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Report: Google to Re-enter TV Space with Android TV

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According to a report out of The Verge, Google is taking a 2nd swing (or is a 3rd?) at taking over your TV experience with a product called Android TV. Notes and screenshots from this report seem to paint the picture of Amazon’s newly announced Fire TV, but with Google powering it. In other words, it sounds like another box to hook up to your TV that has access to all of the major movie, TV and music streaming services, with a big poster-like UI, and a simple approach. Yes, another one. 

Google is reportedly working with major app developers to get apps ready for the platform for a launch at some point. In the shot below, you can see icons for Netflix, Hulu, Songza, Pandora, and Vevo, plus the Google suite of apps. They are encouraging developers to build really simple apps with few friction points, and maybe few notifications or other movie parts that require too much interaction.

The interface will be controlled by both voice and hopefully only a few simple clicks. Google wants to suggest content to you, so that there is less interaction and more media consumption. A simple controller is used for navigation, while a gaming controller of some sort will be optional, which could mean gaming, just like on the Fire TV.

My thought is, “You already have Chromecast, Google, do we really need another box?”

You guys tell me.

android tv2

 

Via:  The Verge
  • Jay Viradiya

    Google is planning android TV? Seems that market graph of Amazon fire TV won’t raise at high stakes due to Google as its competitor. However on other-hand sales of Google Chrome-cast will not be affected at all. Planning’s of Google android TV are fantastic- when user-interface is concerned.

    Hats-off to Goddess-Google! – For its approach in Android TV and honor of salute to your fabulous exploration of Google plans. At the revelation of Amazon Fire TV, I thought to avail myself with Fire TV Set-Top Box but Google has finally changed
    my mind!!

    You can also visit us on:
    http://techwaq.com/google-formulates-launch-android-tv/

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  • Peter Tirrell

    Add in cablecard support. Something, someone, needs to compete with tivo, and the streaming only options just don’t cut it.

  • MikeKorby

    It would be great if Google were able to update the chromecast to have all the new features touted in this discussion, but I doubt that would happen, if at least based on the specs of the chromecast. To me, this makes me wonder what the goal of the chromecast was from the start. After the weak sales from Google TV, and the abysmal existence of the Nexus Q, Google needed to try something new. They developed a device that provided the smallest form factor, with a satisfying lineup of content, for a menial price. This gave Google a sort of test market to work with. Based on the feedback from the chromecast, Google has been able to directly see what their users desire for a connected unit. They have now a proven “simplicity” model, understand somewhat better how their users would interact with such a device, and where to improve upon the experience. They recently opened up development for the Chromecast, allowing them to get developers on-board to make for a more robust platform at launch, assuming that the new unit has similar code as the cast. Using the data that they collected over the past year, Google could potentially release a device that was built entirely around the content that we, the users, have represented that we desire. They can add what seems to be used, and skip out features that are often under-utilized/ignored. Hopefully, they will be able to keep the price down as well – it would be a major win at even $79. I think that they may still keep chromecast around as the ‘budget’ option, but this second-gen box would be their primary focus.

    In other words, the cast was Google’s beta program, and we were all unknowing voluntary testers,

    • Chris

      I agree completely about testing the market. I ran 2 revues, then replaced one revue with a sony GS7, then the original revue with a chromecast, then added a 2nd chromecast. None of them are the complete solution. The HDMI pass thru is great on a tv where the women & children can pickup one remote and not change tv or receiver inputs. The chromecasts are handy for a lot of content but it’s missing a lot without ethernet, remote(here’s hoping to voice search built in), single tv input. About the testing, after the lack of development for googtv, they needed a hit and some buzz, which the $35 price tag and their demonstration of all the casting options for not only one user but several people at the house is brilliant. Now they have proven the attractiveness of these features but that lil wifi dongle has is shortcomings as far as hardware & features go.

      My wishes…I’m thinking they sell the box including a universal remote with voice search AND a webcam with a 10′+ cord, all at the sub $100 price point. They offer a gaming pad of some sort for $30~. I’d really like to see included a backlit keypad with trackball/pad like the Lenovo N5902 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2-wSl6LR4M, except with voice search option and universal remote function built in. I doubt they could do that in the $100 price but they should, that way there is only the gamepad as an input add on. Maybe include my suggested keyboard remote and have the 2 add-ons be the gamepad($30) and webcam($20)?

      I think google wants hangouts to be featured so I’m thinking they’re gonna wanna bundle the cam with the box. Hard to see them getting all the hardware & features into $100, but one can hope!

  • Galindo909

    Update chromecast and there problem solved. Nothing else to hook up to your tv

  • Todd

    If I could install.apk…… I’ll buy it $$

  • krudl3rx

    What a scoop! Android TV to include Amazon streaming!!! Thanks for the great news!!!!!

    “… access to all of the major movie, TV and music streaming services”

  • Dan

    I guess my question is…does this mean that Chromecast was a waste of my time and money?

  • Daniel

    Would be a nice upgrade for GoogleTV devices or even Chromecasts if that were possible

  • SewWhat

    They need to port this simple UI to Chomecast and enable the existing GoogleTV remote app to control it. and tie it all into Google Drive to manage the background data related bits and allow playing saved movies from Gdrive.

    • EC8CH

      NO!

      The lack of any 10 foot UI is one of the most brilliant aspects of the Chromecast.

  • Franklin Ramsey

    I’d say it is a good idea. Sadly, my Chromecast likes to over heat after being on for a week or so and then I have to drag my receiver out, unplug it, let it cool down, plug it back in, etc… I’d prefer the functionality of the Chromecast but with a slightly better heat sink to keep that from happening.

  • DisQussIt

    Google Box, Amazon Box, Apple Box, Roku Box, ChromeCast Etc. I still have to pay my Cable Co. to deliver any and all of that content. Unless all of you gave up HBO GO, ShowTime Anytime, MAX Go ETC. Where are the saving everyone keeps claiming? My Cable bill is $175.00 a month. Buy the box of your choice $35.00 to $100.00 add Netflix $15.00 a month add Hula $8.00 a month ETC… WHERE DO I SAVE MONEY? Simple answer I don’t and neither will any of you. Let’s call it like it is, Not like we all wish it should be. I love TV Delivery when I want it. I hate trying to find something good to watch on old cable delivery but I’m going to pay more not less.

    • PoisonApple31

      I don’t think you are meant to save when you use one/some of those services with cable. You save when you cut the cable service and subscribe to some of those services you mentioned. I cut cable 4 years ago, and used to have a bill similar to yours. With Internet, Hulu Plus, and Netflix, I’m around $60/month. I don’t miss cable.

    • sirmeili

      I have Rokus in the house (I have a chromecast, but it was “free” to me by time you figured in the 3 free months at $12/month). I pay for Amazon Prime (mainly for shipping though), Netflix ($12/month), and Hulu ($8/month).I do pay $72/month for cable internet, but since I work from home, I would be paying this even if I paid for cable. In addition to all of that, I pay $8/month for Cable (Basic non-HD cable). I do get HD on my TV (clear QAM), but those are a few channels.

      So, instead of paying $175 for cable, I pay ~$30/month! I don’t see the issue here. The only shows I really dont’ get are CBS, but we can watch them in HD via clear QAM live if I so want to. I don’t have HBO, Showtime, etc, but I don’t care for them (nor their shows, just a personal preference).*

      I don’t see how you say I’m NOT saving money. Did I have to buy a Roku? Sure, but it’s better than the monthly fee to “rent” a cable box for every TV in the house (at $5-10/month, I see a return in 10-20 months). I see you assume that all people have the premium channels, but let me assure you that not all people do. I do think that if HBO was smart, they would offer a direct to HBO subscription model so I don’t have to pay a cable company, but I’m 100% sure this will NEVER happen.

      *Actually, I have HBO, but it was free for 24 months, so Instead of arguing, I accepted it. We never watch it. Occasionally I boot up HBO GO, but since Comcast won’t let you sign into HBO GO on the Roku, we just don’t use it.

    • DoctorJB

      Do you watch EVERYTHING on HBO/Shotime/AMC? If so, you’re probably better off keeping cable. If not, you may want to just look into buying the individual seasons of the shows you actually watch on those networks (Play offers pre-ordering so you get episodes as they play and don’t have to wait for the box set).

  • Zoloft_User

    This could be good, but I have a better idea…

    Take the example of Google Play Music: Google would dominate the streaming world if they had unlimited access to their library of movies, TV shows and, documentaries, ect…for a flat fee. Anything in their store can be streamed for the flat fee, no buying certain episode or season of shows. I know this might seem like a stretch, especially with the production and broadcast companies not getting their fair share in the revenue, but this could be a start to better access for customers. Think how great the experience would be if we had Miracast (screen mirroring) to the TV with unlimited access. Remember, LONG SHOT, but better for the customer!

    Then we can maybe work on Ala-cart TV!

    • sirmeili

      I would be ok with that, IF Google would put apps on other devices. For instance, Roku, Smart TVs, etc. Depending on people to only buy your devices to use your services is the reason that I’m not really an Apple Fan and why I have yet to buy any TVs shows or Movies in digital format from ANY of the providers. I can’t watch it on ALL of my devices! (Amazon – No android support, Google – No Roku support)

    • AbbyZFresh

      Just like All-Access is dominating the music streaming world because of a flat fee right? *sarcasm*

      • Zoloft_User

        All-Access has been great for people to stream music, while having control of what they want to listen to, store and make playlists for non-streaming storage. Remember, Pandora is good, but paying for unlimited music gets you what you want. THIS IS A STRETCH OF AN IDEA, not benefiting everyone except those who are willing to pay for it.

    • rcrow490

      Ever heard of Netflix?

      • Zoloft_User

        Netflix: Limited content in both movies and TV shows

        Google Play All-Access Video: If it is in the Play Store, you can watch it, unlimited viewing for a flat fee.

        What part of, “This is an IDEA and a LONG SHOT,” are you not understanding?

        • rcrow490

          The part where you said “This is an IDEA and a LONG SHOT”.

    • michael arazan

      No Way Google could pull off a cheap video streaming service for TV and Movies. It would be really expensive. The 5 Biggest Movie studios already pulled out of Netflix thinking they could get more for their services if they streamed it themselves. If Google did do it and could work out licensing agreements it would cost as much or more as a cable tv with all the movie channel packages and people would be paying $120 plus a month. Unless Google could put tons of advertisements in it to substitute cost which everyone would gripe about.

  • Mauricio Sanchez

    As of now, I’m completely set with my Smart TV and my Chromecast. Although I will admit, this has the potential to be pretty awesome. As outdated as it sounds, if it offers USB video playback support, I’d probably consider it. The key here is Android though. Otherwise, it’s just another media box. Hangouts, being able to run our purchased apps on the big screen… if that’s possible, I can see why this would be appealing.

  • Brandon

    Hopefully older Google TV devices will be upgradable to Android TV because I just bought an Asus Cube for $30 and it’s still ricking Honeycomb apparently!

  • Chippah

    I have a the “last model” LG 3d Googletv.
    Sadly it looks like it will be abandoned by Google, Google dosent like abandonment.
    THEY LOVE IT!.

    Anyways. Microphone on TV remote for Google search access is awesome.
    (find – bla bla youtube. BOOM.)
    (history channel – BOOM)
    (top gear – BOOM, – Netflix, youtube, etc? )
    Amazone PRIME support..

    App called “serenity” will stream anything you throw at it via plex.
    it works great and is fast but lots of lost potential,
    plus it pisses me off that there is no miracast or chrome cast functionality built into native google tv..
    Make up yer fawkin minds already google, tired of being your beta tester..

    • A.J.

      I actually meant to buy that same TV from BestBuy.com, but I apparently didn’t read the specs close enough and when I went to pick it up, it was LG’s regular 3D Smart TV. I contemplated taking it back to get the GoogleTV version, but this was around the same time as the first rumors of AndroidTV and also LG had already shown their new Smart TVs with the new software at CES so I decided to just stick with what I had and now I’m glad I did.

    • David Carver

      Serenity is also now available for the Amazon Fire TV as well. The playback experience may not be as well, as on Google TV due to the limited codec support on the Fire TV but you can always use an external player with it as well.

  • Michael Johnson

    One potential differentiator not mentioned in this article is how Google intends for the primary interaction with Android TV to be a consolidated library & recommendations of shows, movies, and other media content from all of a user’s sources (Netflix, Hulu, Google Play, etc) in one place. Along with a stand-off-ish approach to actually using apps on the platform. This to me would be a pretty significant draw.

  • npompei

    So this may be nitpicky, but here goes:
    1. My old Vizio GTV – liked it, a bit clunky BUT it integrated into my cable and on the same input. So I really like being able to watch live tv and search, throw up a youtube video, etc. then get back fairly easily. For instance, to use my new Chromecast, I have to switch inputs. To me on my TV, that’s a massive PITA.
    2. Chromecast is great but again, I have to switch inputs
    3. If they could have Chromecast integrate in with the TV like GoogleTV did then I think they have a winner. To me that would be the best. I cannot stand switching inputs. If I could have a Google Now search laying overtop my cable then that would be perfect. And be able to stream from my phone at times as well, that’s perfect.
    Lets hope for no fragmentation… I know I know

    • Johnny Chingas

      The overlay is exactly why I still have my dinosaur Sony Google TV box. It may be riddled with other flaws but this feature works perfectly. Just hit the search button while watching TV and it displays results from the entire Web not just YouTube. Kind of crappy that updates and support are basically dead.. As I think it could be made so much better.

    • Colts5609

      I had two Vizio Co-Star’s die on me, first was covered by warranty, the 2nd was not. SO I gave up on Google TV and got a Chromecast. The cable TV pass through was a very nice feature and was also one of my favorite things about GTV. But GTV was extremely clunky and never really worked that well. I am ok with switching HDMI inputs, but I would like to see how Android TV integrates with Chromecast, or if it does at all.

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    The most important part is notifications. Use your imagination with nest and android@home. Maybe not in 2014 but eventually.

  • Cael

    Chromecast = Take anywhere; $35 dongle
    Android TV = Stays in one house basically; $99 (more than likely)

  • sr_erick

    “You already have Chromecast, Google, do we really need another box?” – Yes, we do need another box. I want something hard wired with Ethernet. I don’t want to always have my phone on me to stream content to a TV. I love Google TV as a platform but I wish there were more hardware backers and support from Google. My Revue is showing its age. It’s slow and crashes a lot. I like the pass through HDMI and the full keyboard / controller that controls my entire AV / home theater setup.

    • moelsen8

      i miss being able to use the google tv remote on my phone, and having that one remote that did it all. and searchable listings. that was nice. but man, the revue sucked. every few months mine would have some kind of crash, and the only way to get it back on and working again was a paperclip-induced factory reset. while it was in that state, you couldn’t watch tv unless you unplugged the cables to remove it from the chain. it was a major pain in the a$$. after a couple of those, i said F it.

  • John Davids

    Probably the single greatest reason the vast majority of people are still not picking up a Chromecast is lack of Amazon Prime support. I am sorry but if you do not have support for the big 3 (Netflix, Prime, Hulu), your hardware is not going to take off.

    • Steve B

      I assume Amazon was specifically avoiding Chromecast because they wanted to push their own streaming box?

    • http://www.baldypal.com/ BaldyPal

      I would venture a guess, that Google isn’t the one to blame for that. Amazon would be. And being that they compete against Google in that space now, Fire TV, I doubt it will ever come. I would even go so far as to say, I bet Google probably approached Amazon in the beginning and amazon said “no”. Just a guess.

      • John Davids

        That makes sense until you realize that Amazon Prime is on virtually every other platform EXCEPT Android. It is on Apple TV, iOS, Roku, most SMART TVs, browsers… hell it is on my Sony Bravia TV from 2008…so if the reasoning from Amazon is that they want to promote their own hardware platform by withholding support for Android…why do they seem totally OK with giving their streaming library to every OTHER competitor?

        This stinks to high heaven of collusion. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if in 2-5 years it comes out that Apple secretly paid Amazon a boatload of cash to withhold streaming support from Android. Apple didn’t have any problem working with publishers to price-fix e-books, why not streaming services? iOS was one of the very first platforms to get Amazon streaming support….hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…..

    • Raven65

      Kinda makes you wonder why Amazon sells the Chromecast (on sale today for $29.99 shipped, BTW).

  • http://www.failuretodream.com/ lostboardmayhem

    I have been waiting for a top box like this to replace my HTPC, I just hope it will have an optical output and they start offering surround sound on Google Play. I have only gotten the free movies/TV shows from them because stereo doesn’t cut it.

  • Cameron Laudick

    I think there is room for both. I still find myself going to my apple tv and this would be a nice replacement. Chromecast for me is just a dongle that if I want to throw something from my phone to my tv, I can. If I am browsing netflix, hulu, hbo, etc. – I use my apple tv.

  • AnotherAndroidKid

    What we need is a Chromecast with a 5GHz wifi. Why Roku is still the choice for me.

    • moelsen8

      yeah that would really be helpful for those of us who live urban and can see like 50+ routers in the immediate area.

    • T4rd

      Even better is a hard ethernet adapter. My TV/Chromecast is directly above my router and anything that’s not a laptop/phone/tab is hardwired on my network.

      • EC8CH

        This new device is probably Google’s answer for those customers who want higher specs like 5 GHz wifi and more port options like Ethernet.

        I think it will be a nice additional to their product line. Everyone already has these type of $99 boxes, so it makes sense for Google to offer one too. I still like my CC dongles that do basically everything I want for only $35 and that’s something no one else really has.

  • Jake

    How about they work with these developers to add more apps to Chromecast… The lack of support is pretty ridiculous.

    • Steve B

      Developers have all the tools they need. Their only hurdle is laziness.

    • Cael

      The developers are now free to use it as they please. It’s been opened.

  • teevirus

    Na I’m good. I already have a chromecast. I pay for Amazon prime as well but since I have a PS3 I can get access from my console to Prime video.

  • Godzilla

    Just expand Fiber EVERYWHERE, problem solved google

    • Arnold

      They would, but they have to get by the local municipalities.

      • OreoMan

        I live in Colorado. We can pass laws for marijuana and make my day (legally shooting someone entering your home in fear for you life) but can’t seem to allow Google Fiber in? Weird right!?

    • The Narrator

      This looks like Android Windows 8

  • BiggiePhat

    If i could find an all-in-one solution so i can mirror my macbook display to a tv but also be able to mirror my android devices as well i would be in business. There are only so many HDMI ports…

  • BiggiePhat

    Whats interesting to me is hangouts. Will they utilize the video call aspect of that?

    • Michael Johnson

      Of course…

      And yeah, to me, Hangouts will be one major draw here.

      • Craig P

        Where or what is the camera?

        • Matt

          You’d have to buy separate. Just bought a Samsung smart tv which has Skype loaded in the Social section. Requires a separate camera install. Though I’m kind of surprised Samsung hasn’t tried installing a front camera on any of their tvs yet.

          • Craig P

            You mean just like a USB webcam? Sounds kind of jank. I hope Google figures that one out.

          • geedee82

            Some of their high-end smart tv’s already come with cameras built in.

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    My thought is, “You already have Chromecast, Google, do we really need another box?”

    heh, typical Google. One department doesn’t keep up with the other. I’m sure they won’t be compatible and a year later we’ll be asking “Why is it taking them so long to just integrate chromecast”

  • http://droid-life.com/ Rthvk

    My guess is that Android TV will have Chromecast built right into it. You’ll have the big interface, and you can cast… But that could get f’d up quickly.

    f=fragmentation

    • teevirus

      I should hope it does have Chomcast built in. I have had one since launch and the most compelling feature for me is having people over and everyone playing their favorite youtube videos from from their phones.

    • http://www.SkyCapture.net/ Ian Smith

      you really stepped out on a limb for that guess. obviously, you will be able to Cast directly to this device

    • EC8CH

      It’s pretty obvious this will have the ability to cast. The only reason for getting this over the CC dongle is if you want the ability to play games or have an interface on the TV screen (neither of which appeal to me personally).

    • d-rock

      If Chromecast is built in and you can cast TO and FROM this device (basically a home portal for other TVs with chromecast), that would be ideal.

  • jeff manning

    Hell Yea