Google Lowers Google TV Market Expectations

Ahead of the imminent release of Google TV 2.0 software, based mobile operating system Android Honeycomb, the Googleplex has begun reaching out to existing customers. As such, what struck me about el Goog’s messaging is that it seems to take something of an apologetic tone setting only modest expectations. Given lackluster sales of the poorly reviewed Google TV experience, perhaps that’s a safer approach than shouting from the rooftops. Regardless, I’d still say Google needs some assistance in the marketing department. Perhaps the best sound bite stems from the new Android Market section:

Android developers can now bring existing mobile apps or entirely new ones to TV. Initially, the number of apps won’t be large – for example, apps requiring a touch screen, GPS, or telephony won’t show up – but 50 developers have seeded the Market with some cool and useful apps for the TV. We’re excited to see the number of apps grow.

“But 50” is apologetic yet, ironically, the number dwarfs Apple TV app availability. Then again, as we’ve learned with Roku, quantity doesn’t equate to quality. And given our brief Google TV 2.0 hands on, the initial crop of Android Market TV apps leaves something to be desired with only a few diamonds in this rough.

Typically, I might make a comparison to Apple’s successful marketing… yet even they’ve had a hard time cracking the Internet-connected TV space, for years referring to aTV as merely a hobby. But Google’s language and concepts appear geared towards us techies. To reach mass market appeal (and sales) they both need to produce and market in simple terms on what Google TV offers, versus what they don’t.

Some deployment nuggets from Google’s email blast:

We’re excited to send you this advance notice about a number of software improvements that will soon be coming to your device through an automatic update. The update is rolling out over the next few weeks. When you see a dialogue box on your TV saying “update available,” feel free to click “update now,” otherwise you can postpone the update by a few hours by clicking “not now” (handy if you’re in the middle of watching a movie). Once the update has downloaded, just follow the on-screen instructions.

Interestingly, it looks like Google had hoped to start rolling out the new software about a week ago:

If you have not yet updated to the version of Google TV first made available on October 25, 2011

Ah well, while Google missed their summer release window the new app Market will be less than a year late. Compared to say the still missing in action DirecTV TiVo.

7 thoughts on “Google Lowers Google TV Market Expectations”

  1. While I don’t own a Google TV device, I was hoping that they would really knock it out of the park with this update, as that could only help but to push the entire market forward; doesn’t look like it is going to happen. As the owner of multiple Rokus, Xboxes & PS3s and an Apple TV, I am still waiting to be blown away by a device. As noted, Roku has quantity, but overall quality of the channels/apps and the UI is only average; and Apple TV has a great UI, AirPlay and the Remote app, but a paucity of apps. Like Apple TV, I would say the PS3 has a great UI but is lacking in content.

    In my mind, ‘the’ breakthrough device will have to offer great content, a significant breadth of content, support higher fidelity streams (HD video and 5.1 audio), a polished interface, search across multiple – if not all channels/apps – and multiple (e.g. traditional remote, mobile remote app and voice) input methods. When you combine the content currently available, the recently announced partnerships, the recently announced Xbox Companion, the upcoming integration of Bing with Kinect, it seems like Xbox is the only device on the edge of being a truly being great device.

  2. I’m a cord-cutter. My wife isn’t.

    She wants simple – pick up the remote and watch TV. So, for the past year I’ve been trying out various solutions to the cord-cutting conundrum of “duplicating the cable experience.”

    I started out with Roku – still love it, still using it. But it’s not the whole answer.

    I hooked up an extra PC to the TV. Works well, but it’s really too geeky for the average person. Tried every Media Center out there, but none really was easy to use, and there was still the matter of getting network shows without having to go to each network’s home page.

    Tried an OTA outside antenna. Worked OK, but it really didn’t shine until I got the “free Tivo Premier with Antenna and reduced monthly Tivo rates” (mentioned here a while back – for those interested it’s available at BestBuy for $99 and $9.99 a month) I got an amplifier for the antenna, hooked up the Tivo, and it works great! A side benefit of Tivo – Netflix, Amazon, Blockbuster, and HuluPlus.

    That led to the Logitech Revue and GoogleTV at the sale price of $99.

    I hooked the Revue to Tivo (which, by the way, is a DVR with 2 tuners and can record 2 shows at one time) and it works flawlessly. Easy to switch between the net and OTA tv on the Tivo. I can see why networks and Hulu have banned the Revue/GoogleTV – it could easily become the front runner in ease of use for cord cutters.

    The Revue is far from perfect, but this is the only thing I’ve found that combines OTA tv with the net. IF – and that’s a big IF – they continue to improve the browser, the media player and the apps, this could go far towards bridging the gap.

    With my antenna –> Tivo –> Revue setup, I’ve found what works best for me. HD OTA TV and access to the Net at the same time. Excellent!

  3. FYI the 24″ Sony Google TV (refurb) is on sale at the sony store for $259.99 with free shipping. I am going to pick one up for a TV in an extra room at our family’s vacation home.

  4. The lack of apps isn’t the problem. The problem is the lack of content. There is a fixed amount of quality licensed content out there and there are only so many ways different providers can repackage it. In fact Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu pretty much cover very close to 100% of available US commercial content with about 80% overlap among themselves.

  5. I’m loving my updated Google TV *now* that it has Plex, otherwise it was kind of blah. The new Guide (read: “What’s On”) is cumbersome when you only have 13 channels of OTA television.

    Also the new Netflix (not sure if Sony is responsible for this) is NOT an improvement. Previously you could view sections (Instant Queue, etc) in rows of 4 with 5 titles per row— now it’s clicking left or right at the rate of 1 title per click. I logged a complaint with Sony, tried emailing Google but they didn’t respond… undecided on how to proceed, we really dislike the change.

  6. I have not seen the Plex app, but I’m told it would allow for local content organization on a Logitech Revue (once the update for Honeycomb hits that box, which I understand it has yet to do). Question for those of you that have seen it: does it organize things with cover art the way the Boxee Box does? I’ve been pretty pleased with the BB for local media (I’ve got a lot), but would love to see my searches more “federated”, so that if I ran a search on Google TV, it might show me that I have an MKV of Avatar, but that it is also available on HBO next Tuesday, on Netflix streaming for free or Vudu for rental now. With Plex, does Google TV now do this? Can Dave, Matthew or anyone comment on this?

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