Like many, I took a deep breath of excitement last week when I heard that Google is moving into the Web TV space with its new Google TV platform – planned to arrive in the fall, in partnership with Sony.
If you missed the announcement, here’s Google’s quick video overview:
While some have characterized Google TV as a challenge to Apple, I don’t agree at all. Apple TV never attempted to solve the challenge of bridging the interface of your TV to the interactivity of the Web. Its much more modest goal (which has yielded only modest adoption) was to be an “iTunes for TV and movies” – a way to download programming from their store (mostly paid) and easily watch it from a hard-drive attached to your television.
Google, by contrast, is wading into the much more exciting territory where Boxee has been a tremendous innovator: opening up the TV experience to the incredible choice, variety, and customization of content from the open web.
I’ll look forward to watching what happens with Google TV over the next 12 months.
At this point, the big questions in my mind are:
- At what price point can Google launch its set-top box? (This will be key to wide adoption, as most people will not be buying brand new Sony flatscreens this year)
- How will advertising appear on Google TV? Can Google effectively monetize the “TV search” experience it is promising to customers?
- What’s next for Hulu? If Google TV garners significant adoption, Hulu’s owners may have to finally make the strategic choice they’ve been avoiding – allow Hulu to be seen on TV’s (and invest in continuing to build Hulu’s ad revenue), or keep trying to block customers who keep finding ways to watch Hulu on their smartphones, Boxee boxes, Google TVs… and descend into irrelevance.
- How does Boxee respond? Can it offer a cheaper, better box? Or does it need to cancel its hardware strategy and focus on adding value to the user interface?
Let me know if you have any hunches on any of the above.
BY DAVID ROGERS
This post originally posted by David on the DavidRogers.biz blog at: http://www.davidrogers.biz