is luring customers away from their desktops and is getting them to increasingly devote their computing time to their smart phones and tablets.  And now it's doing the same thing with televisions.  Given the success of Android, it seems that makers of traditional PC hardware and software should be very concerned.

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By Shatbot on 10/13/2010 9:27:55 AM , Rating: 2
Thankyou Google, at least now there will be a piece of Sony hardware that can render properly. With all the stupid updates issued by Sony on my PS3, Google's site still renders with the JPEG "google" over the 'seach' and 'feeling lucky' buttons. Honestly - it's the most simple page in the world.

RE: Finally...
By pequin06 on 10/13/2010 9:33:29 AM , Rating: 2
I tried maybe twice to surf the internet on my PS3 and it really wasn't worth the effort.
I think it would be a good idea later down the line to update the PS3 for GoogleTV.
Then it really would do everything.

RE: Finally...
By MikeMurphy on 10/13/2010 9:37:52 AM , Rating: 2
a QWERTY keyboard in a next-gen living room device?

They couldn't come up with anything better than that?

RE: Finally...
By w1z4rd on 10/13/2010 10:32:42 AM , Rating: 2
i've been waiting for one of these for as long as i can remember!! this is totally awesome - and now i know where my savings is going to go to!

RE: Finally...
By Motoman on 10/13/2010 12:02:57 PM , Rating: 2
...what, you wanted a Dvorak keyboard?

RE: Finally...
By omnicronx on 10/13/2010 1:08:25 PM , Rating: 2
Like what?

A keyboard with different key positions than every computer in use today?

Of course its going to be a QWERTY keyboard, its the standard.

QWERTY dates back to typewritters (for letter positioning at the very least) and is not going anywhere anytime soon.

LOL @ the comment below though ;)

RE: Finally...
By MikeMurphy on 10/14/2010 2:01:29 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah guys, If you think I was referring to a non-standard keyboard layout rather than a GUI that doesn't require a keyboard, then the concept is obviously totally lost on you.

My apologies for cluttering up the discussion board with such 'advance' concepts.

RE: Finally...
By Alexstarfire on 10/14/2010 5:27:12 AM , Rating: 2
How else do you use the internet without a keyboard? That's really the only reason I see them having it on there. Probably also great for searching through your files for something specific, but it's pretty much impossible to use the internet without a keyboard of some kind.

RE: Finally...
By The Raven on 10/15/2010 11:15:47 AM , Rating: 2
Do you work for Nintendo?

The Wii's browser sucks BTW. Please give me a keyboard.

RE: Finally...
By vol7ron on 10/18/2010 9:35:47 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah guys, If you think I was referring to a non-standard keyboard layout rather than a GUI that doesn't require a keyboard, then the concept is obviously totally lost on you.

My apologies for cluttering up the discussion board with such 'advance' concepts.

So by 'advance' (sic), not 'advanced', you mean that you want the TV to read your mind, or at least have some sort of retina recognition to follow your eye pattern? Is that because voice activation isn't good enough...

Soon, though, Google will be releasing an app that will allow Android phone owners to use touch and voice controls on their phone to navigate through their television's menus.

RE: Finally...
By Adonlude on 10/13/2010 2:39:54 PM , Rating: 2
The article says Sony is launching a $400 Bluray player with Google TV. Now why would they implement the same tech in the PS3 at a lower price and obsolete this $400 item? It would be nice but unfortunately it will never happen.

RE: Finally...
By acer905 on 10/13/2010 4:08:39 PM , Rating: 2
... When Bluray players were still new, selling for $1000, sony put one in the PS3, essentially doing what you said they would never do.

RE: Finally...
By Alexstarfire on 10/14/2010 1:10:00 AM , Rating: 2
Because it also acts as a Google TV? IDK, maybe that only makes sense to me though.

RE: Finally...
By JasonMick on 10/13/2010 9:46:28 AM , Rating: 2
Sony, in my experience has had some big driver problems (at least in the past). I had a Vaio laptop a few years back that would magically have all the text/icons for running programs on the taskbar get scrambled (under Vista). You could reach some programs, by clicking on the scrambled graphic of another running program (e.g. click Firefox to get to Open Office, etc) And when you Alt+Tab through Windows they would just disappear.

I was sure it was some sort of malware or something, so I scoured the laptop using HijackThis and other free utilities, searching for any trace of an infection. I even took it to some security researcher academic types that I know @ my local university. No luck. No serious malware/virus infection.

I got Sony to replace the GPU. It still had the same issue. At the end of the day I concluded that it was most likely a video drivers problem. (as the tasks would still be running, it was just their window display that was screwed up).

RE: Finally...
By Samus on 10/13/10, Rating: 0
RE: Finally...
By EasyC on 10/15/2010 7:13:31 AM , Rating: 2
Wrong. Sony has come a long way in the laptop quality game. I've had my laptop for about 8 months and not a single issue with it. It offered a better screen with higher resolution (Since when did every laptop manufacturer feel that 1366x768 was an OK resolution???), form factor (14"), and power (i5/GT330) for less than its competitors. It doesn't warm my lap even under full load and is bone quiet. Oh, and it was cheaper.

I was very hesitant when buying it, but it's gotten nothing but great reviews, so I took the plunge and haven't looked back.

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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