Watching TV is becoming a more interactive experience - at least that's what a number of companies building interactive TVs and media center products are hoping. From Apple CEO Steve Jobs' "hobby" project, Apple TV, to media center startups like Boxee, there are new ways to "watch" TV that involve more choices, more content and sometimes, even remotes with a keyboard. Is this a "Web TV" rebirth or something entirely new?
Below are two of the more notable ventures to watch in the connected TV space.
This post on Internet-based television is part of a sponsored content series by Intel smart TV.
Google TV isn't a product - it's a software platform. Companies like Sony, Intel and Logitech have already launched Google TV devices, and more partners are expected to launch their own products in the future. In Sony's case, Google TV is baked into it's new "Internet TV" set, complete with giant remote. Logitech is offering the Logitech Revue for Dish Network subscribers (Dish was a Google TV beta tester). In this case, the Google TV service is baked into a box with an accompanying keyboard for navigation, not a TV set.As with Android,
So what does Google TV offer? Search, of course. You can search via your TV for content stored on your device, the Web and you can search through your Google TV apps (which are really just repurposed Google Android apps, designed for the big screen). With Google TV, "the web is now a channel," says Google, and it offers a variety of web video content from sites that stream video including CNN, Blip.tv, Vevo, HBO, TNT, Flixster, TBS and of course, YouTube. It's also pre-loaded with apps from Netflix, Twitter, CNBC, Pandora, Napster, NBA Game Time, Amazon Video On Demand and Gallery. Soon, Android Market apps will be available too. And bonus! - you can use your Android phone as the remote control.
Hulu is now making its way onto the big screen. The company has been careful to keep its product off the TV through "unofficial" channels, like the above Boxee, for example. However, through official partnerships with companies like Microsoft, Sony and Samsung. With the paid level of service known as Hulu Plus, users can watch Hulu on mobile devices like Apple's iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, but also on TV sets. The TV integration is available through Internet-connected TV sets like those from Samsung, Sony TV, VIZIO as well as Blu-ray players from the same, plus game consoles like Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PS3 and media center/DVR type devices like Tivo Premiere and Roku.Although known more as a website than a connected TV product,