Google TV – Not Ready For Primetime

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Google TV doesn’t promise to be anything, so you can’t be shocked when it just doesn’t do much.

The slick search box, the Chrome App with the FULL INTERNET Experience , the (limited) Android Apps are all there.  It is 100% honest in its marketing of the product, but why do i feel like a dip$hit for buying it.  The device turns on with a slick Google TV animation and it loads up with a very generic Android 2.1 GUI.  Simple and clean is good, but too simple and too clean isn’t. It just doesn’t feel like a completed product at this point.  It feels very beta at this point and i feel like i paid $400 to be a beta tester.

The search box overlay is cool looking and it is nice to have the option to just do a quick google search whenever i want, but it doesn’t feel very natural.   I think that it may get better when the devices are cell phone controlled because i can txt message a whole lot quicker than i can type with the Sony remote keypad.  Doing a Goolgle search in the middle of a program isn’t all that “awesome” either.  I typed in “MODERN FAMILY” and it showed me results for future showings of the show, online video results , web results and the ability DVR my favorite shows IF you have a DISH NETWORK DVR.  Pretty neat, but I want a link that takes me to watch episodes on ABC.com.  This is GoogleTv and it should have a slick interface that takes you to a page that loads up all your favorite shows that are available free online.  At least send me directly to the Shows online landing page.

The Good –

  • Websites that are optimized for the Google TV experience. Some of the interfaces are wonderful. This device will only get better as more website are optimized.
  • The Twitter App – This app is similar to the new Twitter experience that was recently launched.
  • The full internet experience – Via the Chrome browser, you can view nearly any website.

The Bad –

  • The Sony Blu ray box requires an A/V receiver or a cable/satellite box that has an HDMI output.
  • The lack of App support until 2011 – No Android store open and it lacks the ability to manually add apps.
  • No Hulu support –  It worked at first, but they blocked it.
  • The basic first generation Netflix interface –  Not nearly as functional as the PS3 or Wii. The same interface that is available on low end Blu ray players.
  • No quicktime support – Not many plugins are supported as of today.  This may change in the future.
  • The Controls –  the controls are different depending on if you are on a website, within an app or within the Android GUI.
  • Android 2.1 –  No Froyo

The Outlook –

  • I have no doubt that this device will be awesome in the future.  This is going to be a great product in the next six months.  This is NOT a great product now and will not be one until Apps are developed to take advantage of the Android operating system mashup with your HDTV.

Verdict – This device is being returned to the store.  This device isn’t ready for PRIMETIME!!!!!