A Google TV 2.0 Sneak Peak

Dave Zatz —  October 20, 2011 — 29 Comments

Google-TV-Honeycomb2

After reading my Google TV 2.0 lament, our friend Scott Greczkowski of Satellite Guys wanted us to share action shots of the upcoming lean back experience.

The original Google TV initiative, comprised of Sony and Logitech hardware, wasn’t exactly well received in the marketplace. In fact, disastrous sales led Logitech to knock $200 off their set-top box… about the same time they sacked the CEO. So to improve upon the experience, Google is modernizing the interface and bringing the familiar Android Market of Honeycomb to the table – with both Google and Logitech indicating release is mere weeks away. And I expect we’ll see both software updates made available for existing devices plus a variety of new hardware vessels. Which one hopes is more in line with Roku and Apple TV pricing this time around.

Google-TV-Honeycomb8

As we were previously exposed to many elements of the new Honeycomb 3.1 UI last last spring, I wanted to highlight Scott’s Google TV 2.0 app store experience. And my first “Android Market” observation is the thought that perhaps Google should have gone with “Android TV” given the underpinnings of Google TV and their success in the smartphone arena. That ship has sailed, so I’m left wondering why the Android Market is branded as such when Google TV Market would work just as well. Beyond labels, the app store mimics the mobile experience. Browse, download, and rate apps with users being alerted as to the data the app can access. Thanks to reader Khalid, we can even currently browse the small but growing selection of Google TV 2.0 apps via desktop web browser ahead of launch. Based on the screengrabs and marketplace browsing, I suspect  some early favorites might be Pandora, Twitter, and the WSJ.

Google-TV-Honeycomb12

Unfortunately, thus far and based on Scott’s experience, some of the best “apps” are still Google TV-specific video streaming web pages - such as the Al Jezeera implementation shown below. But it’s a double edged sword as many content providers continue to selectively block access from Google TV, including CBS (above) and ABC. Perhaps they’ll offer Google TV owners dedicated apps or provide video through an aggregator like Hulu.But, at the end of the day, it may not matter for Scott who insists this is the same old mediocre Google TV experience featuring merely a slicker theme and telling me “it’s lipstick on a pig.”

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29 responses to A Google TV 2.0 Sneak Peak

  1. does anyone know if GTv 2.0 and or logitech have fixed the dolby audio issue?

  2. Lipstick on a pig. And we will stay the course!!!!

  3. Surely Google TV will be Ice Cream Sandwich now, not honeycomb? That was the whole point of ICS wasn’t it? One OS to rule them all.

  4. Ha, no. Ain’t gonna happen like that in 2011.

  5. Yeah… but, really, will it not be blocked by everyone and his brother?

  6. It may get around blocking and such with ICS code/browser as you can far more easily set it as a desktop device. i.e. make websites think its Chrome or IE vs googleTV.

    Additionally, if it has apps, there will be 3rd party browsers like Dolphin that will definitely allow you a way around this.

    If this is finally full android (please ICS) then it should be remarkably different device than its predecessor.

  7. Slingplayer? Hello? Where the heck are you?

  8. Far as I know, it’s not the browser preventing video to play on certain sites. It’s Adobe flash announcing that it’s GoogleTV and not just Chrome. That was how Hulu was blocking GoogleTV. Hoping HTML5 video keeps getting more popular.

  9. Owning a Logitech Revue since November 2010 when I got a good deal at the time through Dish Network, here are my thoughts:
    1. WAHHHH I will no longer get all excited over rumors. Access to the market was originally rumored to be available by the end of 2010, then by March 2011, then by end of summer 2011, and now rumored to be early November 2011.
    2. The current hardware is awful, and severely underpowered. Even an update to Honeycomb on this thing will probably still run like puke.
    3. Hating the the fact that even when it is released after all of the delays, Google TV will still be behind the times… running Honeycomb, not ICS.

    It had SUCH potential, and based on what I am seeing so far in the leaked beta: “lipstick on a pig”, just as a previous commenter said.

  10. And Krys2fur is correct. You are able to change the user agent string in Chrome on Google TV so it identifies it as something else for website rendering purposes. It has been confirmed that it is Flash that gives the foul ID that allows all of these websites to block access. Thanks again, Adobe.

  11. Flash 11 just been Launched, also on one of the image the Logitech Media Player icon shows music note image differ than the one on Current Google TV

    we know from Logitech CC that they having a Digital Home & Music strategy, so i expect logitech to announce Wireless Speakers, check Logitech’s Harmony Link Video

  12. I hope when people complain about blocked content, they are very clear about what’s happening. The same networks and content producers who make content available on my PC, laptop and phone are blocking content on GoogleTV.
    Is it because the ads are stripped out? NO! It’s still viewed in a browser.
    Do they think I can’t hook up a laptop to a TV???
    Who’s advising these network execs???

  13. Congratulations on making it to Techmeme with this post.

  14. So any other questions on the 2.0 update?

    (BTW I dont have it hooked up to a surround sound system in my bedroom, so I can’t check the Dolby issue.)

  15. Yeah Scott I emailed you on Wednesday asking if you could post any information regarding what appears to be an Amazon Instant Video application. Do you have screenshots of that?

  16. the biggest question for me — is browser and UI performance better? More responsive?

    What version of Chrome is running on the new load?

  17. Matthew, I didnt take any, but if you shoot me a PM on SatelliteGuys I will try to take some tonight for you. :)

    RB as far as performance goes, still feels the same speed as the 1.0 software. I have not noticed any improvements there.

  18. Do you have a quick and dirty list of what sites/apps don’t or are not allowed with the new release? For example, I see that Netflix was on it, but would my Hulu+ work on it?

  19. I’m also curious about Amazon instant video streaming (not downloading), as with the videos made available to Prime members. Anyone have a review of that for either GTV 1.0 or 2.0?

  20. Lee — Amazon Streaming Works fine on GTV 1.0. No problems with it.

  21. So – i’m thinking about getting the current 24″ Sony Google for a desktop TV. …should I buy it now at $300? …or pay a couple hunderd bucks more for a sexier looking pig? hmmm…thoughts???!!!!

  22. Honeycomb vs Ice Cream Sandwich – no big deal. Google TV is a unique platform with design considerations different from smartphones and tablets. The vast majority of the APIs are the same between HC and ICS, so it isn’t a big deal for developers. But they’ll want to create Google TV specific versions of apps for many things, to optimize them for control via keyboard and remote – and not a touchscreen.

    Even if they don’t, most apps written for ICS will also run fine on HC, and therefore should run on Google TV. Many of the changes to ICS are UI related – and Google TV already has a unique UI. It wouldn’t get most of the changes made to ICS because it doesn’t operate in the same way. ICS is optimize for buttonless, touchscreen control – which doesn’t make sense for Google TV.

    On top of that, ICS is only just releasing on the Galaxy Nexus, and vendors are scrambling to bring it to their tablets this year. To bring it to Google TV would take a lot of work to apply the Google TV specific features and UI. We wouldn’t see it until well into 2012. Meanwhile they’ve already been doing the work on Honeycomb and it seems to have taken longer than expected.

    I’m looking forward to the new software on my Logitech Revue.

  23. So no Sagetv love like all the now defunct Sagetv users were hoping. I was kinda hoping there would be a LiveTv aspect to 2.0.

  24. Mike – All existing Google TV devices are to get this upgrade when it comes out. So go ahead and buy now and you’ll get the lipstick later.

  25. John – No one really expected any SageTV tech in this update. This update was first talked about before Google bought SageTV. And so far it has only been shown on the existing Google TV hardware. Any Live TV or DVR functionality would come on new, dedicated HW.

  26. So what your saying is there is still hope:)

  27. What is the media player like? Is it still in beta? Have they opened it up to more video formats?

    If they can fix the media player and make it play everything I will be beyond thrilled.

  28. I’m so tired of hearing about the Marketplace.

    What about the other important features such as the media player? Has anything been improved other than making it 3.1 with a different interface?

    I thought they were adding FLASH DRM with this version so we WOULD NOT be blocked by the likes of CBS and ABC.

    Can’t we download Flash Player with DRM from this Marketplace? Or perhaps, gasp, Firefox Browser? WTF?

    Jesus.. I thought the update would be something to look forward to.

    Now I’m thinking the big update only allows us to download stupid-ass games like the ancient Frogger.

    C’mon.. you have GOT to be kidding me…

    Yes, I was an early adopter.. $300 for it. Pity me. LOL!

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