Google's announcement that it would partner with Intel, Logitech, Sony and Dish Network on its Google TV service was probably as anti-climactic as one could expect, being that it was also one of the worst kept secrets in recent months. The much talked about and anticipated debut of Google's plan to bring the web to televisions went as expected (sans technical glitches that plagued its roll out at its I/O developer's conference in San Francisco: not enough bandwidth available to connect), with one of the biggest revelations being that users would be able to use Google Search to browse web content and channel guides. The software will be based on Android, Google's mobile phone OS.
From the hardware side, Google said it would introduce with Sony an STB that incorporates Blu-ray and Sony said it would begin introducing Sony Internet TV's incorporating the Google TV platform in the fall. As rumored, Intel's Atom CE4100 processor will be used, which, IMS Research senior analyst Stephen Froehlich told FierceOnlineVideo will give the chip a toehold in an STB market it has been slow to penetrate and where x86 code is essentially nonexistent at the moment. The processors could push up the cost of TVs as much as $100, the New York Times reported.
Google, meanwhile, described Google TV as "an open platform that adds the power of the web to the television viewing experience, ushering in a new category of devices for the living room," and said it initially would be available only for use with Dish Networks, but is designed to for use with any operator. It has been conducting beta testing with several hundred Dish users for about a year.
In addition to streaming on-demand content from Netflix, Amazon and other services, Google TV will be able to access the Internet and run apps from the Android Market.
Google said it will keep Google TV open source to allow developers to build web apps for TV sets, and said it will be releasing APIs for Google TV soon.
"The long-term goal is to collaborate with the entire developer community to help drive entertainment in the living room forward and to introduce the next generation of TV-watching experience," the company said.
Froehlich said Google TV offered Dish two immediate payouts: One, it gave the satellite provider a better VOD platform, saving it from having to build one itself. And, two, it allows Dish to participate in the Google ad sales system.
"Right now Dish is competing on price, and that's not a good place to be, unless you truly have a different cost structure," he said. "By partnering with Google on this it gives Dish an immediate advantage and really helps it improve its television service
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