What is Google TV?

Category: Gadgets , Television

Wouldn't it be cool if you could just talk into your TV remote, tell it what you want to watch, and see it pop up on your big-screen TV? Wouldn't you like a single search box to find TV shows or movies, whether they're on cable, satellite, broadcast TV, Netflix or other online streaming video sources? Your wish is granted...

Google + Your HDTV + Magic = Google TV

In a nutshell, Google TV is a marriage of big-screen television, Google technology, and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV). Through one Internet connection you can receive streaming video from all kinds of sources and display it on giant screens like the 55-inch LG Smart TV With Google TV. But wait, there’s more!

Google TV integrates a customized version of the Android operating system into a “smart TV” hardware platform developed by the television manufacturing industry. The operating system is powered by an ARM processor of the same class found in smartphones. Google TV can run apps just like a smartphone. The Chrome browser is built into the system, so you can use it to browse TV channels, surf the Web, check email, and more.

The LG Smart TV With Google TV has replaced the frustrating old-school remote control with a wireless full-QWERTY keyboard that includes interactive voice response and motion-sensor control. You can type to find content; speak the name of a Web site and have it pop up on the screen; even wave your keyboard around to move the cursor on the screen and select channels or apps.
Google TV

The Voice Search feature works for more than Web sites. Say, “comedy” and comedy shows pop up. Say, “Compose email” and a new message form appears, ready to accept your typed or dictated words. All of your favorite video feeds: cable channels, broadcast TV, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, YouTube, that funny little Web site with the cat videos… are available through the same simple Google TV interface.

The PrimeTime feature will help you see what's currently playing on all your favorite channels, so you can quickly pick a show and start watching.

Do I Need a New TV to Use Google TV?

In three years since its launch, Google TV has gained acceptance among a handful of television and set-top box manufacturers. For now, the only TV that comes with the Google TV tech inside is the aforementioned LG Smart TV, which comes in 47 and 55 inch models. But you can use Google TV with your existing HDTV as well.

The rest of the Google TV devices currently available are “buddy boxes,” standalone devices that connect to an existing HDTV to bring it Google TV capabilities. Brand and model names to know include the NETGEAR NeoTV™ PRIME; Sony Internet Player (NSZ-GS7); VIZIO Co-Star; Hisense Pulse; and Asus CUBE.

Each manufacturer has its own idea for replacing the kludgy old remote control. I recommend that you go to an electronics retail store and test drive the different interfaces before buying.

I love the idea of using Google search to find stuff to watch on TV. If you have access to some combination of cable, satellite, broadcast TV, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu or other streaming video content sources, it's a real hassle to search through each one of them in order to find a show or movie. For me, the genius of Google TV is that it consolidates all your viewing options into one interface that's easy search and navigate.

What do you think of Google TV? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "What is Google TV?"

Posted by:

06 Dec 2013

Does this have anything to do with Chromecast or is that a whole different product/technology?

EDITOR'S NOTE: No, it's different. Chromecast is a gadget that plugs into your TV, and lets you broadcast internet video content from your computer to the TV.

Posted by:

06 Dec 2013

Mr. Rankin.


I haven't owned a TV set in many years (my last one had that cathode thing that stayed in the back of the set)!
. . . SAD, I know.
But anyway reading your article has me thinking about possibility of owning a Google TV since I love electronic devices that are built for my convenience - - and this looks like everything emanates from One NEAT place!

Thank You Much!


Posted by:

Mac and Cheese
06 Dec 2013

So, Bob, will Google TV replace my current DirecTV subscription? And if so, who will I pay? I presume I'll pay *somebody* each month, cause ain't nuttin free no mo.

EDITOR'S NOTE: No, Google TV doesn't give you any NEW content sources. It only makes it easier to aggregate the ones you have.

Posted by:

06 Dec 2013

Okay so I'm the big elephant in the room. I have to say as much as this sounds terrific, it is to me, assinine. When after 30 or so years of internet (thanks Al.) We are still tied to our modems or have to rely on a hotspot. Seriously the present method is archaic. Considering a doctor in one part of the world can guide a doctor thousands of miles away to perfectly perform a procedure. We need truly mobile internet going forward, and although I don't have a clue how this could be accieved, I just know someone out there does. Best regards, john.

Posted by:

06 Dec 2013

Does the same go for Roku devices as what you said for Chromecast? How is Google TV different or better? Thanks.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Roku is similar in that they both stream online video to your TV. But Roku does not attempt to unify and search all your content streams.

Posted by:

06 Dec 2013

Bob, Is the WD Tv box, that interfaces at the HDMI input, the same thing as Google Tv?

EDITOR'S NOTE: It's possible that WD has a streaming video set-top box that incorporates the Google TV features, but I am not aware of it.

Posted by:

Mac and Cheese
06 Dec 2013

Bob, many times readers pose a question to you in their comments, as I'm doing in this one. How do you choose which of those questions to reply to (with an EDITOR'S NOTE)? For example, you answered the first comment posted for this newsletter, but you have answered none of the others so far. ... Just curious.

EDITOR'S NOTE: It's utterly capricious. :-) Sometimes I have time to research the answer and write it up, sometimes not. Sometimes I'm hoping that another reader will jump in with the answer.

Posted by:

06 Dec 2013

I remember when the 14 or so stations were basically free, that is if you did not mind the 5 or six minutes of commercials each half hour. Now, we have to mortgage our home just to subscribe to any of the television services and are forced to tolerate 10 to 13 minutes of commercials every half hour. Some time they will insert a mini movie commercial, 20 minutes or more, into a 2 hour movie. Easy to use or not, ANYTHING that adds to the cost of watching television is just another rip-off. Goggle that!

Posted by:

06 Dec 2013


EDITOR'S NOTE: They did, but it looks like this solves the problem: http://www.talkandroid.com/161261-google-tv-gets-free-access-to-hulu-abc-nbc-cbs-and-more-via-playon-for-a-limited-time/

Posted by:

Mark Madere
07 Dec 2013

Bob, you said that "Google TV is that it consolidates all your viewing options into one interface that's easy search and navigate." My TiVo does that too!

EDITOR'S NOTE: So if have cable TV, access to local broadcast channels, Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu, Tivo will let me search all of them at once?

Posted by:

08 Dec 2013

EDITOR: Trying to work this into a 'let's say good-by to all the dead who died tonight' parody but can't - BABEL FISH IS NO MORE. Let's have a moment of silence for our old friend . . .

EDITOR'S NOTE: Huh? See http://www.babelfish.com/

Posted by:

10 Dec 2013

DishNetwork's Hopper DVR has a built-in icon that can stream content directly to your TV from your PC.
Windows MediaCenter, XBMC and Mezzmo are other options for streaming between PC>TV.
I personally use the older PatriotBoxOffice (PBO) with an installed 1TB HDD for my multimedia streaming needs that is truly mobile with the addition of a 12VDC supply and a USB WiFi!
So that I am NOT publicly flogged for being off-topic, I would like to provide some of the hardware that provide similar functionality of GoogleTV:
*NetGear NeoTV MAX Model: NTV300SL
*NetGear NeoTV PRIME Model: GTV100
*Roku 3
*Sony GoogleTV NSZ-GS7
*Samsung Smart Media Player Model: GX-SM530CF
*Panasonic DMP-MST60
*Asus Cube
*D-link MovieNite DSM-310 Digital HD Media *Streamer
*D-Link Boxee

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