Google TV Australia a set-top box for Internet television

There is such a thing as Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) TV in Australia. It just doesn't look like the much-ballyhooed U.S. version that was supposed to take over the video entertainment delivery business and send shudders through traditional multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs).

"The Australian version of Google TV isn't a television, it's a set-top box (that) doesn't even include TV tuners for watching live broadcasts," said a story in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Apparently, according to the story, Google TV Australian-style has more to do with bringing the Internet to the television and less to do with putting television and the Internet on equal footing. That's a little different than the U.S. model first proffered by Google in partnership with Sony (NYSE: SNE) and Intel (Nasdaq: INTC). That entailed building Android smartphone software into home entertainment gear "with a TV-friendly makeover," the Australian story said.

"Now Sony and Google are attempting to revive the concept, with Sony releasing a tiny Android-powered Google TV set-top box in Australia" that comes bundled with Sony's newest high end Bravia televisions, the article continued.

The way the article describes it, Google TV is just another box in the home entertainment center.

"If you want to watch live television or watch something you recorded previously, then the Google TV stays out of the way. But when you call on it, it can overlay menus on top of what you're watching, a bit like the way digital television gear can display the electronic program guide on the screen you're watching," the article continued.

That's not an altogether unwelcome addition to the Australian landscape, Sony Australia gadget guru Paul Colley told the newspaper.

"Google TV is the first good Web experience on the TV. It does picture in picture really well. come the Olympics, you might want to watch the marathon while at the same time browse the Olympics website for details about the athletes," he said in the interview.

Eventually, it's expected that the Google TV set-top box will allow users to interact with what they're watching—as long as the software is built directly into TVs and DVRs. And then, the article concluded, "the Internet will start to feel just like another television channel, letting viewers enjoy the best of both worlds."

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