The Hostway Blog

IPTV Series: What is Google TV?

Take your favorite TV shows, a 42-inch plasma HDTV and marry them with Google’s Android operating system plus Chrome browser, and you have Google TV. Slated for release in the fall of 2010, Google TV promises to take IPTV to the next level with a truly integrated television watching and Internet surfing experience.

Imagine being able to customize your TV in the same way you can customize your computer and phone. Create home screens with your favorite videos, channels, and Web sites all in one place. Browse the Internet for stats while you’re watching the games on Sunday. All of this and more is the promise of Google TV.

How it Works

Google has partnered with powerhouses Sony, Intel and Logitech to make TV smart. Using IPTV (Internet Protocol Television), Google TV will use existing broadband connections and a set-top box to integrate traditional TV viewing with the power and flexibility of the Internet. Google TV is essentially a software program with supporting hardware like the set-top box and later, integrated TV sets.

Information is passed to the TV using Internet Protocols, the same way your current computer gets packets of information delivered. But it’s how they plan to let you use that information that makes Google TV really special.

What it Can Do

Google TV will turn your TV into a smartphone on steroids. They’ve already made deals with Netflix, Pandora and Dish Network. But because it’s using Google’s open-source Android OS, the potential for apps is limited only by developers’ imaginations. Any apps you currently have on your Android phone will automatically be synched to your Google TV.

Google TV is more than just a device that has both a TV and Internet access. Web TV did that, sort of, over 10 years ago. Google TV is another animal entirely. It promises complete and seamless integration. Miss the latest episode of your favorite show? Do a Google search and watch it immediately. You can even save it as a favorite. Use the picture in picture feature to watch your favorite baseball team and check out your fantasy player statistics at the same time.

You can check your email, view pictures, play games and surf the Web all on your TV without having to switch devices. Instead of searching for a basketball game schedule on NBA.com and then programming your DVR, it’s all integrated. Search and select, and you’re finished.

Remote controls will come with a tiny keyboard and pointer. It’ll be a mouse, keyboard and remote control in one. And Google has promised tight integration between Google TV and other Android devices, meaning your Android phone could serve as a remote. You can even use the Google Voice Search feature of your phone to search for something on your Google TV.

How well it will actually work remains to be seen. But whether the first iteration of Google TV is a hit doesn’t really matter. In the same way BlackBerry and Palm changed the way we use phones, thanks to Google, TV will never be the same again.

Come back tomorrow for the next article in this three-part series:

IPTV Series: Introduction
IPTV Series: What is Google TV?
IPTV Series: Segmented Advertising