Is Google TV A Newer, Smarter Convergence or Has Collision Returned?
In the next few issues we’re going to be diving headfirst into the emerging Google TV ecosystem in the form of Logitech’s Revue and a Sony Google TV-equipped BD player. It occurred to me in planning this coverage that I’ve seen some of this before. Just a few years ago this merging of the computer world with consumer electronics was called convergence by its proponents, and collision by its many detractors. Its first clumsy steps were really little more than dragging a full blown PC into your theater system and using your TV as a really big computer monitor with a wireless keyboard and/or mouse. Instead of enhancing functionality, it combined the worst aspects of both worlds. People using computers all day for business had no interest in taking all the issues with computer interfaces and mucking up their leisure time with it. In response to its failure to catch on in the home theater world, computer monitors got bigger, desktop audio systems got better, and the home theater and computer/Internet worlds each went to their respective rooms.
In the last few years widget apps brought smart convergence to the market in the form of streaming apps, and people seem to responding favorably. Rather than full blown computer interfaces, there are simple button icons that connect to content, keeping the computer backbone invisible. People no longer need to think of how to get the content they want, they just more or less point and click. It’s simple, clean and accessible.
The Google TV systems are shipping with keyboards and seemingly go beyond apps in delivering the Internet experience to your home theater system. My question for the week is, do you want a more robust computer/Internet experience in your home theater? Or are a few smart apps that simply and invisibly pull the content you want from the ‘Net the way to go?