Rumours are flying at the moment that a Smart TV platform will be announced this week, which should see Google teaming up with Sony and Intel to bring us a new way of browsing the internet on our TVs.
The TVs (possibly but almost certainly) sold by Sony are likely to feature Intel chips running Google’s Android platform. Android has been successfully applied to many makes of mobile phones since it was launched last year and this would seem a natural progression for the open-source platform. For those not aware, Android is a simple operating system made by Google which encourages independent developers to create applications for consumers, in a similar way to Apple’s AppStore for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.
Sony TV owners may have been disappointed to hear recently that the AppliCast™ feature on their sets will be discontinued. This Smart TV announcement may explain Sony’s AppliCast™ move, although many users won’t be able to justify buying a new TV just for built-in internet browsing. The new Smart TV sets will have to feature innovative Android applications built by the growing developer base to really entice customers.
Could this be a direct competitor to Apple TV? Well, depending on the applications built for the Smart TVs, it should beat Apple TV hands down. Many TVs already have the ability to stream videos and show photos over a network or via USB. Apple TV doesn’t even allow for custom applications to be installed or provide internet browsing, which a Smart TV looks capable of handling comfortably. Of course, it doesn’t look like a hard drive will be added to the TV for you to store files (which Apple TV includes) but these days consumers are happy to stream content from websites and their PCs.
As consumers buy the latest consoles to attach to their TVs, the internet is already built-in and available to browse. Some consumers even already have multimedia PCs alongside their TVs too. Will a Sony Smart TV with internet browsing and Android applications really be able to persuade the population to buy the new TV, when these functions are already available on your Wii, PS3 or Media PC? You can’t help feeling it is too little too late for this software on a TV but with the internet giant’s backing it could create a stir.
With HD, 3D and now Internet on your TV sets, what will the next progression be for TV? Will computers and TVs be one and the same thing in years to come? It seems the natural progression would be a PCTV. Gone will be the days of browsing on your laptop whilst watching TV!
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