Google TV – Open Source Software – Set-Tops Are in the Works

Posted Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 12:15 PM PDT by Mike Attebery

What do Google, Intel, Sony and Logitech have in common? Google TV.

Google has learned a lot from Apple, and it’s pretty evident that they’ve taken those lessons to heart. What was once a humble search engine based out of a garage is now the company behind the Nexus One phone, Android operating system, Chrome OS, Chrome internet browser and now open source TV software and, potentially, a set-top box or two.

The guys at Google have also learned a bit about what not to do. With Google TV, they’re taking a full 180 from the incredibly restrictive Apple TV.

The important thing to remember when reading about Google TV is that it’s not a standalone product. Think of Google TV as an operating system for set-tops and you won’t be far off. It uses the increasingly popular Android OS. Unlike most set-top boxes, Google TV boxes will have a web browser built right in, so there’s no limit to the content they can grab. Apps will play a major role of course. Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube are expected to be among the first.

Google is said to be making this a true open-source project. That means that anyone who wants to put Google TV into their set-top box, television, game system, or Blu-ray player can do it.

The first box, or boxes, will use an Intel chip; an Atom seems like the most likely choice. Sony will likely be bringing out the first consumer Google TV Box, which could give them a great leg up over the competition.

Google, of course, is looking forward to the potential revenue from the devices, but the big picture seems to be one painted in ad dollars. Google already sells TV ad time in certain markets, and anyone who’s been on the internet in the last few years has seen Google’s web advertisements.

Representatives from most companies declined to comment on Google TV, but a Boxee rep has been cited as calling this a giant opportunity. After all, if you can use Boxee (and purchase Boxee’s upcoming paid content) with Google TV then no one loses.

There’s a lot of speculation and very little hard information right now, but Google TV could be an incredibly cool platform for getting web based content on your television.

Source: The New York Times

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Tags: Logitech, Intel, Google, Sony, Industry Trends (all tags)