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GoogleTV, AppleTV and the Battle For The Living Room 226

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the can-someone-win-already dept.
An anonymous reader pointed us to an article talking about Google TV and AppleTV challenging the major networks and taking their place in your living room. It'll be a tough battle, amusingly waged on cable company wires in many major markets.
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GoogleTV, AppleTV and the Battle For The Living Room

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:12AM (#33521122)

    they won't get far off the ground. when it takes money out of the cable company mouths (the ISPs), they will throttle down google tv and apple tv so that you will have to use their services instead and there will be nothing we can do about it because enforcing net neutrality is big government intervention - just go ask the tea party people - they are adamant against net neutrality

  • Net neutrality (Score:4, Insightful)

    by codewarren (927270) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:13AM (#33521138)

    And when the cable company says you can't use our lines for that... the guantlet for net neutrality will be thrown also.

    (or when the cable company says, "look we have tv over the internet now too" like they did with phone service)

    • Re:Net neutrality (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:37AM (#33521582)

      (or when the cable company says, "look we have tv over the internet now too" like they did with phone service)

      So? Let them, then there would be three TV over IP services vying for my money instead of just two (actually between Netflix, Amazon, and the possible multitude of Android based players there will be many more than three but you get the point). Though I suspect rather than "you can't use our lines for that" it will be a computer nerd shacked up in his workshop doing tests on each of the devices that discovers that the cable company's offering magically gets better bandwidth and latency than their competition. Though which cable companies will be stupid enough to pick a fight with the likes of Google and Apple at the same time remains to be seen (but you just know there will be at least one of them that thinks they can get away with it).

    • Re:Net neutrality (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mea37 (1201159) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:39AM (#33521624)

      I doubt many cable companies, when faced with a loss of TV subscribers, will turn around and alienate their ISP subscribers with limitations on their service. I'm betting they'd like to have a hand in the delivery of TV content, even if it is only as the ISP over which someone else's digital service is delivered.

      As to the Net Neutrality issue, my answer to the question has been and will still be "labeling laws". Doesn't bother me one bit if my cable company wants to say "services X, Y, and Z are not allowed on our network", so long as that's clearly stated up front.

      And no, I don't expect the ever-shrinking population that only has one ISP option (or doesn't know how to find the other options) to be driving industry practices WRT network management.

      • Re:Net neutrality (Score:5, Insightful)

        by webheaded (997188) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:57AM (#33521962) Homepage
        And if you're in an area where both companies do it?

        I get tired about hearing about great old capitalism and choices in a market that essentially HAS NO CHOICES. I'm all for letting the market decide, but some people seem determined to fit a square peg in a round hole. It doesn't work in every single market. Stop parroting that crap and think about it for a minute. I mean seriously think. It's entirely possible that BOTH companies offering these services are simply going to dictate to you what you're allowed to do with their service and there is not a single thing you can do it. In other words, you can't vote for your wallet if there's no one there to vote for.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mea37 (1201159)

          "I get tired about hearing about great old capitalism and choices in a market that essentially HAS NO CHOICES"

          And if you were even remotely correct that there are NO CHOICES, I would agree with you.

          • You can probably choose your local cable company. Some areas even have more than one.
          • You can probably choose your local phone company. Some areas even have more than one.
          • You can likely choose from at least a handful of satelite providers. This may be restricted for you personally if you live in an apartment,
      • Re:Net neutrality (Score:4, Informative)

        by EXrider (756168) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @11:11AM (#33522220)

        I doubt many cable companies, when faced with a loss of TV subscribers, will turn around and alienate their ISP subscribers with limitations on their service

        Oh no, cable companies would never do such a thing! [gigaom.com]

        I hope you're being sarcastic.

      • People are much more willing to pay $100/mo to their cable company for TV shows than for Internet access it would seem.

        If cable companies just bundled TV access with Internet and only chaged for the Internet part, they might make a boat load of cash.

      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        As to the Net Neutrality issue, my answer to the question has been and will still be "labeling laws". Doesn't bother me one bit if my cable company wants to say "services X, Y, and Z are not allowed on our network", so long as that's clearly stated up front.

        And no, I don't expect the ever-shrinking population that only has one ISP option (or doesn't know how to find the other options) to be driving industry practices WRT network management.

        Dial-up, satellite, download capped "3G" wireless, and cable company that says "services X, Y, and Z are not allowed on our network"

        What wonderful choices I have.

  • by js3 (319268) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:14AM (#33521144)

    Is it just me or it's all hype and nothing to show for. Just because it has "google" and "apple" in it doesn't mean squat. They aren't relevant at all when it comes to TV.

  • Doesn't matter (Score:5, Insightful)

    by qsqueeq (586979) <squee_burger@hotmail.com> on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:15AM (#33521172) Homepage
    My wife still gets the remote.
  • Youtube better (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AnonymousClown (1788472) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:18AM (#33521232)

    This is good news for both Google and Apple. Bad news for the networks. But lets face it, when YouTube with its piano playing cats, hyperactive teenagers and snippets of prime time TV manages to outperform the major networks, the major networks have only themselves to blame!

    Cats? I use Youtube for instructional videos and things like that. Reading about something, anything, and don't understand it? Somewhere there's a video that shows you how to do it. Want to know what is the real deal that Wall Street cut with the Congressmen [youtube.com]? Go to Youtube.

    Because network TV just rehashes the same shit.

    PBS turned into the Antiques, Beatles, Wayne Dyer, Suzy Orman, Ken Burns network.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      HASHAHAHAHAHA... You use youtube to get political info? Yeah, enjoy your echo chamber, chump.

  • Lesser evil (Score:5, Funny)

    by guyminuslife (1349809) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:18AM (#33521242)
    Hmmm. So do I want a locked-down, shiny piece of Jobsified crap, or do I want a television that watches me? [insert pre-emptive "In Soviet Russia..." here]

    Oh, who am I kidding, I want them both.
    • by jdgeorge (18767)

      Seriously, give credit where it's due. The Apple one watches you as much as (or more than?) the Google one.

      And the "locked down" bit is a red herring. Apple devices can be jailbroken, and it's really a rare person who will load something other than official firmware on his device.

      I think the differentiator you're looking for is which shiny piece of crap is Jobsified. There's a degree of polish and reassuring smugness that doesn't grow anywhere else but Apple. Not to mention the value of Apple as an attracta

  • UI? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:20AM (#33521286)
    From the demo, Google TV requires some sort of keyboard/mouse interface. From the FAQ [google.com], it doesn't appear that it will be a standard Bluetooth one. Other the other end, Apple has a simplified remote but will allow for control through one of the iOS devices. I think where the battle will be won is how consumers will like the UI.
    • Re:UI? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Zizagoo (1848812) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:34AM (#33521546)

      From the demo, Google TV requires some sort of keyboard/mouse interface. From the FAQ [google.com], it doesn't appear that it will be a standard Bluetooth one. Other the other end, Apple has a simplified remote but will allow for control through one of the iOS devices. I think where the battle will be won is how consumers will like the UI.

      At the demo in Berlin they said there will be both Android and iOS apps for controlling Google TV. They even mentioned voice search integration.

      • Re:UI? (Score:5, Funny)

        by Speare (84249) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:45AM (#33521726) Homepage Journal

        At the demo in Berlin they said there will be both Android and iOS apps for controlling Google TV. They even mentioned voice search integration.

        I can just see it now. I'm watching a Star Trek episode, and Picard gives the shipboard computer a prompt, such as "Computer! Find all Starfleet regulations on personnel transfers." Suddenly my television starts playing a completely different program in my video library. Hopefully not something I put in the "embarrassing" folder.

    • That's what Google Instant Search is for. Nobody really wants to do an instant search of the entire web -- it is too big. But an instant search of a movie database makes much more sense. Google Instant Search is designed to make Google TV usable with a few keystrokes from a small remote.
    • by DdJ (10790)

      Apart from the "control through the iOS devices" (which just uses the same "Remote" app you can use to control iTunes or the old version of AppleTV today), the whole "AirPlay" thing is potentially quite interesting. From what I've read, it sounds like a random buddy can come over with an iPhone that has a video loaded on it, start playing it, and transfer the output wirelessly to the TV. Yeah... I have a use for that.

    • yeah, because i want to go find my phone and drain the batteries just to flip channels. real convenient.

  • Shake up (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kdogg73 (771674) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:29AM (#33521438) Homepage

    I pretty much basically watch public television (PBS) and Netflix. I don't have cable or satellite service.

    The media is prime for a shake up. But I'm not sure anyone can deliver us from hundreds of channels of crap. I mean, if Hollywood is already out of ideas, now banking on remakes, neither Apple or Google can help much, but only serve us classic reruns with a better user experience. :/

  • Television has WAY too much annoying advertising for my comfort, I watch a little bit of local news & weather and if there is a really good old movie on TCM (Turner Classic Movies) I will watch it, and if the History Channel or Discovery Channel has any really good shows on I will record them to a DVR so i can fast forward through all the advertising.

    as far as network television goes like american idol or any of that other brainless crap goes i would not watch it to save my soul from hell.
    • by cygnwolf (601176)

      as far as network television goes like american idol or any of that other brainless crap goes i would not watch it to save my soul from hell.

      Got that right, I feel like not watching is the way to save your soul.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I don't spend much time watching TV either, but not because I think it's brainless crap. I just don't have enough time. Honestly, I think TV is fantastically good these days. There are some extremely well written and produced shows on TV and I really do wish I had more time to watch.

      Like you, I very rarely watch live tv though. I use the DVR and Netflix for most of what I actually do watch.

      BTW, I would put local news and weather in the pile I label crap. They are poorly produced, sensationalist, consultant

      • by FudRucker (866063)
        when you live in Tornado Alley (like i do) you tend to keep a close eye on the weather from various sources.
        • The problem is, the weather bozos go into panic mode if there's weather within 500 miles. I've seen them cancel shows for hours to talk about a tornado in some town I've never heard of, while outside my window the sun is shining and the birds are singing.

  • by tverbeek (457094) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:33AM (#33521522) Homepage

    I can't help wondering if they're fighting over the best deck-chair seating on the Titanic. I haven't turned my TV on in months.

    • by dbet (1607261)
      And you're representative of everyone? A lot of people watch TV at least some of the time, on their TV.
    • by microTodd (240390)

      So you don't watch any shows or movies at all? No DVDs? No Netflix? No ESPN3 or Hulu or abc.com?

      Or do you watch it on your LCD monitor instead of a 42" HDTV in the living room on the couch?

      • Don't know about the GP, but most of my TV really IS 20th century, literally. Much of what I watch is old reruns from the last century. Most of the new stuff is crap.

      • by tverbeek (457094)

        In the last few months I've been to the theater several times (which I admit is really 20th century), but I haven't rented any DVDs lately. ESPN3... are you kidding? No Hulu or other streaming substitutes for network programming: for the past few months there has simply not been anything on that I want to watch.

        Granted, I'll be firing up the TV again shortly now that the few series I'm interested in watching will have new episodes again. But I don't know of any new ones that I want to watch. The trend i

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Yes..assuming the titanic consists of just you.

      Please, 100s of millions of people watch TV in the US

  • I used Media Center to stream to my TV for quite some time before the novelty wore off.
    MCE is great because you can stream any media (some with additional addins).

    My TV watching hours have gone down to zero.
    Nowadays I just use XBMC whenever I need the 10-foot experience.

    • by webheaded (997188)

      Nowadays I just use XBMC whenever I need the 10-foot experience.

      That what she s---aw I just can't bring myself to do it.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Nowadays I just use XBMC whenever I need the 10-foot experience.

      XBMC on a $200 (or less) Acer Aspire, $1.69 (dealextreme) bluetooth dongle, and $20 used PS3 remote... Keep it running Windows so you can launch a web browser for stuff like Netflix, run CoreAVC if you want any PVR functions (CUDA acceleration of H.263 FTW) and whether you're on Windows or Linux you get video decode acceleration, HDMI output, lots of USB inputs, GigE... why would someone buy a purpose-built unit again?

  • mythtv... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nblender (741424) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:43AM (#33521676)
    It'll be interesting to see how this plays out... My household has been a bit of an experiment as I switched to Mythtv about 5 or 6 years ago... First with satellite receivers hooked to capture cards and most recently cable TV tuners hooked to firewire... MythTV with all of its warts is actually relatively good... I've found though, that I can get higher quality and more current programming from the Bitorrent Channel than I can from any of the cable channels so an account on a few private trackers with a client that can do RSS feeds and a seedbox has pretty much supplanted our need for the cable connection... In fact, I'd sooner download a show than let my Mythbackend record it from cable... I still pay the cable bill, though.. The bitorrent channel doesn't get Antiques Roadshows and other shows that my wife watches... Plus, I sort of justify it to myself that I'm still paying for the content; I just choose to get a 3rd party (the scene) to de-commercialize it for me...

    Wife Acceptance Factor is pretty high.. In fact, she hates LiveTV now... My son has grown up not really knowing what a commercial is.. When we visited the inlaws this summer, he was watching TV with his grandfather... A commercial came on and he was looking for the skip button.. Our livingroom at home sports a moderately sized LCD with an Acer Revo bolted to the back on the VESA mount. No cables are visible and the remote is a wireless keyboard. No stereo cabinet...

    If I could get all of the shows I watch in reasonable quality (720p) automatically sent to a local storage device where I can play them back any time, and as many times as I want, I'd happily pay $70-$80/month (plus price of internet connectivity) for the privilege... I'm dubious that this is going to happen however. It'll probably be substantially more expensive, limit the number of times I can view a show, and if my hardware ever fails, I will have to repurchase all of my content.

    If only they'd focus on giving consumers what they want; they'd make a ton more money.
    • by Sloppy (14984)

      And that (what you just described) is the competition. Everyone ought to be fighting over your $70-$80 per month instead of saying, "We don't want your filthy money." If Google and Apple are gunning for "the big TV Networks" then that's pretty sad, because it means their products are already obsolete even before they've come out.

    • Re:mythtv... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by whisper_jeff (680366) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @12:01PM (#33523052)

      If only they'd focus on giving consumers what they want; they'd make a ton more money.

      They'd have a ton more happy and satisfied (loyal) customers but I don't know if they'd make more money. I'm sure they've done the math and figured out that nickle and diming us at every turn results in more dollars in their pockets, despite annoying the crap out of us on a regular basis and, since happy customers aren't their goal, they've followed the money.

      It would be nice if a content provider was able to build a viable business model based around happy customers but, thus far, it seems to be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow - a nice dream but never gonna happen.

    • by fermion (181285)
      The recording thing pretty much killed TV for me. For me, TV was recording shows, then watching them when I had time. The VCR made this simple. TiVo could have replaced this, but honestly by that point other people were recording the programs and I could just borrow them. It no longer became necessary for me to have my own kit.

      The networks have finally caught up with demand and get some revenue from me through Hulu and Netflix and iTunes. My issue with iTunes, AppleTV, or GoogleTV for that matter, is

    • by kwalker (1383)

      I'm nearly there with you, but my experience has been somewhat different.

      I rolled out my own MythTV backend (First as a VM on my workstation then promoted to an MSI Wind (Atom 330, 2GB RAM, 500GB disk)) connected to a HDHomerun which is connected to a large OTA antenna mounted in my attic. Picture quality has been really good on channels that have decent video sizes and bit rates, and most of the TV transmitters are located on one mountain top, so I don't have to move the antenna to pick up different channe

  • blogspot? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by iamhassi (659463) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:48AM (#33521770) Journal
    "An anonymous reader pointed us to an article..."

    An article on a unknown blogspot, telling us what we already know, that Apple and Google are battling for the living room and that Youtube is popular. Shouldn't this be in Idle?
  • by Triv (181010) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:50AM (#33521812) Journal

    Apple will seriously have to convince people that their service is worth it considering how locked down, even for apple, the appleTV is. No web streaming (aside from youtube) means no hulu, no network websites, no thedailyshow.com. As a cable replacement it just might be viable on a per-show basis once more networks sign up, but as of now it's a $99 box that apple's selling to let them sell you stuff you most likely can get legitimately on the web for free.

    If it wasn't so damned restricted I might give it a look, but it would take some heavy convincing. And this is coming from a Mac user of almost 2 decades now.

    • by nblender (741424)
      Not only that; renting a show for $.99 is 'ok' if I can watch it as many times as I want... There are shows that I pre-screen for my son so I want to be able to watch the show and keep it hanging around for a few days before I get a chance to sit with my son and watch it together. If I have to pay $.99 each time, then the concept becomes a lot less interesting... Plus, my son likes to watch shows a few times... Ignoring the increased cost of on-demand re-viewing of individual episodes, the bandwidth waste
  • TW is Already Gone (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MrTripps (1306469) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:52AM (#33521838)
    I canceled my cable TV service a few months ago. My living room TV gets by with an antenna (whose picture is better then cable), PS3, PlayOn, Netflix, and uTorrent.
  • by joeflies (529536) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:53AM (#33521864)
    It looks like that Apple TV is out to replace cable companies, but I think that's only a superficial view of the long term plan. There's been no announcement to date that Apple plans to offer any channel that appears on cable .. rather they go through online content providers. They complete skipped the major gripe of cable, i.e. to offer a "subscribe to channels you want ala carte", and changed the game to "buy what episodes you want to see, on demand".

    Which leads to the question .. so what role do the networks play in the grand scheme of things ... NBC / ABC / CBS / FOX are not all developing their own content, they buy that content from a show producer. If Apple develops enough mindshare and living rooms, you don't need NBC to order the episodes of a new show, Apple can buy it directly from the show's producers.

    This could be a great play to cut out all the middlemen, not just the cable company or the satellite monthly fee, but the entire tv network system as well ... it's possibly the biggest change in the business of TV in 50 years, and frankly none of the TV networks seem to notice yet.

    • by cynyr (703126)

      Vetting shows, and letting me find similar content that i may like. Say a "things that go boom" network. I would expect action movies/shows/etc there, but no "little house on the prairie". Ensuring a certian level of technical polish, no skipping/poping audio for example. clean camera work as a second example.

    • by schlick (73861)

      This could be a great play to cut out all the middlemen...

      I think you mean... "replace the middle man" I doubt it but maybe we'll get lucky and be able to buy the content from the producers ourselves. It is already happening with music to some degree.

    • by alen (225700)

      it's a lot more expensive to produce a TV show or movie than a song. and until itunes and digital revenues catch up to advertising and cable revenues don't bet on apple

      lady gaga and kings of leon still signed with the big labels

    • by ukemike (956477)

      it's possibly the biggest change in the business of TV in 50 years, and frankly none of the TV networks seem to notice yet.

      Uh, I'm pretty sure that NBC noticed. Hulu.

  • by BigBlueOx (1201587) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @11:01AM (#33522046)
    It doesn't seem to me that the delivery mechanism as big a deal as what product is being delivered. My fancy-schmancy digital-HD cable box with DVR and on-demand programming and bagels with cream cheese delivers over 500 channels of unmitigated crap. Hell, if it weren't for BBC America (Top Gear & Dr Who), I wouldn't watch anything at all. How is having an JobsBox or a GoogleFlooby going to change that? I'm going to spend my time watching YouTube? Really? That's the big plan? YouTube?? What am I missing?
    • by microTodd (240390)

      Because there are multiple ways via Internet to get all the content you want WITHOUT needing cable. ESPN3, Hulu, Netflix ondemand, even abc.com stream their shows.

      Wouldn't it be cool if you could just aggregate all those services into a single interface, plug it into your 38" HDTV in the living room, and be able to drop your cable or satellite TV? And wouldn't it be cool if you had a Google search interface on top of all that content to find what you want?

      And wouldn't it be cool if you could just do this

      • Ah. I see. Thank you, microTodd, I understand a little better. I can "get the content I want", however, remains a problem. I picture myself sitting with my GoogleThang surfing the web for content and finding nothing I want to see other than "Hawaiian Eye" reruns and then throwing the GoogleThang at the dog.

        As for dropping cable in this Brave New World, ha! And again I say "ha!". I'm married. It'll never happen.
  • Maybe I'm too geeky, but I have a Mac Mini because it does all the things the Apple TV does, plus more. I guess for a simple consumer device it is more than most people want, but it lets me watch/stream/etc all those things I want it to. And my PS3 does my BluRay as well as DVD so I don't need another disc player. There are so many options out there that I think we are going to see this slowly take over as more viable, but I don't see it taking off over night so much as slowly build.
  • What about live sports? events?

    ESPN 3 does not have all sports and there are ISP limits as well.

  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland @ y a hoo.com> on Thursday September 09, 2010 @12:33PM (#33523574) Homepage Journal

    they will loose.

    Look, the living room is a conduit for sales, not a sale in and of itself. all these companies would do far better to cooperate and have a good standard that lets the consumer decided on how it uses the media. Then each individual company can try to capitalize on that. No company is going to win over enough people that will want to hand over all media channel to them.

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