Google TV will be all over CES 2012, with devices from LG, Sony, Vizio, and Samsung in the mix, as well as new platforms and chipsets from Marvell and MediaTek. We're also curious to see if Google's developed any meaningful content partnerships for its smart TV platform, or if it's still trying to go it alone. It should be a wild show — we'll see if this rebirth is enough to keep Google TV alive.
Jan 12, 2012
Vizio has introduced an entire ecosystem's worth of video and computing products at CES this year, and we just took a look at their entry-level device: the Vizio VAP430 Stream Player. It's a tiny black box that fits in the palm of your hand — not quite the size of a hockey puck, but very close — that will provide access to the usual streaming suspects like Netflix through Vizio's Via Plus platform, and allow you to display media from your mobile device via DLNA. Plug your set-top box into the HDMI input, and you've also got a Google TV, complete with IR blaster control of your STB (and OnLive is on the way).Read Article >
The device is fairly straightforward in terms of ports: ethernet, HDMI in and out, USB and a plug for the IR blaster (Wi-Fi is also included). We weren't able to see the UI in action, but were told it will use the exact same interface and remote as the rest of Vizio's Google TV-enabled devices. If this sounds like something you'd like to add to your set-up, you won't have long to wait: the release of the device was said to be "imminent," with a confirmed price of $99.
Jan 11, 2012Read Article >
Google TV's attempted resurgence here at CES just got another push as Google has officially announced that OnLive will be coming to the platform as an app. the news confirms news we'd heard last month and frankly it was probably inevitable once Google got apps going on its TV platform. The OnLive Viewer app is available now, actually, but sadly all it will let you do is watch other gamers play games in the "Arena" and engage in a few of OnLive's social features. Proper streaming games are still coming, though an exact date isn't yet known. However there will be Google TV products that will have Google TV built in by the OEM — although some of those OEMs already have Google TV built into their own Smart TV platforms, like Vizio. To play, users can get a $49.99 OnLive Universal Controller and that same controller will work with the iPad and Android devices. All Google TV devices should be compatible with the app.
Google TV product manager Rishi Chandra: 'Android is going to be a successful operating system on TVs'Read Article >
Google's playing CES 2012 pretty low-key, even as Google TV products from major manufacturers like Sony, Vizio, LG, and Samsung have become one of the major stories of the show. We caught up with Google TV product manager Rishi Chandra to talk about what's going on with the platform, how Google's going to succeed this time around, and what he thinks of other Android-based TVs like the Lenovo K91. Oh, and buddy boxes — that's a thing now.
We just spent some time with LG's Smart TV with Google TV — it's the company's first TV running the Android-based OS, and it's added some interesting twists to the usual formula. Of particular note is the remote, which has a scroll wheel in place of the center button on the D-pad and eschews a touchpad in favor of Wii-style motion control for the mouse. The motion control works about as well as the original Wii, which is to say it's fairly imprecise. The scroll wheel / D-pad combo is genius — or it would be genius if scrolling web pages wasn't incredibly choppy and slow. We'll chalk all of these glitches up to early software and misaligned calibration after a hard day on the CES show floor for now, but things will have to get significantly smoother for this to work as an everyday navigational tool.Read Article >
Apart from that, LG's overall skinning effort is fairly nice — it's definitely much more tasteful and refined than anything we've seen the company put on its phones, and it makes things like changing inputs and tweaking settings fairly easy. LG's not saying when this thing is coming out or how much it'll cost, but we're guessing it'll be at least few months to get polish and performance up to par.
Jan 10, 2012
Vizio is charging ahead with its own take on Google TV with the announcement of the VAP430 Stream Player. On the one hand, it's a small Wi-Fi media streamer, connecting to your television via HDMI and providing access to Vizio's Internet App Plus ecosystem. It also offers up web content via the integrated Flash-capable Chrome browser, and you can stream your own content from computers or smartphones — and the cloud, of course. By plugging in your cable or satellite set-top box via the HDMI pass-through, however, you're also getting a full-fledged Google TV. The Android Marketplace is included, as is the snazzy new Vizio Google TV remote that we previewed yesterday.Read Article >
It's a smart move from Vizio, attacking the low end of the market with a standalone streamer while offering up an integrated television option at the same time. At least that's what we assume the strategy is; with no price having been announced, it's hard to say for certain. The Stream Player is expected to ship this spring.
Jan 9, 2012
Vizio's here at CES 2012 with its riff on Google TV — and it's something. The company has totally skinned Google's smart TV OS with a skin just like the one on its tablets, and it's built in a layer of DLNA-based content sharing services. (Think AirPlay, but compatible with anything DLNA and made smoother when sharing from Vizio tablets and PCs to the new smart TV.) There's still Android Market, of course, and Vizio's staying up to date with the platform as it develops — they told me they talk to Google "every day."Read Article >
Vizio's also got a new Bluetooth Google TV remote with a touchpad and dedicated Netflix, Amazon, and Vudu buttons on the front, and a QWERTY keyboard on the back. There's also a standard IR smart TV remote with a QWERTY on the back, but no touchpad — it's a little thinner than the chunky Bluetooth model. Remotes are quickly becoming an important sub-story at CES as the smart TV market heats up, and Vizio's are some of the most comfortable we've used so far.
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LG will be showing off its first Google TV products at CES 2012, and it's just announced some of the first details: the LG Smart TV with Google TV will come in two series when it launches later in the year, both of which will feature Cinema 3D polarized 3D displays that don't require expensive active-shutter LCD glasses to work — you can just wear passive glasses like at the movie theater. LG's also bundling in a QWERTY version of its Magic Remote, creatively called the Magic Remote Qwerty, which it says offers increased ease of use. We'll see how true that is when we play with all this stuff at CES next week — and if LG's managed to update and combine the failed TV gimmicks of 2010 and 2011 into something successful in 2012.
Eric Schmidt predicted last month that the "majority" of TVs sold by summer 2012 would have Google TV, and the company's certainly signing up the partners to make that a reality: Google just announced that LG, Sony, and Vizio will be showing off Google TV devices at CES 2012, with additional devices from Samsung coming later in the year. Google's also partnering with MediaTek and Marvell to provide the next generation of ARM-based chipsets for Google TV — Marvell already announced that its new Armada 1500 chip would support Google TV devices. The news isn't really a surprise; we've long suspected the platform would move to ARM, LG rumors have been swirling for a couple months, and Samsung's deal to use the platform was news in November as well. Google also says there are now over 150 apps for Google TV in its app store after the platform was updated to Honeycomb in late October, and it says it says its activations rates have doubled since the update.Read Article >
That's all good news, but Google's got a lot to prove this time around: the first wave of Intel-powered Google TV devices flopped so hard that former partner Logitech ended up firing its CEO and calling the entire effort a "mistake of implementation of a gigantic nature." We'll see if Google's learned from those mistakes and — most importantly — if it's made any progress integrating its platform with TV and content providers since last year. Onwards to CES.
Jan 5, 2012Read Article >
Marvell isn't the highest profile chip manufacturer out there, but the company's been getting more traction as of late, introducing its silicon into high-profile products like the Microsoft Kinect, OnLive Microconsole, and a host of speedy solid state drives, A/V receivers, and even a few tablets and phones you might have heard of. Well, Marvell's about to introduce a product that could give it more traction than ever: it's designed an reference board around a new Armada 1500 chip, designed specifically for all those new Google TVs that Eric Schmidt promised. The dual-core 1.2GHz silicon can be used for other things, of course, including standard Android and Linux platforms — Marvell's Gaurav Shah told us OnLive won't be the only cloud gaming platform to use its Armada processors, for instance — but the company's hinting that smart TVs, connected Blu-ray players and set-top boxes are the meal of choice and Google TV is the main course.