Google regrouping on Google TV; Toshiba, LG to delay products

The Google TV concept seemed promising, in particular the application of search to tie together the various sources of content—broadcast, cable, satellite, online—and bypassing many of the frustrating listing guides. However, many networks have so far blocked Google TV access to their online content. Additionally, the push to include full access to the Web required a keyboard and mouse for navigation, resulting in some awkward and bulky remotes.

So far, only Sony and Logitech have released products based on the initial version of Google TV. Reviews have been mixed, with most noting that Google TV doesn't offer more content than other, much less expensive set-top boxes. "The concept of Google TV is very neat and I'm excited to see where it goes, but the only place my Logitech Revue is going is back to Best Buy," wrote one reviewer on Amazon; NYT noted it was a typical response to Google TV by consumers.

According to the NYT's sources, Samsung plans to have two Google TV appliances to show off at CES next month, and Vizio may have an HDTV set with integrated Google TV that it will only show in private demonstrations. However, Toshiba, LG, and Sharp have all reportedly delayed plans to release Google TV-based products at the behest of Google.

"We have an understanding with Google about the future product roadmap and will bring the right product out at the right timeframe," Jeff Barney, the vice president of Toshiba's digital products division, told the Times.

For its part, Sony said that sales of its Sony Internet TVs were "in line with expectations," and the company expects sales to pick up as Google TV gains access to apps via the Android market.

"Some reviews have been good, some have been bad," head of Sony's TV division, Hiroshi Yoshioka, told reporters on Monday. "It might take a little longer for users to really start having fun," he predicted.

Delaying release of the products is a gamble. While Google can work behind the scenes to improve the interface and perhaps partner with content providers to allow access to streaming TV content, it may take another year or more for Google TV to gain consumer mindshare. In that same time, competitors like Apple, Roku, Western Digital, and Boxee are all carving a space in consumers' A/V setups.

Source: ars technica

Tags: Google, Google TV

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