Google TV Box Gets Movie Streams From Android 4.0 Smartphones, Tablets
By Agam Shah
An upcoming Google TV box based on Android 4.0 OS and an ARM processor will come closer to smartphones and tablets with the capability to play direct movie streams from Android 4.0 mobile devices, a set-top box maker said on Wednesday at the Computex trade show in Taipei.
Honeywld Technology, a device maker, is making a Google TV set-top box that allow TVs to play movies streamed directly from Android smartphones or tablets, said Bryant Liu, a manager in the sales division of the company. The set-top box will also be able to synchronize multimedia content including pictures.
Smartphones and tablets users will need to install a specific application on their mobile devices to enable streaming and synchronize with the Google TV box, Liu said. That application is under development, Liu said.
The feature is much like that of the Apple TV, which can stream content from an iPad or iPhone for playback on a TV set. Samsung also offers a feature on its tablet to stream content to a Samsung TV. However, Samsung TVs are not based on Google TV software.
Honeywld will start shipping the boxes in Taiwan around July, Liu said. Honeywld has only 30 to 40 employees and cannot afford to sell the set-top box worldwide, so the company is showing the device at Computex with the hopes that third-party device makers resell the product in other countries.
The Honeywld set-top box has a Marvell dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, and runs a customized version of the Google TV software developed by the company, based on the Android 4.0 OS. The simplified user interface has a small video player, and a few icons that provide access to a web browser and links to sites such as Picasa and YouTube.
Google TV boxes running version 4.0 of Android, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich, will become widely available worldwide starting in the third quarter, Liu said. There are just a few ARM-based set-top boxes already out, with some running the new version of Google TV based on Android 4.0 or older versions of the OS, Liu said.
The new devices also signal a reboot for Google TV software, which failed to find acceptance the first time round. The first version of Google TV was used in Sony's Internet TV and Logitech's Revue set-top box, which has been discontinued. In the wake of failure of the first wave of Google TV devices, Intel said it would exit the TV market. Google TV switched over to ARM processors with chip maker Marvell announcing support for Android-based software for TVs.
A price for the Honeywld box has not been set yet, but Liu estimated it would be between US$95 and $120. Users will not pay high prices for a Google TV box, Liu said.
The set-top box has 4GB of flash storage, 1GB of DDR3 memory and a MicroSD slot. The box also has ports for Ethernet and HDMI video. Wi-Fi is available as an option.
Sony's Next Generation Set-top Box With Google TV Arrives July 22
Internet Player's Versatile Remote Control and Library of Apps Customizes the Home Entertainment Experience.
SAN DIEGO, June 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Sony Electronics Inc. today announced the availability and pricing of the NSZ-GS7 Internet Player with Google TV, originally introduced in January at CES. Powered by Google TV, the Internet Player will be available at retailers nationwide on July 22, priced at $199. Pre-orders begin on June 25, 2012 at www.sony.com/sonygoogletv.
"Expanding the reach and interoperability of the powerful Android platform with Sony's smartphones, tablets and renowned Audio & Video products, we are proud to continue our relationship with Google through the introduction of the new Google TV set-top-box," said Phil Molyneux, president and chief operating officer of Sony Electronics. "Entertainment content is available through so many channels and sites, and Google TV helps consumers easily find what they want to watch, listen to or play using familiar search engine technology, enhancing the viewer experience. TV will never be the same."
In addition to the NSZ-GS7 Internet Player, Sony's newest Internet Blu-ray Disc player with Google TV, the NSZ-GP9, will be available at retailers in time for the holiday season, priced at $299. The NSZ-GP9 player features Sony's proven Blu-ray Disc technology coupled with the robust Google TV platform.
Global Expansion of Google TV Platform
In 2010, Sony helped pioneer the Internet-TV convergence as one of the first manufacturers to launch products powered by Google TV. With the new NSZ-GS7 Internet Player with Google TV, Sony will also be the first manufacturer to launch Google TV products outside of the United States, initially starting with the United Kingdom in July, followed later by Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Netherlands, Brazil, and Mexico. The NSZ-GP9 Blu-ray Disc player with Google TV will be available this fall in the United States, followed later by Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Netherlands.
Customized Entertainment Made Easy
Sony's evolution of hardware to complement the continually updating Google TV is the next step in the future of home entertainment convergence. Sony's NSZ-GS7 and NSZ-GP9 bring the best of Google to your TV, with new experiences arriving every day through the Google Chrome browser; thousands of supported mobile apps in the Google Play Store, including hundreds optimized for TV; YouTube with 72 hours of video being added every minute; and a global community of developers from around the world. Google TV's cross search functionality shows viewers all content sources available from broadcast providers* and the Internet to deliver customized video results on demand.
Both new products come complete with a redesigned remote control equipped with a backlit QWERTY keyboard, a touch pad for easy operation and a three-axis motion sensor to enjoy games. Additionally, the Bluetooth remote control can also be utilized as a universal remote to control connected devices such as TV, set- top-box and A/V receivers - the NSZ-GP9 Blu-ray Disc player even incorporates voice search capabilities.
Google amping up video index in advance of its Google TV launch
by Todd Bishop
Google may own YouTube, but there's a lot more video than that in the world, and the company is getting serious about building that part of its search index in advance of its planned Google TV launch later this year.
That might have been the most timely piece of information to emerge from the opening session this morning at the SMX Advanced search conference in Seattle. Speaking on the panel, Google software engineer Matt Cutts encouraged the developers and search experts in the audience to make sure that they've submitted a video sitemap if they have videos on their sites, to help the company find the content.
"Video site maps is something that we're probably going to look at a little more closely. If you tell us where your videos are, we will try to index them a little bit harder," Cutts said. "For example, if you think about things like Google TV, coming out in the fall, it's in everybody's interest that all the videos that are on the web be able to be very discoverable and very searchable. If you produce videos and you haven't done a video site map, that is something that I would definitely recommend."
Google announced plans for Google TV in May, partnering with Sony, Logitech and Intel. The first Google TV-enabled set-top boxes and televisions are slated to be available this fall.
Vizio gives a first look at its new Google TV set top box
By: Ray Walters
With Google I/O 2012 right around the corner we're beginning to see some of the new products that will be featured at the event. A perfect example is the new Vizio Stream Player that runs on the Google TV platform. A Vizio rep outed the device with KROQ's Kat Corbett at the station's Coachella house during the April 2012 music festival as you can see in the video above. As far as we know, this is the first live look at one of the next generation of Google TV devices that the world is going to see during Google's developer conference next week.
While we know that you're probably rolling your eyes at yet another attempt to revive Google TV, this new device from Vizio may actually have a shot at breathing new life into Mountain View's smart television platform. Starting with the physical feature set, the small footprint of the box plus the fact that the remote is chock full of features are both appealing. To have a touchpad on the front and a keyboard on the backside of the remote shows that Vizio's engineers put some thought into the development of the device. Couple that with the fact that the rep in the video states that it can serve as a universal hub that enables you to not have to switch inputs when you want to change content sources and you have a compelling product.
On the software side, Vizio looks to be trying to add a ton of consumer value by including various apps like OnLive, the cloud gaming service that enables you to play your favorite console and PC games without having to own a Xbox 360, PS3 or a PC. Having this ability in addition to having access to Google Play and the Google TV platform may be a strong enough combination to drive some consumer interest.
While all of the above is certainly compelling, we can't take anything more than a cautious stance when it comes to how this device is going to sell. While it certainly is going to enjoy some success due to the fact that Vizio is one of the most recognized brands with Wal-Mart shoppers, will it be able to compete with other devices from Roku or even the Xbox 360 when it comes to streaming content delivery? The good news is that the rep in the video stated that it was going to release at "just under $100," which is what the Logitech Revue should have launched at when the platform first released.
Time will tell of course, but until it hits the market we will be watching I/O with interest to see the full package Vizio is going to offer on its release.
Update: We've received word from Vizio saying that the Google TV will "hopefully launch this summer" and that it is "unclear if the Google TV platform will be at the I/O conference".
L4 Media takes on Google with interactive TV service
By John Cook
Who wants to just mindlessly veg out in front of the TV anymore? Today, you've got to interact with what's on the screen -- chatting with friends, posting to Twitter or tracking sports scores in what amounts to a multitasking onslaught. L4 Media says it makes all of that possible. And the Kirkland startup is showing off its technology for the first time this week at the TelcoTV 2010 show in Las Vegas.
As part of the launch, the company also is announcing that its Panorama TV service will be integrated with Nokia Siemens Networks' IPTV solutions.
Here's how L4 describes their new offering.
Using the Panorama platform, companies can quickly deliver personalized content, such as sports scores, weather forecasts, or Facebook status updates, through useful and entertaining widgets that are specifically designed for use on the television screen with the touch of a button. Rather than try to force an Internet experience built for a computer into a television set, widgets deliver the content that consumers demand in an experience that takes into account the unique features and constraints of a television set.... Once in place, the widgets can be used to do everything from check the day's football scores to Tweet with a friend about the latest episode of American Idol - all without interrupting television viewing.
That sounds a bit like Google TV, which comes preloaded with apps from Netflix, Twitter, Pandora, NBA Game Time and others. Apple TV also is playing around in this space.
Of course, not all media companies want to integrate with the likes of Google or Apple. So, in that regard, there could be an opening for a smaller player to squeeze in. Or, maybe not.
L4 Media is a unit of L4 Mobile, which is led by former SNAPin Software executive Bruce James and former Action Engine executive Brandon Albers.
BuddyTV Guide app turns your iPhone into a TV remote
by Aislyn Greene
Seattle startup BuddyTV has a new app that lets iPhone users turn their phone into a remote tailored to their TV-watching habits.
The BuddyTV Guide, which combines a traditional TV guide, personalized content, trivia and social media, builds on BuddyTV's earlier incarnations of its deeply social iPhone/iPad apps.
Users can customize the free app by adding their favorite channels, which are then displayed first in a TV guide, as well as change channels with the tap of a finger. The app is integrated with Netflix streaming, so users can easily watch videos and, like Netflix, it will suggest shows based on viewing history and preferences. The app also tells you if there is a HD version of a favorite show and if the episode is a new one or repeat.
The app also incorporates the social elements the company is known for: users can broadcast what they're watching to Facebook and Twitter, invite friends into TV chat rooms to talk about their favorite shows, and answer trivia questions.
Right now the app is only compatible with Google TV, the TiVo Series 3 and other devices controlled by Logitech Revue, but TechCrunch reports it should soon work with tablets and phones that have an infrared transmitter.
"To me, the BuddyTV Guide app is a must have app that I use daily now," said BuddyTV CEO Andy Liu in a press release. "In fact, the app knows that I like to watch the Seattle Mariners game, and recommends it to me whenever they are on TV. I can then tap on the game right on my iPhone, and before I even open the door to my condo, the game is already on my TV. It has truly changed the way I consume entertainment."
The app is currently only available for the iPhone, but the company said Android and Google TV versions are on their way.
Sony NSZ-GS7 Google TV box goes to pre-order status
by Mark Raby
Oh, yes, Sony is giving Google TV another chance. You may recall that the last time it went all out with support for Google's television-based operating system, it sort of crashed and burned. Sony's line of Google TV-powered "Internet TV" models were so much more expensive than other Internet-connected TVs that they captured monumentally low sales levels.
On top of the increased price, Google TV was a nascent, under-utilized platform. In fact, to any sensible person, buying an Internet-connected TV from pretty much any other manufacturer made more sense because they were cheaper and offered more content. Now, though, Google TV has matured a bit, and Sony is willing to give it a second chance. This time, though, it's playing it safe and going for a high-margin, low-cost set-top box device.
The Sony NSZ-GS7 has just gone up for pre-order at J&R Electronics stores, with a price of $199. The most interesting part is the remote control that comes with the new box – it has an accelerometer, a touch pad, and a microphone. With no native support for them, Sony had to make those things come to life, by allowing for speech-based searches and accelerometer controls for navigation through menus and other content.