Google TV 2.0 Still Missing In Action

Dave Zatz —  October 18, 2011

google-tv-home-screen

With the introduction of Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich Android software less than 12 hours away, I can’t help but wonder whatever happened to the prior Honeycomb edition destined for Google TV. Back in May, we were promised a summer Google TV 2.0 reboot. And the struggling platform could certainly use a lift. The new app-centric approach with refreshed lean back UI looked quite promising, offering an open software marketplace to take on the invite-only Apple TV. But “summer” concluded without a peep from Google or their hardware partners. So I queried Logitech on the first day of fall (9/23) for a status update… they responded with:

We are working closely with Google and aiming to launch the product in the weeks ahead.

While Google had no updates to offer at their earnings call, they recently reiterated the above at MIPCOM:

What I can tell you about what’s coming up with Google TV, is version two is about to launch probably within the next three or four weeks. -Donagh O’Malley, Director of Content, Google TV

Hopefully, Google hits that revised target… as holiday shopping is already gearing up. Both Logitech and Sony previously indicated they’d offer new Google TV television and set-top box hardware, but will there be others? At prices competitive with the Apple TV and Roku? Not to mention us early adopters would like to see our original Google TV hardware gain new capabilities.

I am feeling somewhat hopeful that Google TV 2.0 will be available soon… But, keep in mind, this very same team prevously announced plans in November, 2010 to “open the Android Market on Google TV in early 2011.” Maybe they mean it this time.

UPDATE: A Google TV 2.0 sneak peak running on first generation Logitech Revue hardware.

25 responses to Google TV 2.0 Still Missing In Action

  1. For what it’s worth, they released the final version of the GTV add-on to the android SDK last week (http://googletv.blogspot.com/2011/10/google-tv-add-on-for-android-sdk.html). Probably a good indicator that it’s going to be rolling out soon.

    I’m actually hoping they announce it along with ICS tonight.

  2. I would snap up one of in 30 seconds if the Slingbox viewer application was released. Please work it out. I am talking to you Logitech, Google and Slingbox.

  3. The Google TV Slingbox client is still being developed as far as I know… as the ‘SlingPlayer for Connected Devices.’ When I last saw it, it wasn’t an actual app but a Flash-based webpage – and also destined for Boxee. I suspect there will be some sort of subscription fee… hopefully something reasonable. We shall see.

  4. would add, i think will hear more About Google TV 2.0 :

    Gaming, Chrome Browser, Flash 11, Youtube Channels, HD Video Calling, etc?

    Logitech expect to support Gaming, Video calling, Remote controlling, input devices, Music with accessories & Apps

  5. According to Molly Wood at Cnet…

    “To live with Android is to learn to wait. Like an overdue baby making its expectant mother insane with each passing day, Android came into this world more than a year after it was expected to launch, and it’s been running late ever since.”

  6. Amazon now lists the Revue with a 2-5 week shipping delay. Could point to a coming refresh.

  7. Google is autistic on platform building. Lots of weird proofs of concept. 3rd parties can build social skills on top on of the autism, should they be motivated enough.

    This isn’t news, no?

  8. My Google Revue has been getting the betas and I must say I am highly disappointed with it.

    Its the same old Google TV with a new skin on it.

    I would call this update the same as putting lipstick on a pig… it’s still a pig.

    Dave if you want some screen shots let me know. I have some shots at http://www.satelliteguys.us/dish-network-forum/231962-satelliteguys-review-logitech-revue-googletv-%96-54.html#post2646793

  9. Lipstick on a pig. I agree. No, the GTV is a goner. People are moving to HTPC’s with a hauppauge/Ceton/HDHomerun CableCard configuration. What remains if finding a good universal control hardware/software combo to control the various system components. When it can all be administered, recorded, and saved with a portable device, that’s when people will be locked into a solution.

    It’s the biggest problem with the ATV, it doesn’t record, or control any other part of the home theater….

    This pig is dead, and on the way to being cheap bacon at yard sales everywhere.

    This pig

  10. Mark,

    HTPCs? Let’s look at the NCTAs most recent CableCard numbers, released only a week ago:

    http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7021712021

    585,000 cablecards deployed in retail boxes like Tivo (includes all those HTPC cablecard network/USB devices too) across the top ten MSOs. Versus 30 Million cablecards in MSO-provided STBs. So 2% of the entire population. Ignoring the non-cablecard STBs the cable companies also deploy etc.

    Okay, so this is up from 531,000 a year ago. So in that year there have been an additional 54,000 cablecard installs. IN A YEAR!

    Then we have to remove Tivos numbers from the total, since they are likely the majority (even as sad as their numbers are). Plus things like cablecard-ready TVs (can’t be many of those left though). And some of TiVo’s competitors still sell a few products. Etc. Then the remainder, some fraction of that sad 54,000 units in a year, are going into HTPCs.

    This is NOT a sign of fabulous popularity. Sage TV is dead, bought by Google. Microsoft is basically ignoring WMC, the extender market is dead. They are focusing instead of offering OTT solutions to XBox owners. I’m not seeing the same signs of life here that you are.

  11. Back to the original point, while I have NO interest in Google TV as instantiated today, I do WISH they would do SOMETHING with it. Apple is just bouncing along the bottom of the lake with Apple TV. We could all die waiting for them to support apps on the damn thing. If we could just see some competition in this space MAYBE, MAYBE somebody might do something.

    WTF did Google buy/kill off Sage TV for if they are not going to do anything.

    Seriously folks, an APP STORE. A real APP STORE. For TV APPs. It has a CHANCE of breaking the market open. Why not take a shot, huh?

  12. I asked a local worker at Costco how many of the GTV’s did they sell after their big price cut. They sold 50, with 45 getting returned. That’s FIVE customers. It’s Kirkland bacon time for this pig.

    I don’t think GTV will see anything from SageTV. They bought out a competitor. Possibly, just to sit on the tech, contract the staff to NDA’s, and they have a nice parachute. I have the original ATV, and love it. The GTV is a steaming pile that didn’t work and was returned. It could this, it might that, if ONLYwe had an app store. Well it doesn’t. Line the dish with some paper towels……

  13. Additionally, the new units out for the multituner CableCard functionality (Hauppauge, Ceton, HDHomerun, etc), haven’t been out for a whole quarter yet. And these units AREN’T Tivos.

  14. Mark, it doesnt matter how long cablecard tuners have been out, no one understands what they do and even less people are willing to hook a PC up to a TV. I wish you were right but your clearly in some alternative universe.

  15. “Mark, it doesnt matter how long cablecard tuners have been out, no one understands what they do and even less people are willing to hook a PC up to a TV. I wish you were right but your clearly in some alternative universe.”

    Just because it’s a fringe taste at the moment doesn’t mean that universe doesn’t exist.

    There are plenty of folks happily using WMC CableCARD setups. That alternate universe exists here in reality. It just looks small on a pie chart. And it’ll probably grow a bit with the new generation of tuners.

    (My own TiVo alternate universe looks only slightly larger on the pie chart, but it also exists here in reality. CableCARD solutions are real, even if they’re not mainstream quite yet.)

  16. Chucky, I see your point and i myself am a cable card user…I just think that cablecards are basically going to stay around with the people who spend time researching this stuff online but I don’t ever seeing it go more mainstream then it currently is. Everything is heading towards delivery over the internet, with apps on xbox, ps3 ,appletv, google tv etc which I would bet will gain far more traction then cablecards ever can

  17. @Chucky: Watch out what you wish for, Peter Bishop might be stepping out of your screen rather soon ;)

    But overall, I think impatience seems to be having the upper-hand in most of the discussions. I totally understand it must be quite frustrating if you bought a Google TV a year ago for a ‘too’ high price… But come on boys, that’s the price you pay for being an early adopter.

    I bought a Logitech Revue last week. Installed the HC3.1 leak two days ago. It already fixed some major issues I was experiencing with mkv files. It’s still not there yet, but isn’t it fair to assume that it probably won’t take that long any more before some bad ass alternative mediaplayer apps will be available that sort out these bugs?

    Also, I don’t really understand the whole fuzz about a stable HC release for Google TV. Isn’t it more presumable that our patience is going to be rewarded with a stable ICS build? Hence, the major delays???

  18. forget my last paragraph, just crossed this thread: http://www.googletvforum.org/forum/logitech-revue/3124-ice-cream-sandwich.html

    really really hope the file format issues (mkv) will be resolved in the official stable HC release… Anybody know if that’s likely going to happen?

  19. “Everything is heading towards delivery over the internet, with apps on xbox, ps3 ,appletv, google tv etc”

    FWIW, I don’t think the lean-back space is predestined to end up looking like the mobile space, though it is one possible future.

    And while the future will likely involve delivery to the lean-back via IP, that future isn’t going to hit the mainstream until a lot more infrastructure gets built out, which no one is building these days. And that’s not even getting into the cards the MSO’s hold to keep themselves as the middleman instead of Google or Apple or whomever, since they do own the wire.

    OTT video is mostly still a mobile phenomenon, and there are a bunch of nasty roadblocks in the way of mainstream adoption of OTT in the lean-back space.

    In the meantime, while we await the future, we continue living in the Golden Age of CableCARD…

  20. “Coming in the next few weeks”

    So – like Easter then … ?

  21. Chucky,

    I don’t think we disagree about the numbers, its more just how you look at it. :-)

    I think Microsoft tried for a long time with Windows Media Center and they’re sort of done now. They’re not really working on it any more, its not the focus of any of their effort, and they’ve moved over to working on the XBox and integrating that with MSO offerings instead. And that’s the most successful and the only CableCARD certified product available.

    Most people can’t or won’t use analog. Satellite you’re forced to use the STBs provided to you. Ditto AT&T U-Verse.

    Sage TV is dead. Media Center Extenders are dead (except for the XBox, which thank god is no longer a screaming banshee!). Free guide data is going away.

    SDV and VOD either don’t work with CableCARD or require another box which is flaky and not self-installed. Penetration of SDV is increasing.

    We’re on the edge of something new maybe. But it isn’t clear what that new thing is going to be. Will it use be some kind of IP-based home media gateway mandated by the FCC? Will it use RVU? DLNA? Ultraviolet? Or will OTT just continue to make regular cable look silly?

    With Comcast offering VOD on XBox before the year is out, will we see something similar with TiVo? Will they finally get their act together and fulfill their promise?

    Will Apple jump in with both feet and enable Apps on the Apple TV? Will Google keep plugging away and also start lobbying and make something happen?

    Don’t know. Feels like a lot of potential, but a lot of probably difficult days ahead.

  22. “I think Microsoft tried for a long time with Windows Media Center and they’re sort of done now.”

    Well, with Microsoft, legacy support actually has meaning. Which sez that there is no reason not to build a WMC CableCARD rig starting today, and expect it to continue doing the job for the many years hence that CableCARD is going to continue to be the best game in town.

    “And that’s the most successful and the only CableCARD certified product available.”

    Well, not that you don’t know this, but there are two products available, of course: WMC and TiVo. Two approaches to skinning the CableCARD cat if you don’t want your MSO’s solution.

    “We’re on the edge of something new maybe. But it isn’t clear what that new thing is going to be. Will it use be some kind of IP-based home media gateway mandated by the FCC? Will it use RVU? DLNA? Ultraviolet? Or will OTT just continue to make regular cable look silly?”

    Yes, we are on the edge of something new. My point is that it is going to take a much longer time for that new thing to reach the mainstream, let alone figure out what form it’ll take.

    Let’s imagine for a moment that Netflix cut deals with all the content providers this afternoon, and everyone signed up to get their lean-back video via Netflix IP delivery. What do you think would happen? The infrastructure doesn’t exist to deliver all that video via IP. The coax MSO’s would put in bandwidth caps. The very limited footprint that Verizon has with FTTH would jack up prices of internet packages, while cutting the price of video packages.

    There are no easy ways around the fact that it’s cheaper for the MSO’s to deliver lean-back quality video via multicast than via IP. The only real way around it is to build a lot of infrastructure, which would cost a lot of money, and it’s hard to see the incentive for that right now, (unless the Feds practiced smart macroeconomics and threw money at a national FTTH build-out to cut unemployment), and would take a lot of time.

    And that’s not even considering the fact that Verizon is fighting the FCC on wireline net neutrality hard in the courts, and should they prevail either in the courts or in the government, it’s instantly Game Over for lean-back OTT.

    In short, we’re on the edge of something new. But we may stay on that particular edge for quite a bit longer than folks think. And in the meantime, that CableCARD thing keeps working pretty nicely in the lean-back. I’d have no trouble advising someone to buy a new TiVo or WMC rig today, and expect that investment to give good lean-back value for quite a while to come.

  23. Agreed. It really is too bad that multicast IP just doesn’t work in the wild west internet… I mean the specs are all done and everything, if only all the routers didn’t have it turned off…

    But IP inside the home does make sense and IS a new factor in how this will play out. So if the FCC could simply force cable companies to offer home gateways with IP interfaces and some acceptable DRM-wrapped h.264 video streaming out of that box could be mandated, with IP controls for access, that new world could be supported. Yes the cable cards would still exist but they’d be in that box. Yes there would still need to be a DVR in that box, but it wouldn’t be your interface to the content any more. That could be built in to your TVs or a new-fangled TiVo and there could be competition for good UI. Apple and Microsoft and Google could participate and compete with each other.

    A dream world of new possibilities… Say it with me now: “I believe in fairies…”

    Yeah, I don’t think its going to be here soon either. But if the US isn’t going to be stuck in this ridiculous backwater forever, this is where we HAVE to go eventually. We’ll just see how long it takes to get there. And whether our government is really worth anything.

    That said, I’m tracking the Tivo Elite commentary on tivocommunity with some frequency. Looks like the VPL issues are working themselves out, Netflix works now, but in general Hulu Plus does not. And there are some troubling issues with the box not recording shows or randomly rebooting that haven’t worked themselves out yet. Doesn’t feel like time to jump in yet. What are you doing Chucky? I really really want a bigger drive in my living room TiVo soon…

  24. I need a bigger drive too… the ebay expander guy offers 2 TB for like $180 for the Premiere. But maybe I go Elite (assuming the Netflix app will see the upgrade I want, even if Chucky doesn’t). OR I should be getting the FiOS DVR update real soon… which enables external storage. Hmmm.