Is Google TV The Missing Link In The Connected Home?

  • Posted on: 20 June 2010
  • By: Patrick Oliphant

Envisioning a home where every electronic devices are connected was once in the realm of science fiction, and mostly pursue by gadget geeks and science fiction enthusiast. This is changing and camera trickery are becoming a reality, faster than we can imagine. Last month the world’s biggest content provider – Google along with other consumer electronics and software partners (Intel, DISH Network, Adobe, Sony and Logitech) announced Google TV, a platform that promises to change Television and home entertainment as we know it.

The Connected Home Before Google TV

Up until now I have see most of the major chip manufactures and consumer electronics suppliers developing solutions for the connected home. Sony has develop a host of 3D HDTV and home Theater systems, with the latest being the 3D BRAVIA HDTV and Home Theater. There is Denon and Onkyo with their AV Receivers which offer a host connectivity options and other home entertainment systems.

Intel has been busy developing a new range of processors for their Consumer Electronics 3.0 platform. MIPS has establish the Android on MIPS project which count some for world’s biggest chips and electronics makers as members. At this year’s CE Show in Las Vegas, MIPS along with other members demonstrated some promising Android prototype for the connected home. MIPS and Yahoo have also formed partnership to make the Yahoo! Widgets Engine available in some digital home devices.

With regards to software companies Microsoft has been a part of enabling the connected home for some time with Mediaroom, windows media home server, the Microsoft Hohm energy services, and recently they announced that Silverlight is now available as a SOC solution on some Broadcom and Intel chips.  Adobe has been in it for some time as well with their ongoing work in the Open Screen project and now they will play a key role in the Google TV platform.

For me on unexpected guest was Cisco, through their Linksys and Medianet home gateway and networking solution Cisco is now a major player in providing connected home solutions. There are others like Apple who started out as simply entertainment systems and they have become handy tools to have around the home.
The Connected Home with Google TV

Google has been on the fringes of the connected home for some time both directly and indirectly. I can remember the launched of the AlertMe home energy management service last year, this was provided in partnership with Google and British Gas. This was the first time I see Google actively participating in a connected home solution; yes they are behind the Android platform but in terms of the connected home others seem to be more active in developing solutions for this sector. With the arrival of Google TV it shows that Google has its site set on the connected home and is committed to it.

Google TV will bring a lot of changes to how we use our television; the first think is search. With Google TV you will be able to search the internet, cloud-based information applications as well as Pay TV.

According to Google, navigating content will now be through a single device and single screen, Google TV introduces an integrated search experience to help views easily find relevant content across over-the-air, channel listing, internet, Pay TV, DVR, as well as a picture-in-picture layout to access multiple windows simultaneously.  Through the Google TV home screen you can organize your favourite content and personalized your TV.*

The world consumption of digital media – especially video is predicted to quadruple by the year 2014, according to Cisco and the domestic consumption is right up there as well, according to our analysis. A part of the Google TV platform will support the WebM project’s new VP8 video and audio CODEC technology, allow for high video quality viewing over congested final-mile connections. This is a Google project that will allow us to enjoy more YouTube content through our televisions.
Google TV Partners

To have it desired effect Google as chosen partners that are already major contributors in this sector, and who are already familiar with Google Chrome and Google Android on with the solution, is built.

Intel is contributing its chip technology develop under its Consumer Electronics range, a new technology chip set design specifically for home appliances. The latest from this range is the Intel Atom processor CE4100, the new platform will offer home theatre quality A/V performance.

To support the launch of Google TV Sony has announced that coming this year is “Sony Internet TV” built on the Intel CE chipset - a world first television set to have Google TV already integrated.

Logitech will be building a line of accessories around the Google TV platform. First is a companion box that will allow existing homes with HDTV home entertainment systems and set-top box to easily integrated Google TV into their existing environment. Logitech is promising to add remote control with keyboard, HDTV camera and video chat for Google TV.

DISH Network will allow customers to enjoy content across traditional TV, DVR and the web. Adobe Flash Player 10.1 will be integrated directly into Google Chrome browser on Google TV, something Adobe has already been doing.

Best Buy who already has an establish partnerships with Yahoo, TiVo and RoxioNow is the distributor of choice for Google TV appliances.

*some of these features are only available with advanced integration from DISH Network.