Posts Tagged ‘Google TV’

A Few of My Favorite Things

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Now that procrastination shopping time is in full swing I figured it was time for a gift guide of sorts. This isn’t a comprehensive list, and it may not cover everyone on your shopping list, but these would certainly make my Christmas merry.

First up, the Sony Reader Daily Edition. Any of the Reader line will do, though the Daily Edition is my favorite of the bunch. The Sony Reader offers the best selection in content options, thanks to public library partnerships and Google Books among other perks. The touch screen is fast and responsive, and the book is light enough to take anywhere. There are certainly other quality e-book readers out there but Sony’s really stands out among the rest. I’m holding out for a black version of the Daily Edition, since the silver doesn’t do much for me. For $300 it should be attractive, right? If I were to receive it in Silver I doubt I’d complain though, especially as there’s been no announcement of an intent to offer additional colors.

Next up is the Sony Internet TV. I really like the Logitech Revue as a Google TV option but I am in the market for a new TV, making the Sony’s offering rise to the top of my wish list. I have absolutely no interest in 3-D TV, so the fact that the Internet TVs are cheaper is another perk. The Sony Internet TV is a decent TV even without Google TV, and as I just mentioned, the price is attractive. In my review of Sony’s Internet TV I noted that the remote is more geek-friendly than user-friendly. This would be a good choice for your favorite geek.

At this point I’m aware that it looks like I only want or own Sony products. The fact that the PlayStation Move from Sony is next on my list is purely coincidence, I assure you. The Move was a very welcome addition to my PlayStation 3 gaming experience. I’ve spent many hours with Sports Champions, and even got the Platinum trophy for my efforts. I think the Move’s precision lend to a more realistic gaming experience, especially for sports. Playing Table Tennis and Disc Golf on Sports Champions really felt like the real thing. The Move is far beyond the pale of comparison to the Wii. It does what it needs to, every time. I’ve been pretty frustrated with the motion detection offered by the Wii, so the Move really hit the spot for motion gaming. Incidentally, I don’t have too much against the Kinnect for Xbox, but the available games are not to my taste at this point. The Kinnect’s value is in the video conferencing capability as well. This helps the Move stand alone in its genre.

Android has come a long way this year. There has been a constant stream of updates and improvements, and even a few OS versions along the way. The Android Market is maturing both in usability and in quality and number of available apps. Even with AT&T doing its best to stall upgrades on its Android powered phones in order to bolster iPhone sales it has continued to thrive. Android has grown from phones into tablets. I am looking forward to seeing where Android goes in the coming year. All indications are that things are looking good. It will be nice to see the Android Market made available on a wider variety of Android devices. Hopefully this is an option. I think it will go a long way in supporting Android’s rising status.

There are a few video games that I’ve really enjoyed this year. The Force Unleashed II is among them. I’m currently playing Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, and am almost to the Platinum trophy. The X-Men Arcade game I downloaded last night was pretty fun too. I have a few on deck that I’ll be enjoying during my Christmas vacation including Transformers:War for Cybertron, Assassin’s Creed 2, and God of War III. On my wish list is Call of Duty: Black Ops, Goldeneye, and Uncharted 2 to name a few. I think it’s been a pretty good year for gaming. NExt year has some promising titles as well. Batman: Arkham City, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Infamous 2, and Uncharted 3 are definitely on my radar.

There you have it – a few of my favorite things. There were some gadgets I wanted to cover that didn’t make it into this post, so a follow-up might be coming in the foreseeable future. What about you? What are some of your favorite gadgets/tech this year? Let me know in the comments.

Network TV Bucking Google TV

Friday, November 12th, 2010

While playing with the Logitech Revue last weekend I noticed a trend. Network television offerings on their websites was blocked for Google TV. I tried CBS.com, then ABC.com. Both sites blocked full-episode access to Google TV. Hulu also shows a blocked message, though it at least promises future compatibility. At the time I didn’t try Fox or NBC, but they have also blocked Google TV. The biggest question is: Why?

Interestingly enough it is the same reason the networks blocked content on Hulu. The thinking goes something along the lines of “Why let Hulu get the ad money when we can earn it ourselves?” What “worked” for them in blocking Hulu they are hoping will work in blocking Google. It doesn’t seem that Google is really interested in stepping on the networks’ toes here, so the move looks rather petty. Google itself doesn’t seem to concerned with the postering, claiming it is interested in enhancing, and not replacing network content.

Google TV is really about getting the most out of the web AND traditional television. It isn’t an either/or kind of thing. You search for content on the web and on television at the same time. You can add shows to your DVR queue from Google TV, which even further makes the networks look silly. Google TV makes it easier for you to find their shows to watch and record on your DVR. This is Google hand-delivering viewers that may not otherwise see the content the networks are offering.

Needless to say it is the networks, and not Google who will suffer for these childish antics. Network television has been getting its lunch eaten by basic cable stations for so long that they resort to petty blockage of useful tools like Google TV. I think Google TV has a lot more to offer than just CBS.com and the like. People will gravitate to content they like, so if they can’t watch something on the network’s site, they’ll watch it somewhere else. Either way the network loses the advertising money. Google has found a really nice niche, and it doesn’t need the networks’ cooperation or approval to keep moving. I think eventually the networks will come around, especially when they see the fans are not as loyal as they hope.

DISH Network Offers Enhanced Service for Google TV

Friday, November 12th, 2010

DISH Network has been heavily advertising its “Enhanced Integration” with Google TV this week. I got two notices in my email on the same day. Having watched the Google TV announcements from the beginning, I knew DISH Network was going to cooperate with Google, but the details were not really known until now.

The most exciting feature is the subsidized price of $179 for the Logitech Revue (see review). Notice I said subsidized, and not discounted. Initially it looked like a simple discount. When I was setting up the Revue at home last weekend I noticed a stipulation: you must sign up for the $4/month “enhanced integration.” Since the unit I was testing was not my personal unit I chose at the time not to sign up since I wanted to make sure I could get the subsidy in the future should I decide to go with the Revue. So what exactly is the enhanced integration all about? Check out the video below, as featured on the Google TV blog.

My first thoughts about the enhanced features is that this is what was advertised with Google TV from the beginning. Devices like the Logitech Revue and Sony Internet TV were supposed to cooperate with your cable/satellite provider and let you search and record with your DVR. It looks like DISH Network will be charging for the service that was supposedly standard. This is a little disappointing.

I know $4 doesn’t seem like much to haggle over, but then again, think about all the subscription TV offerings out there: Apple TV, Hulu Plus, Amazon VOD, etc. I already pay for a satellite TV subscription, so why do I need to keep adding other subscriptions? I don’t even subscribe to movie channels like HBO or Showtime, so Hulu Plus and the like are not really an option for me. I am not sure that DISH Network is offering enough value for the $4, especially considering Hulu Plus is going for $10/month.

The bottom line really doesn’t change though. If I want to use Google TV to its full extent I am going to have to subscribe to the DISH Network Google TV package. The whole point of using Google TV is to integrate it with my DVR, in my opinion. I can’t very well do that if DISH is blocking me. The subsidy will reduce the sting a bit though, which helps.