Saturday, December 11, 2010

Google TV

I love my Macs but it will be a long time before I spend more than a few minutes watching a TV show or movie on one. This past Black Friday our household made the leap into internet TV's, specifically the Sony Internet TV aka Google TV. Having used it for about two weeks, I can see why people don't get it but I love it.

Cost is still king when it comes to HDTV's and this is the Google TV's biggest downfall. For a 1080p set that only sports a 60Hz refresh rate (thankfully for me, not for most), it's quite a pricey set. This is also assuming there is no cost related to the software installed on the TV. This particular TV runs Android 2.1 that is heavily customized for the TV experience. I personally think you get quite the bang for the buck but shoppers so far have not agreed. Google TV is being called a flop although the Android Marketplace hasn't even made it's debut on Google TV. Things will change after that.

The TV looks fine although it seems to have the typical Sony "noise". Anybody who has ever shot photos with a Sony DSLR knows what I mean. Sony sensors do not seem to handle low ISO environments very well and images tend to appear grainy from a cable connection. Blu-ray's seem ok playing off of a PS3.
If you're looking for the absolute best picture quality, the Sony Internet TV is not for you.

As far as applications are concerned, Google TV has most of the major apps included. Pandora, Chrome and Netflix come pre-installed. One big minus is the lack of Hulu Plus. Hulu also blocks Google TV from playing content via the browser. Google has a long way to go to work out deals with Hulu so I would not expect it anytime soon. The Netflix app itself is horrible. You can only view your instant queue and playback is sketchy at best. Even with my 25mbps download connection I could barely keep a connection long enough to watch more than a few minutes. Hopefully a software update will fix this. Applications on the Google TV are disappointing.

Being my usual early adopter self, I can take a lot of bugs and glitches without letting it affect my judgement. That being said, I would only recommend Google TV to those willing to wait a few months for the Android Marketplace to come to it. In the meantime, buy a cheaper HDTV and a netbook for the same cost.