Prime Time

6 10 2010

I’ve been preaching this for a few years, but I haven’t had very many buyers. Most of my students dismissed by prognostication as the mere wishful thinking of a techno-polyglot, rather than razor-sharp prescience.

But today I must rest my case. Our TVs are about to become the nerve center of all things information and entertainment. Not just cable or satellite. No, it will now be all things internet. Shopping. Streaming video. Browsing. Email. Apps.

Welcome to Google TV.

That Google wants to change the way we watch TV is an understatement. Actually, it’s more like changing the way we use the web.

Sure, there have been Apple TV and Roku Boxes around for a while now, but they have had limited success. And earlier this year several TV manufacturers announced they would introduce web-ready TVs. But those TVs will have very limited web capabilities, and in fact contain primarily apps provided by virtue of a partnership with Yahoo.

Google TV will go far beyond such primitive web browsing. Within the month there will be new TVs, Blu-ray players, and a set-top device. Users will be able to go split-screen to simultaneously watch a TV show and browse the companion website. Want to pipe Pandora through the house? No problem. Stream a movie via Netflix? Start the popcorn. Search for more information? hear the Google advertising cash register go cha-ching.

Of course, Google TV works on the Android operating system, which is poised to topple Blackberry next year to become the dominant smartphone OS. This means that the 10,000 Android apps already available will also work in our living rooms.

While the sheer magnitude of this convergence is huge in its own right, let’s not overlook the other elephant in the living room: Google. They will have effectively taken over our homes and our very existence. Who among the tech companies would not want to have a seat on your sofa?

Of course, there is still the risk that Google may trip over its own feet. The search engine giant has fumbled miserably in the last couple of years with several failed social networking ventures. Who’s to say that they will score a ratings hit with Google TV?

And let us not forget that maybe, just maybe, people really might not want all of this connectivity wrapped into one device. While I have no problem with it (hey, how many of you Facebook-app while watching TV anyway?), some of this convergence may be lost on people. A lot of people. Maybe we really do like our TV to just be TV, and whatever DVD/VCR/Wii devices we have connected. Maybe we would really rather keep separate our TV viewing and our computing. Maybe we want our computer to be in another room of the house.

Nah. I have a hunch this is going to rock our world. Fast. Overnight.

Just remember where you heard it.

Dr “Ready To Buy” Gerlich




One response

6 10 2010

Dr. Gerlich, Your acumen never ceases to amaze me!

I only wish my Mrs. could be as excited about Google TV…

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