Happy Memorial Day everyone, we hope you’re enjoying the holiday weekend thus far. There is not much to report on the news front today, so instead we will be taking a look at what Google has deemed their guidelines for developing websites (and presumably apps) for optimal viewing on Google TV. The official list can be found here, but let’s take a look at some of the key points.
1. Understand that developing content for TV is different
- Content is king: make your content quick and easy to access, and do not make it intrusive to the viewing experience.
- Remember the environment: most users will be in their living rooms, seated at a distance from their TV.
- The social aspect: People get together with their family and friends to watch TV, think of ways to make your content a social experience.
- Know TV screens front to back: the resolution is going to be much larger than traditional computer monitors, colors are going to render differently, and the aspect ratio will primarily be widescreen format.
- Keep it simple: offer choices and make navigation easy, not frustrating, and usable on a remote control.
- Visualize your project before you begin: identify the important areas of your interface and plan how to work around them.
- Keep navigation to one area: do not have multiple menus and means of accessing your content, keep it limited to one navigation panel.
- One click only: do not make users have to click multiple times to reach their destination, again, keep it simple.
- Avoid abstract icons: keep graphics large and easy to understand.
- Limit vertical scrolling: this one is kind of a no brainer, try and keep your content limited to the area on the screen, break articles or content up into multiple pages rather than forcing users to scroll.
- Remote controls: while controls will have QWERTY keyboards, often times users will have to use the directional pad. Arrow keys need to navigate all items on the screen.
- Mouse control will be difficult: so try and make it easier, make link targets large, and consider using a hover field to highlight where the mouse is.
4. A new screen
- Mind your colors: avoid bright and overly saturated colors.
- Make your UI larger: think Web 2.0 on steroids, keep your menu panel, sidebars, and text boxes large and easy to see.
- Think widescreen: use this format to your advantage, instead of making things go up and down, make them go side to side.
- 1280×720 and 1920×1080 resolutions: make these your first priority.
5. Don’t forget your text
- Paragraph size: try to limit to 90 words or less.
- Break it up: split up text into smaller chunks that can be read without looking too hard.
- Line length: keep it at 5-7 words per line, no shorter than 3 or greater than 12.
- Colors: light text on a dark background will be the ideal set up.
6. Don’t forget about sound
- Living rooms: keep sounds at living room appropriate levels (louder than you would on a PC), but keep it lower by default.
- Provide a simple way for users to mute the volume, they will likely be watching TV or listening to music.
7. Finally, Flash
- h.264: use this for all video content, avoid h.263 or vp6.
- Avoid annoying Flash ads: do not use constantly playing Flash banner or sidebar ads, if you can not, make them stop when a user begins watching TV.
- One at a time: for optimal performance, avoid using the same instance of a media player more than once at a time.
- Remember the memory: try to avoid bogging the system memory down, utilize Flash as seldom as possible.
- Keep the user in mind: focus on performance, observe whether or not videos are smooth or choppy, keep the experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
That is a somewhat condensed version of the full document, which again can be found here and contains much more detail about technical specifications regarding color and screen resolution. There you have it, have at it developers!
Welcome to our first installment of “this week in review.” Every Sunday we will recap the most important news of the week for those of you who need to play catch up. This week, we highlighted what is currently known about Google TV, some of the key players involved, GTV alternatives, financial speculation, and Apple’s rumored response. Let’s get a move on, shall we?
Google TV, an introduction
Seeing as this site was born a couple days after the initial announcement, this technically falls under the previous week’s news, but just roll with it. We offered links to some of the important videos taken at Google I/O, as well as an exclusive peek at the forthcoming Logitech hardware box.
Who is involved
Speaking of Logitech, they (unless another announcement is made) will be the first to provide a hardware top box, which will allow you to search for content on your digital receiver, as well as access content online. Sony is in the mix too, poised to be releasing the first HDTV with Google TV on board, with Intel providing the processors. Finally, DISH Network is so far the first provider to announce a partnership with Google, and will likely be providing new receivers with GTV built in. Currently, all of has been labeled with a Fall 2010 release date, but no specific day has been set.
Google TV alternatives
For those of you who simply can’t wait for Google TV to begin viewing online content on the big screen, we highlighted a few of the ways to do so. Some ways are inexpensive, some ways are convenient, and some are designed for the DIY enthusiast. We concluded that Boxee is currently the best all around solution which will let you view most content online, including Netflix, Youtube, and Hulu. With a few A/V cables, any laptop or desktop with Boxee installed can be connected to your TV. We also covered Apple TV (both old and new, but more on that later), Roku, next-gen game consoles and home brew DVR solutions like MythTV and Windows Media Center.
Intel is geared, at least according to predictions, to see a 5% increase in their stock in response to the announcement they will be providing the processors for Sony’s GTV ready televisions. Nothing has been said about the other players, but it would not be surprising to see Sony or Logitech’s numbers increase as well.
Apple fights back
Many would find fallacy in the notion that Apple is planning a counter attack against a product that isn’t even available yet. Call it what you like, but Google’s latest ventures has the tech giant a little worried. With WWDC right around the corner, there is rampant speculation that Apple, in addition to formally announcing the not-so-secret 4th generation iPhone, will be unveiling the newest version of Apple TV. Speculated to be priced at $99, it is also rumored to be centered around iPhone OS, which will likely result in a focus on streaming content and apps.
Well, that’s all for this week folks. Stay tuned for more Google TV news, rumors, and what have you’s.
Today, Engadget featured a story outlining Apple’s next move in what many have dubbed to be their “war” with Google. According to a source they claim is very close to Apple, the company has been working on their next incarnation of Apple TV for quite a while.
“The new architecture of the device will be based directly on the iPhone 4, meaning it will get the same internals, down to that A4 CPU and a limited amount of flash storage — 16GB to be exact — though it will be capable of full 1080p HD (!). The device is said to be quite small with a scarce amount of ports (only the power socket and video out), and has been described to some as “an iPhone without a screen.” Are you ready for the real shocker? According to our sources, the price-point for the device will be $99. One more time — a hundred bucks.”
If this source turns out to be correct, Apple is poised to offer a lucrative alternative to Google TV, much more so than with their current version of ATV. The low storage capacity of this new device is a strong indication Apple is moving towards a more streaming based platform, although it is likely users would be able to access their media libraries contained on their other Apple devices. Additionally, the rumored price would provide those undecided potential customers a serious incentive to go with Apple.
Centering the device around the iPhone OS platform offers a challenge similar to the one Google is surely facing: scaling the applications and interface to function well on larger resolutions. It is likely that devices like the iPhone or iPod Touch will act as controllers, similar to what Google will be implementing on Android powered smartphones. Apple’s current focus on app driven content will most likely carry over to the new ATV, and while the entire app store will likely not be ATV compatible, many developers would have a serious incentive to tailor their content for the big screen. Imagine playing your favorite games on your 50 inch LCD and using your iPhone as a wireless, motion based controller?
With WWDC 2010 right around the corner, all eyes will be on Apple in anticipation for the announcement of the new device. Exactly how worried Google TV has the world’s largest tech company (as well as how far along into the development stages this new ATV currently is) will certainly reflect on how soon an announcement is made. One major thorn in Apple’s paw could be Flash. With major streaming sites like Hulu still utilizing Adobe’s format, users wanting to be able to access all content on the web might shy away from ATV. One thing is for certain though, Apple is not going to walk solemnly off into the sunset, and the “war” between Google and Apple is about to get much more interesting.
With no specific release date for Google TV as of yet, many people might be wondering what they can do in the mean time to watch Web content on their TVs. It’s not as difficult as one might think, and can be done with technology you most likely already have in your home, or with various hardware devices available for purchase. Let’s look at a few (but not all) of these options.
1. Apple TV
What ended up being a rather niche device still holds value in the Web to TV market, especially for those who hold a large library of media from the iTunes store. While this device does the job of bringing your iTunes library to your TV, it unfortunately is not useful for much else. Those who are a bit more tech savvy can attempt to install the Boxee software (which we will discuss next), but this process is not intended for beginners and can bring mixed results. Priced at $220, this is an ideal choice for iTunes users who want a simple and effective way to bring content to their TVs.
Boxee is quickly becoming a popular solution to bring Web content to TV. It offers a free, cross-platform software solution, an upcoming hardware solution (seen above), and access to various online content including Netflix, Hulu (sometimes), Youtube, and more. If you currently own a laptop or spare PC with any form of video out (VGA, DVI, S-VIDEO or HDMI) and audio out (minijack or otherwise), you can connect your computer and TV using inexpensive component cables and load up your favorite video. The software, as previously mentioned, runs on all platforms, but Linux users beware: there is still no streaming support for Netflix. Despite the occasional hiccups with Hulu, and the potential volitile relationship between Boxee and Google TV, it is a very user friendly solution which offers both a software and hardware solution.
If you find yourself streaming a lot of content through Netflix, Roku might be an ideal solution to enjoy this content on your TV. Available in three formats, a standard definition, HD, and HD with Wireless-N, this device connects to your television using either standard RCA, S-Video, or HDMI and allows you access to all streaming content on Netflix, Amazon Video and, if you subscribe, MLB.tv and NBA Game Time. While it currently does not allow the option to view other content such as Youtube videos or Hulu, if you find yourself streaming a lot of content on Netflix, this is a very affordable and easy to use option.
4. Game Consoles, Blu-ray players, TiVo
Depending on what form of content you are seeking, next gen consoles, Blu-ray players, and certain DVRs like TiVo allow access to certain Web media. Netflix streaming, for example, can be accomplished on Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and Nintendo Wii. Playstation 3 can also be used to view content on Hulu, although it is a several step process. Many Blu-ray players also allow for Netflix streaming, as well as other content such as Blockbuster and Youtube. And if you own a newer TiVo DVR, you are ready to stream Netflix.
There are a variety of other options as well, although they can be more costly and involve much more time and energy to set up. Several brands of HDTV’s come internet ready for streaming various kinds of online content. Additionally, if you are a DIY enthusiast, home brew DVR solutions like Myth TV allow for the streaming of various online content, and Windows Media Center is quite popular as well. Out of all the options presented here, Boxee is currently the nearest all around solution to bringing your favorite Web content to your TV. The forthcoming of Google TV is surely striking fear into the hearts of those at camp Boxee, and it will be interesting to witness how the relationship between these two companies evolves.
The folks over at Trefis.com are projecting a roughly 5 percent increase in Intel stock thanks to the boost it should be receiving by providing processors for Google TV devices.
“Google recently introduced Google TV which is expected to be available to consumers in the fall of 2010. Google TV is a service through which users can search for websites and watch videos, movies and TV programs through an internet-connected TV. Google will embed its Android software into TVs manufactured by Sony and is partnering with Logitech and Intel to provide Atom processor-based TV set-top boxes that can make Google TV compatible with existing TVs.We estimate that there could be an upside of more than 5% to the $23 Trefis price estimate for Intel’s stock if Google TV can help Intel expand its addressable market by 30 million processors by the end of Trefis forecast period.“
If these numbers hold true, perhaps we will see a jump in Sony and Logitech shares as well. Is it time to get out our checkbooks?
As the dust begins to settle following the announcement of Google TV, discussions are emerging over the potential advertising opportunities to be had. Google is obviously no stranger to the world of advertising, so the prospect of an aggressive marketing campaign promoting ads on GTV comes as little surprise.
The first thing that comes to mind is the already existing TV Ads, which allows for the creation of customized TV ad campaigns, and even a marketplace of ads for purchase. It seems highly likely that content streamed from the web will be subject to some type of advertising, be it a full 30 second commercial as is the case with Hulu, or some other implementation like roll over or pop up video ads. Adsense and Adwords will also likely be in the mix, with opportunities for advertising targeted at those individuals searching for content using the GTV software.
This raises several questions regarding the ways in which Google will implement advertising on GTV. Will users be subjected to double the advertising when using a service like Hulu or other streaming sites, or when simply watching TV through their cable or satellite provider? Google will likely revolve everything around Adsense, Adwords, and TV Ads, in order to keep advertising consistent across all possible GTV platforms.
Advertising is a huge cornerstone of Google’s war chest, and Google TV looks to provide yet another medium for the search giant to dominate that market.
There is a certain level of uncertainty associated with unveiling new products at large scale events like the recent Google I/O conference. Often times, there is speculation as to whether or not the public release will live up to the expectations bestowed upon it, like the famous E3 Killzone 2 trailer. The demonstrations of Google TV were certainly impressive, but the question remains: can Google deliver the same level of functionality and ease of use that was witnessed this past week?
Google’s ventures outside of search have been a mix of great, not so great, and sometimes downright ugly. However, there must be a certain level of assuredness stemming from the Mountain View brass regarding GTV, given the swaggering nature of the keynote address coupled with the not so subtle stabs at their neighbors in Cupertino. To ensure that GTV does not go the way of Apple TV, which Steve Jobs himself still feels is experimental, Google has partnered up with some fairly big names which add some serious weight to the project.
For those who are already satisfied with their current TV, Google will be offering a hardware top box made by Logitech, which will act as a hub to the content on the web, as well any cable or satellite boxes connected to the device. Users will have the choice of controlling the device via a peripheral controller still under development, or via a smartphone connected to the same WiFi as the GTV box. Information about the product release date and pricing are not yet available at this time, but Engadget is offering an in-depth preview of this device.
Next up is Sony, which will be offering the first HDTV with GTV already on-board. Again, little is known about hardware specifications at this point, other than Intel providing the processing power as stated on the Sony website. What other brands might be offering integrated GTV solutions is also unclear at this time, but there will undoubtedly be other companies stepping up to the plate as well.
The other big name currently attached to the project is DISH Network, who is now advertising their partnership with Google to introduce GTV in the Fall. DISH Network customers will be able to utilize Google TV using their current hardware, along with a separate GTV device (be it the Logitech device or one specific to DISH). From the keynote address, it appears as if Google TV will be compatible with all cable or satellite providers, and it is unclear what advantage, if any, DISH will provide to the GTV experience. Best Buy is also in the mix, and will be featuring GTV demo stations, as well as offering the devices themselves for sale, sometime in the fall.
From a software standpoint, the early impressions of the GTV interface are largely positive. From the limited demonstration featured during the keynote, as well as other early sneak peek footage, the device allows for seamless integration between standard television and web content. Nevertheless, questions are emerging about the problems which might arise from trying to experience the web on such large screens, as well as trying to optimize existing content for such a large platform.
Further issues have arrisen, such as the questionable future of popular streaming sites such as Hulu, as well as the level of demand that actually exists for a device like this, given the number of consumers already experiencing the web on their televisions via gaming consoles and other proprietary devices. It is far too early to tell the kind of impact Google TV will have on home entertainment. Given the ever growing popularity of experiencing television on the web, however, Google TV has the potential to be truly game changing in an arena others have tried, and mostly failed, to succeed in.
Welcome, everyone, to GTVHub.com, a news source for all things Google TV. Although only a few days have passed since the announcement of Google TV, the web is already abuzz with news, rumors, and speculation about Google’s latest venture. We here at GTVHub.com offer the latest and greatest of Google TV news, information, rumors, and much more. We will keep you up to date on the latest developments, provide reviews of the latest hardware/software, as well as host a community of fellow Google TV users who can ask questions and share their insights on this technology. So stay tuned everyone for further information as it becomes available, and join us in eagerly anticipating what should undoubtedly be a new chapter in home entertainment.
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