What Killed the Google TV?

More people are now returning their Google TVs than buying them

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More people are returning their Google TVs than buying them.“Sales of Logitech Revue were slightly negative during the quarter, as returns of the product were higher than the very modest sales," Logitech said today in prepared remarks to investors. Due to the poor reception, Logitech is slashing the price of its Google TV model from $249 to $99, Logitech announced. Given the lackluster sales, and general dissatisfaction, it's safe to say the Logitech Revue is on its way out--nobody wants Google's newfangled Internet TV, released in October 2010. What's killing the Google TV?

The product pretty much stank. At the core, people returned their sets because they didn't like the product. If Google wanted to launch a successful new concept, they should've made sure the software functioned at its highest. A price reduction won't change Google TV's poor software. "We’re not sure the lower price will fix blocked content and sluggish performance," laments This Is My Next's Nilay Patel. Seconding that sentiment, SplatF's Dan Frommer calls the software "lame," and is equally unlikely to buy the TV at its more affordable price.

The world isn't ready for it. Beyond slow software, people don't want Google TVs because they don't really get why they need a new way to watch television. Google TV worked as an intermediary between your cable box and your television set, allowing people to integrate Google goodies, like streaming videos, maps, and other Internet things, into your viewing experience. The concept works, people just don't want to accept it yet, argues TechCrunch's Matt Burns. "Google TV promised the world and delivered it. The world just wasn’t ready. The original intent of Google TV sitting between a cable box and your TV to serve as a universal search tool and online streamer is genius." Even if people understood the philosophy behind the product, most people didn't want to deal with an extra gadget, adds Frommer. "The bigger problem is that the Logitech Revue setup--sitting between your cable box and your TV--is way too complicated for most people to deal with."

Media killed it. After Google TV's launched, TV networks, fearful they would lose ad revenue, blocked their content from being accessible by Google TV over the Internet, thus rendering the device useless. After that, nobody saw a reason to use it, Burns points out. "It worked as advertised until big media pulled back their cards. So here’s Google TV, sitting here as an irrelevant product, crippled by the very source of content it was trying to promote all while Logitech is in the corner rocking back and forth with its head between its knees."

It's not dying, just experiencing a rebirth. Logitech hopes the price cut will lure more buyers--perhaps the sticker price deterred more people. "We expect the lower price, particularly when combined with the upcoming enhancements to the Google TV platform, including the availability of an apps marketplace, should provide the consumer with a compelling value proposition," Logitech explained in their remarks. Though that doesn't quite explain why so many people returned their sets. But some might appreciate the reduction.

Even if the new low price doesn't draw people, the technology is ever-evolving. Later this summer, Google plans on launching its next version of the Google TV platform, which could boosts sales argues GigaOm's Janko Roettgers "The company now hopes Revue sales will finally pick up once Google releases the next version of its Google TV platform later this summer, which will bring access to the Android Market and other improvements. Maybe people will give the TV a second chance.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.