Google TV has landed and is already sending ripples through the marketplace, but what about all the companies already blending internet and TV? Whether they are already planning to work with the new initiative (Rovi), even more firmly staking a claim on their existing technology and vision for the connected TV (Microsoft, Yahoo), sounding like it's an option for the future (Samsung, VIZIO, Boxee) or already working on their own Android on TV projects (People of Lava, MIPS) each one should tell a little bit about where this market is headed in the coming months and years. Read on for their statements -- and a quick breakdown of what each is bringing to the table in case you weren't already running a network cable to your HDTV years ago.
Update: Now with reactions from Roku and PlayOn!
Update: Now with reactions from Roku and PlayOn!
There's a lot of love going around for Boxee, and its CEO Avner Ronen has long promoted the merger of content from internet and traditional TV sources, if he can get access for the XBMC spinoff. This is what he posted to his twitter after the announcement.
Microsoft:Watched the Google TV demo. more complementary than competitive. we should start working on Boxee Android App for TV... :) - Avner Ronen
Microsoft needs little introduction here, from the Web TV to today's Windows 7 Media Center, Mediaroom (used by AT&T's U-verse service), Xbox 360, Zune and most recently an embedded Media Center edition that could run directly on TVs and set-top boxes it's been working to connect the larger PC and internet experience to the television for quite some time.
Yahoo:"Microsoft has been in the smart TV space for a number of years and has strong partnerships with operators, OEMs and content partners across the industry and around the world. The company remains focused on delivering the best connected TV and entertainment experiences through a combination of great software plus services pulling information from the cloud, where content flows seamlessly from screen to screen on any device. We're already seeing much of this happening today. For example, Microsoft is enabling TV service providers to deliver these scenarios with Microsoft Mediaroom, the world's most deployed IPTV platform, powering award-winning TV services to close to 5 million households via 25 operator partners around the world. Mediaroom also enables TV service providers to deploy applications that can bring video and Web content together in ways that are specifically designed for enjoying and interacting via the TV and a remote control. Mediaroom customer, AT&T U-verse TV, has deployed over 20 interactive TV applications to date. Some example applications are highlighted at http://www.microsoft.com/mediaroom/Themes/Applications.aspx.
Another example is Windows Media Center which is focused on enabling new broadcast and internet TV content experiences on the PC for more than 25 million users around the world. Smart features like the integrated TV guide bring broadcast and internet TV channels in one place. Further, Microsoft is also delivering web and TV- integrated digital and social entertainment services direct to consumers through TV and video on Xbox LIVE and Xbox 360 consoles with 23 million Xbox LIVE members in 26 countries as well as Zune and Windows Phones."
Yahoo!'s Connected TV widgets launched at CES 2009 and are available on Sony, Samsung, LG and VIZIO HDTVs delivering video on demand from Blockbuster and Netflix, Twitter, Facebook, fantasy football and other internet content as Java/XML apps. They've appeared on Intel CE3100 hardware -- predecessor to the CE4100 powering the Google TV systems. The platform claims 7,000 active developers, over 50 widgets currently available and over 150 more coming by the end of the year.Samsung:
"Consumers love television, and Yahoo! is enhancing the TV viewing experience by adding high quality, personally-relevant Internet content across devices from the world's largest consumer electronics manufacturers. Yahoo! is leading, innovating and delivering amazing consumer experiences, and there is no doubt in my mind that the next phase of the Internet revolution will be televised." -- Ronald Jacoby, Chief Architect, Yahoo! Connected TV
Samsung's Internet@TV platform debuted last year and utilized on Yahoo! Connected TV widgets bringing content to TVs and Blu-ray players. In 2010, it's next step is the Samsung Apps service bringing functionality across a wide range of devices including TVs, receivers, Blu-ray players and mobile phones.
Rovi:"For Samsung, the Connected TV era began more than three years ago and achieved a breakthrough in 2010 with the introduction of Samsung Apps, the world's first TV application store now available in more than 100 countries. Our success has been fueled in part by partnerships with diverse Google properties including YouTube, Picasa, and Maps via our Internet@TV service in addition to our application partners on the Samsung Mobile platform. Samsung is focused on delivering the most complete Internet TV experience to consumers and this will guide our approach as we consider introducing new services or platforms such as with Google. A relationship with Google TV is currently under consideration." -- David Steel, Executive Vice President of Marketing at Samsung Electronics America
Known in another life as Macrovision and TV Guide, Rovi may already be behind the program guide on your TV or set-top box. While cable and satellite operators have not widely deployed some of its more interesting UIs, it's already looked for a way over the top by adding a guide via Samsung's widget service, and recently showed off its latest design, the TotalGuide shown above.
VIZIO:"Rovi sees the Google announcement today as another milestone in the continued development of Internet TV. We're working with Google to help bring next-generation guides to the users of Google TV. This includes TotalGuide applications for the Android platform as well as TV data. We believe a critical component for creating a simplified consumer experience is data that allows you to browse and discover more content." -- Corey Ferengul, EVP of Product Management and Marketing, Rovi
VIZIO has dived wholeheartedly into the Connected HDTV pool, building its entire UI on the Yahoo! Widgets design, including all the standard TV controls in the same interface where you'll find Twitter and various video on-demand services. VIZIO Internet App HDTVs have a QWERTY Bluetooth remote to make internet browsing easier and its Super Bowl ad was devoted to informing customers it could bring the best of the internet to your TV.
People of Lava:"We are excited that other technology providers are following VIZIO's lead to offer easy to access Internet content on their televisions. We were the first to integrate Wifi and Bluetooth technology into HDTV sets to enable a simple, intuitive HD internet steaming experience and as a result more than 70% of VIZIO Internet Apps consumers are connecting and streaming actively with VIZIO products.We at VIZIO are constantly evaluating new opportunities to further enhance the value of our products, including those brought to us by Intel and Google. Our goal is to continue to make the best of the Internet easily available to consumers with products that they can afford." -- Laynie Newsome, Co-founder and CSO
People of Lava surprised everyone by being the first to announce an Android TV, and expects to have its product on shelves well ahead of Sony's Google TV.
"It is of course a challenge for a small TV-manufacturer in the premium range to set out to launch a whole new kind of integrated product and experience. I see today's events as a confirmation that we did the right thing to dare to press ahead." -- Christian Svantesson, Managing Director of People of Lava.
"The more Android-based TVs on the market, the better. This would mean that the development of Apps, adapted for the TV will get a boost, and more Apps will become available. And what's good for the customers is good for us. We can already offer a number of Apps that we think will give our customers the most instant benefit, such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, an open Web-browser etc. And our App-store, which is already up and running, offers more Apps, ready to be downloaded." -- Mathias Adolfsson, Chief Technical Officer at People of Lava.
MIPS:"The fact that we and others can create new Apps for our customers, actually gives our customers a product that "comes alive", and will continue to evolve with the customers, in the direction of their own choice. Choice is so central here. Not dictating, but giving options. We see this as a great start towards our vision of a "Window to the world" - giving our customers the standing option to choose not only what they want to see or do, but also when." -- Martin Ljunggren, Chief Marketing Officer at People of Lava.
You may or may not know the name MIPS, but the company's chips are embedded in TVs and set-top boxes all over, already running Yahoo! Widgets. It's already worked on an HD-friendly version of Android for its processors that could have a wider reach than the Google TV platform.
Roku:"MIPS Technologies was pleased to see today's Google TV announcement. Google's announcement is clearly well aligned with our own vision of the future connected television and entertainment experience. To date, MIPS Technologies has synergistically supported Google's commitment to the architecture-neutral, open source nature of Android by ensuring that our licensees have access to the best available software ecosystem for Android on MIPS-Based solutions. Google TV is the latest architecture-neutral solution from Google and, leveraging our past work with Android and our ongoing relationship with Google, MIPS Technologies is now in an excellent position to work with our licensees as Google TV moves beyond its initial reference platforms and into mainstream development within the digital home market-a market where MIPS is already the number one processor architecture." --Art Swift, Vice President of Marketing, MIPS Technologies
The standalone streamer box has crept out of its shell as primarily a Netflix machine by partnering with MLB.tv and Amazon VOD. Being able to work with many different providers and having a low cost hardware platform could work greatly in its favor.
PlayOn:"I think we are intrigued like the next person on this announcement. There's been a lot of talk about how this is going to kill off stand alone devices like Roku or aggregators like Boxee, but it seems to me that price will play a big role in this and also the fact that this platform and the devices being created are geared towards combining linear TV (from your cable or satellite provider) with Over the Top content. In that regard, the competition is TiVo or Sezmi or Zillion TV or the cable MSOs that are also attempting to converge both.
We feel we still sit in a great spot. One that delivers an incredible amount of premium content to the TV for an incredibly low price and while we are still complimentary to cable/satellite today, we are adding more and more content including live sports, music, movies and TV shows, etc. that are making our platform competitive in this space. A rising tide raises all ships and Google is creating awareness in the market for devices and services that delivery content streamed over IP to the TV. Now it's on us to execute and make sure our message is out there for customers." -- Brian Jaquet, Director, Corporate Communications
This piece of media streaming software has served to bring some of the internet's most liked and least flexible content to TV connected streamers for the last few years. If there's a way around a Hulu block for Google TV or anyone else slow to write an app, it's likely to be PlayOn.