GigaOm is reporting that Amazon has been quietly hiring developers with experience in the connected TV industry, including several former Logitech employees who worked on the Revue. Amazon’s secretive R&D firm Lab126 was responsible for the hirings, and has also courted former employees of Netflix, TiVo and Comcast.
Amazon is holding a press conference tomorrow in Los Angeles, and industry analysts are speculating that some kind of TV related announcement could happen. Amazon is no stranger to selling hardware, as evidenced by its great success with the Kindle line, especially the Kindle Fire. Many see the Fire as a bona fide iPad and Android tablet competitor, and an Amazon web-connected TV device could very well be a real competitor for other products like Google TV, Apple TV and Roku.
The bottom line here is that Amazon is certainly looking to make some kind of splash in the TV industry. There may not be any announcement tomorrow, but keep your eyes and ears open for something big from them in the coming months.
Now that the Vizio Co-Star is out in the wild, we thought it would be a good idea to look at how it compares to the 3rd generation Apple TV. There are some very obvious differences between these two devices, but there are also some similarities as well. Continue reading for our breakdown of the Vizio Co-Star and 3rd gen Apple TV, including a handy comparison table.
The first Vizio Co-Star pre-orders began shipping last week, and units are starting to arrive in people’s hands. The Co-Star is still listed as “sold out” on the pre-order page, which raises questions about the number of units that were produced for this first set of orders.
For years there have been talks of Apple taking a bigger stab at the TV market. The Apple TV reboot was just the first step, as many believed an actual hardware TV set was next on the list. That rumor has been floating around for a couple years now, and it is beginning to look like it may never come to pass. Instead, Apple may be trying to partner with major US cable providers to bring content straight to an Apple set-top-box.
Last week we told you that Hulu Plus had landed on Apple TV; news that left many Google TV users wondering when it would finally be their turn. My contacts at Google have told me that there is still no news to report on that front, and it seems that is the same answer coming from the Hulu camp. Hulu Plus is available for other Android devices in the Google Play Store, so there is no logical technical limitation. So question still remains: why is Hulu Plus not available on Google TV?
While Google TV users have been quietly twiddling their thumbs waiting for Hulu Plus, Apple TV users have received the golden green ticket. The Hulu Plus icon became available on user’s home screens earlier today, and a formal announcement came via Hulu’s blog.
Could Hulu Plus for Google TV be coming sometime in the not too distant future? There is no way of knowing for sure, so for now we will just have to continue to keep our fingers crossed.
Streaming capable set-top boxes are growing in popularity and, according to ABI Research, Google holds the key to making them mainstream. Shipments of devices like Google TV, Apple TV, and Roku are poised to hit 57 million by 2017. However, with the increasing popularity of low-cost Android mobile devices oversees, this number could dramatically increase.
“Google has a split personality in this market. On the one hand, China, in particular, is seeing growing interest in “generic” Android based set-top boxes and USB (or MHL) dongles/stick devices. On the other hand, it is launching its second generation of Google TV platforms (including the well-priced and impressively spec’ed Vizio Co-Star) where it tries to bring more content relationships and a better ecosystem,” says Sam Rosen, practice director of TV & video at ABI Research.
LG’s Google TV 2.0 was set to hit shelves as early as this past weekend. LG, which will be offering their 3D LED TV model in both 47 and 55-inch sizes, with pricing set at $1600 and $2100 respectively, is postulated to be getting a jump on the competing sales of Apple TVs, which should be released later this year. While LG also has its own smart TV software called “Netcast”, only the version carrying Google TV software will be making an appearance this week, and LG will likely cling to the combined market power of Google TV as the threat of Apple TV approaches. Will brand banding be enough to push Google TV past Apple TV? Stay tuned, we may know soon.
[via Slash Gear]
A recent study by analyst group Xyologic suggests that less than 1 million homes are using Google TV. In order to determine this, the group used data from the Android Market to analyze the number of app downloads for Google TV products. Though this isn’t an ideal method and won’t provide a perfect picture of user-ship (especially given the low number of apps available), it seems to be the closest we can get without Google releasing numbers themselves (which isn’t likely).
With few current options to purchase a Google TV (the Revue having been discontinued and Sony HDTVs currently not in production), the chances of Google TV truly cracking the living room market are looking dim. Will the number of new Google TV devices hitting shelves later this year be able to compete with the Apple TV, also rumored for release this year? At this rate, perhaps not.
[via TG Daily]
We’ve seen the Logitech Revue on sale before, but not like this. Logitech has announced a substantial price drop for the Revue, which is now available for $99 down from $250. This places the Revue in the same price range as the Apple TV and the Roku 2 XS. The move comes during increased speculation about the success of Google TV, and anticipation over when the Honeycomb update will actually be released. Logitech made the following brief statement:
As you know, the Logitech Revue gives people a streamlined experience with their HDTV and the Web, video calling, apps and more. And stay tuned: with the expected release of Version 2 of Google TV later this summer, the Logitech Revue connected-TV experience will get even richer. When V2 goes live, all new and existing Logitech Revue users will automatically receive the updated version, built on Android 3.1. Among other benefits, V2 will offer a simplified user experience and access to the Android Market.
There is no word at this time as to whether or not the price will go up again once Honeycomb finally lands on the Revue, but given all the setbacks Google TV has faced since it was first announced last year, this is unlikely. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.
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