If Apple is going to move the Apple TV beyond the “hobby” stage, now would be a great time to do it. Google has entered the web video format arena with the introduction of its WebM format, which will integrate both web browsing and cable TV with one device running its Android operating system. Said device is slated for a fall debut — and, make no mistake, it will be a competitor to the Apple TV. In fact, if Apple doesn’t start taking its own product seriously (browser support, anyone?), Google TV could be an Apple TV killer.
Thursday at the Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco, some leading industry players teamed up to announce the development of Google TV, an open platform that adds the power of the web to the television viewing experience with the goal of ushering in a new category of devices for the living room. Intel, Sony, and Logitech, together with Best Buy, DISH Network and Adobe, have joined Google on stage to announce their support for Google TV. That’s a pretty intimidating line-up.
With Google TV, consumers will purportedly be able to search and watch an expanded universe of content available from a variety of sources including TV providers, the web, their personal content libraries, and mobile applications. It will run the Google Chrome web browser and allow users to access all of their usual TV channels, as well Internet and cloud-based information and applications, including — and Steve Jobs will love this — Adobe Flash based content.
Eric Schmidt, Google chairman and CEO, says that Google TV expands video choice from the hundreds of channels available today through a pay TV provider to “the vast storehouse of video content available through the web and streaming videos.” The Google TV experience is complemented by the ability to watch streaming video from leading content platforms, including Netflix, Amazon Video On Demand, and YouTube, he adds. What’s more, Google TV will also have the capability to run apps from the Android Market.
So, Apple, how about a seriously revamped Apple TV with browser support, a version of the iPhone OS with the ability to run iPad apps, and more? Google TV is breathing down your neck…