Google TV Looking Like a Flop

After a string of setbacks, the search giant is delaying the release of new Google TV set-top boxes.

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Google's sweeping plan to marry television and Web video is facing more setbacks. The search giant's problems began in October when the first Google TV set-top boxes (manufactured by Sony and Logitech) garnered tepid reviews. Then, in November, the big four TV networks blocked Google TV from using their shows, starving it of quality content. Now, the company is asking other manufacturers (Toshiba, LG Electronics and Sharp) to delay releasing their versions of Google TV so it can improve the software. That means, though, that the manufacturers are going to miss the Consumer Electronics Show in January, the biggest gadget coming-out party of the year. Is Google's product becoming a mega-flop?

  • The Product Has Been Plagued By Setbacks  "Google... ran first into the problem of how different TV screens and computer screens are (one far away, one close) and second that the interaction mode is so different--which means you don't want to type web addresses," writes Charles Arthur at The Guardian. "Plus there was the problem that in the US, which is the only place that Google TV launched," where "the networks froze it out: in mid-November Fox joined ABC, NBC and CBS in refusing to let Google TV devices access their sites and hence streaming services." He says Google TV shows the company "struggling to come up with a coherent product launch."
$149 seems like the right price point (Logitech Revue retails for $249) ... it doesn't compete capability-wise with a dedicated DLNA/UPnP media streamer ... and there's no compelling platform apps to install yet. ... A tough sell for someone who's already interested in an Apple TV, Roku, Boxee Box, WD TV Live Plus/Hub, or TiVo Premiere.
  • The Problem With Missing the Consumer Electronics Show  "Not being at CES is a big setback for Google TV as a concept: it's the traditional place to show off your wares and set up what you're going to do in the year ahead," writes Charles Arthur at The Guardian. "For the TV makers--Sony, Toshiba, LG Electronics, Sharp--which were going to wow the world (they hoped) with their Google TV-running wares, it's a slap in the face."
  • Google's 'Beta Culture' Is Wrong for Electronics  "Google is infamous for putting everything it ever does out as a 'perpetual beta' leaving its disgruntled customers to iron out the wrinkles in half-baked products," writes Stewart Meagher at Thinq. "Expecting customers to beta test consumer electronics products which were sold at a premium price might be a bit of an ask."
  • Google Needs to Go Back to the Drawing Board  "Google has the potential to fill a void that TV watching consumers don't even realize they have--just like DVRs gave us something new to enhance the viewing experience,"  writes Sam Diaz at ZDNet. "But it needs to go back to the drawing board and rethink what it really wants Google TV to become. Bringing a PC-like Web browser to the living room screen--along with a keyboard and mouse--isn't the winning approach."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.