Update 11/5 : Hulu has axed this one too.
Well, let’s see how long this one lasts. It would seem that Comcast’s Fancast (aka xfinity.tv), which allows you to stream content from major networks like Fox, NBC, and ABC (sorry no CBS) works just fine on Google TV using the same user agent trick that used to work with Hulu.com.
So yes, it does in fact work and you can watch all the content found on Fancast on your Google TV, which ironically seems to be pulling almost entirely from Hulu.com. However, the quality leaves a lot to be desired, and in many ways is unwatchable.
So for now it seems that if you REALLY REALLY want to watch this content on Google TV, the option is available to you. I would advice against it though, really.
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.
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