Last week we told you that Google was planning to formally announce its Google Fiber service on July 26th. The day has finally arrived, and as expected the search giant has announced its first foray into the high-speed network arena.
Google Fiber will debut in Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas, and will offer download speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second. This is a staggering number to say the least, but what is also fascinating about Google Fiber is the announcement of a TV service as well.
Source: Android and Me
Sony’s Google powered Internet TV sure has been making the rounds these past few days. The folks over at Android and Me shot this video, which offers the clearest up close and personal look we’ve seen thus far. Most of the ports have been covered, so Sony isn’t quite ready to share all the juicy details just yet. For the time being, be sure to check out the video embedded below.
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Syabas, makers of the upcoming Popbox hardware device, have delayed shipping pre-orders until July 23rd amidst software issues. To make matters worse, the set-top box will no longer be supporting Netflix, which may cause many to regret their preorder. The device also does not feature any means of connecting to a standard def TV, although this is not nearly as big an issue as the lack of Netflix support. On their official blog, Syabas also downplayed rumors of hardware DRM issues, stating that the current device will be able to support all future partner applications without the need for a hardware upgrade. The current list of parters includes Revision3, YouTube, Picasa, Clicker, and Twitter.
We have been hearing rumors of a premium Hulu service for some time now, and have been speculating as to whether or not it would end up on Google TV. The rumors have now been put to rest, thanks to today’s announcement of “Hulu Plus.” For $10 dollars a month, customers will gain access to entire seasons of shows that are currently available in limited numbers on the free service. So far we know there will be apps for iPod and iPad (and surely iPhone as well), Samsung and Sony connected TV and Blu-ray devices, as well as PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The inclusion of Sony, makers of the first HDTV with Google TV built in, leads us to believe that Google TV will eventually be supported as well, although no official announcement has been made at this time. We will continue to bring you more on this story as it develops, for now you can visit the official Hulu Plus page, and see a video from Hulu after the break.
Samsung has announced the addition of Google Maps to their Samsung Apps store, which they advertise as the world’s first HDTV application store. The move would allow owners of Internet ready Samsung TV’s to enjoy Google Maps in full HD, which would undoubtedly be visually enjoyable.
Eric Anderson, Sony’s VP of content and product solutions, had the following to say about Samsung Apps: “we created Samsung Apps so that content creators can develop applications that can be experienced on big-screen TVs.” According to the press statement, Samsung currently holds the #1 market share in Internet connected TV’s, and given Google’s consideration of a partnership with the TV manufacturer, this announcement comes as little surprise.
We will continue to bring you any new developments between these two companies, and there will surely be more to come.
Another day, another new Android-based TV. Electronics manufacturer TCL has announced they will be the first to release a TV powered by Android on the Chinese market. In development since 2008, the device will feature everything one might expect, including a full web browser, video-on-demand, and the Android Market. What sets this apart from several of the other Android-based devices we have looked at so far is the level of control it will offer over other devices. Much like the Logitech Harmony Link, users will be able to control over devices integrated with the TV, such as a DVD player or stereo system. TCL has also voiced plans for future control by smartphones and MIDs, but no official details have been given at this time.
There is some speculation as to whether or not Chinese censorship laws will delay the release of this device in China, due to the tight government regulations on the media, as well China’s ongoing feud with Google over search censorship. If the green light is given, however, this TV could prove to be an excellent alternative to Google TV in China.
Swedish TV company People of Lava (yes that is in fact the name) is releasing the first fully-interactive internet TV, which will be based on the Android OS. Set to launch this September, “Scandanavia” will be available in three sizes, 42″, 47″, and 52″. Like Google, People of Lava wanted more than just widgets and overlays, but rather a truly interactive user experience. The screens, made by LG, are an LED edged LCD, which reviews have noted provide excellent picture quality.
One major drawback of this device, other than the price which we will cover in a second, is it is not as fully integrated as they would like to think. In order to access the OS, you have to switch inputs on the TV, meaning there is currently no way to watch TV and use the OS at the same time. Now, in terms of price, the 42″ model will run roughly $3000 US, which will make this an unlikely choice for the average consumer. Given the companies focus on being a competitor with luxury retailers like Bang & Olufson, however, it is safe to say the average consumer was not in mind from the beginning.
While not very practical price-wise, it nevertheless points to a new trend of marriage between the Web and TV. Over the next year, more and more manufacturers will likely start implementing similar internet functionality, whether it be Google TV, Android, Windows Media Center, or new proprietary software designed to bridge the internet-TV gap. One thing is for certain, much like DVD became the standard over VHS, and HD is now becoming the standard over standard def, television with some form of internet functionality could become the new standard in the next 4 or 5 years.
In its ongoing feud with rival provider DirecTV, Dish Network has launched a new ad campaign which brings the promise of free HD for life. Currently, DirecTV charges a premium of $10 dollars per month for HD, which if left unchanged, would offer a huge incentive for consumers to go with Dish. If Dish continues to bring on new customers, by default, Google TV’s user base will gain a boost come launch time.
Dish also announced last week their plans to bring local stations to 29 additional markets, making them the first pay-TV provider to offer local stations in all markets. This comes at a time when Apple CEO Steve Jobs has suggested that a successful bridge between Internet and Television will be severely hindered by cable services not being available nationwide. This argument might be a bit more valid, if it were not for the fact that Google is partnered with Dish and not a cable provider like Time Warner or Cox.
Dish, who added 237,000 new subscribers in the first quarter of 2010, should only continue to grow in light of this announcement, and as a result will make Google TV’s fall 2010 debut all the stronger. See the aforementioned Dish commercials below:
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