Friday, January 20, 2012

Google TV moving at 'appropriate pace'

According to Kurt Scherf, vice president and principal analyst at Parks Associates, TV makers have shown their openness to the concept of Internet-connected TVs by exploring the various platform options. He added that Google TV--with its Chrome browser and keyboard integration--is targeted at the high-tech enthusiast market, whereas more mass market smart TVs would be built on an apps interface and using a remote control for navigation.

With these in mind, he said Google is moving at an "appropriate pace" with its Internet TV project. Project partners include Korean electronics giants LG Electronics and Samsung, Marvell, MediaTek, Sony and Vizio, Google stated at last week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

As for hardware issues, Scherf pointed out that the previous Intel chipset that Google used for its TV sets was criticized for generating too much noise and distracting users. The updated Google TV sets today run on chipsets from Marvell and MediaTek, the analyst said. Marvell, for example, has included its Armada 1500 chipset that was designed to not use a fan for cooling to reduce noise.

The earlier graphical user interface (GUI) and controller were also not as user-friendly as other smart TVs, which had a more graphical navigation experience, he noted. This has been improved, though, as partners have launched new interface controls and even voice control for their devices, he added.

Google also faced difficulties in convincing major content owners to allow their programs to be broadcasted on Google TV, Scherf said. "The networks and content owners don't trust Google to fairly share revenues that are achieved via the advertising that Google would marry alongside the content," he explained.

"This is still an issue for Google to overcome. They need to show themselves as an effective partner for the content owners--one that is willing to use its considerable reach to grow advertising and transactional revenues for them."

Scherf said the competition between Apple and Google in the TV space will be similar to the smartphone and tablet arenas. "Apple's products garner a premium price and margin, while Google will likely 'win' in the volume space," he elaborated, adding that one key differentiator would be the companies' ability to convince content owners to jump on their respective platforms.

By developing Android-based TVs, hardware makers will have a greater ability to customize the interface, Scherf noted. K91, for example, will also allow Lenovo to offer access to its own proprietary Android-based apps store, he added.That said, he noted the appeal in Google TV lies in its ability to more seamlessly marry broadcast and cable television with an Internet search experience, and this capability is more suited in developed markets with better broadband access compared with emerging markets.

From the article, "Google TV moving at 'appropriate pace' " by Liau Yun Qing

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