Google is getting into the TV biz.
Today at Googles annual I/O Conference in San Francisco, the company announced plans for a new television programming service that integrates television and the Internet. Google TV is an entertainment hub that will provide a search bar to allow users to find shows on the satellite TV service as well as video from websites like Google\’s YouTube and consumers\’ DVRs. It will work with Intel chips in products by Sony and Logitech. Early expert analysis indicates Googles move as a power play against Apple in order to become the de facto provider of television hubs in the future. This marks the first true attempt at making the Internet a medium that serves as a giant video-on-demand library.
The unveiling of Google TV seeks to address the growing demand for television and Web integration, as more users are beginning to turn to the Internet for programming due to increased levels of ease and accessibility.
The hub will come equipped with a full Chrome web browser, which gives users full access to the Web, and also grants access to the Android Market so that applications can be downloaded, and subsequently run on HDTVs. A Google representative today stated that any app that doesnt specifically require phone functionality should work on Google TV. According to a Google press release, Android phones can be paired to Google TV devices over Wi-Fi and users can control their TVs with voice searches, which means that a person watching a video on an Android can then push that video directly to Google TV via Wi-Fi.
Google TV is an open platform free of restrictions and powered by hardware that can handle Flash. Adobe Flash Player 10.1 will be integrated directly into the Google Chrome browser on Google TV, allowing viewers to experience millions of web pages with Flash content, including games, animations, applications, videos and audio.
Google TV also features a bookmark option, which is similar to Internet bookmarking, in that preferred programs and videos can be stored in one easily accessible place. Users can also put a live channel into a picture-in-picture mode and surf the Web while watching it. They can use the translate feature, which will automatically generate subtitles in a language of choice. The company has plans to introduce an HDTV camera and video chat for Google TV, along with more choices for navigation and control, including apps to turn a smartphone into an advanced controller for Google TV and home entertainment systems.
Google TV hubs are set to hit the U.S. market by the fall and have already garnered significant support from a lot of big name companies like Intel, Logitech, Dish Networks, Adobe and Best Buy. While there is no word on pricing yet, Sony said that it plans to offer the service in some of its newer Bravia televisions, as well as Blu-ray players. It should be noted that this is the beginning of a new partnership between Sony and Google. Besides the TV and set-top box, the two companies plan a more broad integration of Android and other Sony devices for home, mobile, and personal technology.