Why Google TV Will Be Best Without the Set-Top Box

Don Reisinger - Oct 9, 2010, 10:00 am CST
Why Google TV Will Be Best Without the Set-Top Box

As you know from my columns here, I’m a bit of an entertainment nut. Whether it’s video games or a set-top box, I’m always looking for the latest and greatest device to satiate my desire for high-quality content that’s available whenever I call upon it.

That’s precisely why I’m so excited to get my hands on Google TV. The search giant’s platform strikes me as a product that does everything the Apple TV should have done. It allows me to search the Web, pull content from just about everywhere, and enjoy some of the apps that I currently use on my smartphone. It’s simply a full-featured product that I’m looking forward to using.

But that doesn’t mean that the Logitech Revue, which was detailed earlier this week and will launch at the end of the month, is necessarily worth its $299 price tag. The set-top box looks nice and I would say without hesitation that it appeals to me more than the Apple TV. But I still won’t buy it.

Google TV is a software platform that would work best as a feature baked into an HDTV. That’s why I’m happy to hear Sony is working on a Google TV-equipped device. It’s also why I hope more HDTV vendors will follow suit in the coming years as the entertainment service takes off.

See, consumers don’t want every device they can think of connected to their televisions. They actually want to have all the content they really care about just a few clicks away without worrying about switching from one device to another to access it.

That’s why Google TV is so compelling. It offers opportunities to consumers that weren’t available in the living room until now. That said, the device it’s running on should provide consumers with similarly unique opportunities that aren’t available to them right now.

Realizing that, I don’t want to throw my support behind a product that doesn’t see what consumers are really looking for. I want to support products that push the industry forward, not keep it put.

I see a future where the number of HDMI ports on an HDTV won’t matter. I see a future where every living room will have an HDTV sitting on a stand and few (if any) devices connected to it. And perhaps most importantly, I see a future where consumers see value in reducing their reliance on multiple devices and demand integrated functionality.

The Logitech Revue doesn’t fit into that view of the future. But a Google TV-equipped HDTV does. And that is the product that will not only deliver the most viable experience, but will also win out when it’s all said and done.

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