Friday, May 21, 2010

Choice, according to Google

I've been following the latest announcements from Google I/O and reading responses from across the web to the news about Google TV. It's definitely a compelling product, and should provide some drive for the rest of the industry to get their act together.

For the record, I'm a self proclaimed Google fanboy. I've been preaching Domain Apps since they launched. I truly believe Google is building the foundation of the future of the web, and doing so in a relatively open and flexible manner. Shit, this post is even running on Blogger...

But something about how Google has positioned the TV product doesn't sit right with me. Maybe it's the smug tone of their announcements, or the statements about how they're different from Apple, or the dire warning about an Orwellian future (seriously?).

Frankly, what they're talking about doesn't sound a whole lot different than what's already on the market today. Here's a rundown of the details, in case you missed them...

  • Buy a TV from Sony exclusively -or- Buy a set top box from Logitech exclusively
  • Buy these devices at Best Buy exclusively
  • Get a DISH subscription (only with a DISH subscription do you get the full features of the Google TV experience)

So let's recap...
  • 2 device manufacturers, but only one for each type of device
  • 1 place to buy all the hardware
  • 1 TV subscription service to get all available features

Here are the issues I have with this arrangement:

  • Hardware: I haven't been interested in Sony hardware for 5 years. Maybe this will change that, but I don't have a lot of confidence. Back in the day I used to love them (I even still own a 10-year-old Sony CRT that sits in the basement currently, and still works great), but Sony products seem to suffer from the same 'brand tax' that plagues Apple. (Logitech, on the other hand, I love. I have a Harmony remote and other Logitech devices, so this could be a saving grace.)
  • Place of Purchase: Best Buy? Personally I hate setting foot in those stores. The service is poor and the employees aren't what I would consider 'knowledgeable'.
  • Satellite TV: I'm a Comcast subscriber, for a few simple reasons. First and foremost, they carry the Portland Trailblazers basketball broadcasts. There's no other provider who can show 70+ games out of the Blazers season. I know this isn't something that Google has control over, but there's no way I'm taking DISH over my home team. They also provide what I consider to be pretty good Internet's not perfect, but it's a hell of a lot better than DSL.

Can someone point out the choices here? Because I'm having a hard time finding them.

Here's some real choice...
A Mac mini plugged into my TV running Boxee or Plex. Or maybe MythTV on a Linux VM. I guess I could give Windows 7 a shot on a different VM, or in Boot Camp. Or maybe I'll just use a web browser and go where I want, when I want....or maybe...

Oh sorry, was that too many choices?

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