What is Google TV?
Latest news for Google TVGoogle TV is Google’s smart TV platform. Based on Android, the idea of Google TV is to bring access to on-demand entertainment in the form of movies, TV episodes, YouTube and games into the living room.
As Google TV is Android-based, one of the strengths of the platform is that you’ll be able to log in with your Google Account – the same as you’d do on a new Android phone or tablet – and be able to access things like Gmail, Google Maps and broswe the web on your TV.
This means that you can get hold of your Google Docs and Google Music through your TV, making it potentially useful for showing off presentations, turning your TV into an ad-hoc workstation or an entertainment centre, streaming music for a party or watching movies.
Like Freeview and Freesat, with Google TV there’s the option to buy either an exterior box which plugs into your existing TV set, or an integrated all-in-one Google TV.
Google TV devices like Sony’s NS7-GSZ plug directly into your TV set and require a connection (via Ethernet or wireless) to your router.
The LG Google TV is an integrated smart TV with the Google TV software built in and ports for connecting to the internet.
Like any ‘smart’ device out there, an internet connection is needed to power features like Google Play’s on-demand movies and the web browser.
What’s on Google TV?
Right now there’s not a huge array of content available for Google TV. It’s a relatively new platform and there’s only a few Google TV devices out there.
The Guardian’s early look at its Google TV app gives us a taste of the future and app developer Novoda shared its thoughts on the shape of Google TV to come at IPTV World Forum 2012 back in March.
So we can expect Google TV apps for things like Netflix, CNBC, IMDB, Crunchyroll, the Guardian and similar news and entertainment portals in the coming years.
How much does Google TV cost?
In the UK, the Sony NSZ-GS7 Google TV is available to buy now for £199.
Later this month, the Sony NSZ-GS9 Google TV will be launching first in the US with a release in the UK planned shortly after. The Sony NSZ-GS9 is virtually identical to the NSZ-GS7, but comes with a Blu-ray slot and is expected to cost £280.
The LG Google TV, which can switch from 2D to 3D, isn’t due out in the UK until 2013. Costing $1,499 for the 55-inch version, this works out at roughly £930 based on current conversion rates. A UK price hasn’t been announced yet so it may be more or less than this.
- Google TV is dead, long live Android TV?
- CES 2013 – Netgear NeoTV Prime comes with Google TV, BBC iPlayer and Lovefilm
- CES 2013 – LG expands TV range but no UK date set
- Google Play films and TV land on UK Google TVs
- USA Sony NS7-GSZ gets Google Play films and telly
The latest addition to Netgear’s range of streaming players will feature services such as Amazon Instant Video and HBO Go in its native US, but will likely feature the UK equivalent versions of services like Netflix and Crackle.
The NeoTV Prime supports Full HD 1080p, digital surround over HDMI (5.1 sound pass-through and stereo).
Connectivity wise there’s an HDMI loop through (two ports, one in and one out), a USB 2.0 port for connecting external hard drive, a standard Ethernet port and a WiFi radio (B, G and N) with support for WEP, WPA and WPA2 encryption.
A healthy range of video and audio formats can be played from hard drives connected via USB including MPG (MPEG1, MPEG2) AVI (XVID, MPEG4, MPEG2) MOV (H.264, MJPG) WMV (VC1) m2ts (H.264, MPEG2), MP4 (H.264), WMV (WMV3), MKV (H.264).
As well as this, the NeoTV Prime is compatible with home media servers. Using the aVia media player app on NeoTV Prime, you should be able to access media from any of your storage devices on your network.
Another neat trick of the NeoTV Prime is the ability to sling YouTube videos found on your Android phone or tablet to the big screen from the couch.
With the latest version of YouTube for Android (4.2.16) you should see a TV icon on your phone when you’re watching a video and connected to your home WiFi network (which you’d have your NeoTV Prime connected to as well). Tapping this will instantly sling the video from the phone to your TV screen, Wii U GamePad style.
Mobile interoperability doesn’t end there either. There’s smart remote apps for iOS and Android device that let you turn your phone into a remote control. If you’d rather not use these, you’ve got the option of using the peripheral which comes bundled with the NeoTV Prime. This is a dual-sided remote with a full Qwerty on one side and standard controls plus shortcut keys for Lovefilm, Netflix and the rest.
The NeoTV Prime is confirmed to be coming to the UK, but there’s no release date available and nor is there a price just yet. In the States, the NeoTV Prime is going for $129.99 (£80).
January 15, 2013
LG will boost its Google TV range to two models in five screen sizes in 2013, but it’s only promising ‘later’ for a UK launch.
The premium GA7900 Cinema Screen and standard GA6400 models will use the latest Google TV 3.0 operating system, with a look inspired by LG’s own updated 2013 Smart TV look.
These include the Home Dashboard with customisable My Interest cards where you can group together apps; while the OnLive gaming app will be pre-installed.
There’s also a Magic Qwerty Remote, updated with improved voice search, point and click control, and a complete keyboard.
“LG is committed to providing diverse home entertainment options that offer the most satisfying user experience and the latest LG Smart TVs with Google TV do just that,” said Havis Kwon, president and CEO of the LG Electronics Home Entertainment Company, told International CES 2013.
“They deliver a stellar user experience by merging the latest Google TV platform with LG’s proven Smart TV technology. The result is a comprehensive system that is groundbreaking in its simplicity.”
Screen sizes are 42, 47, 50, 55 and 60in for the GA6400 model, and 47in and 55in for the premium GA7900 Cinema Screen model.
On launch dates, LG adds that they ‘will roll out to the rest of the EU at a later date’.
US users also get access to the PrimeTime quick guide with voice search, which can search through more than 100,000 broadcast and on-demand films and TV episodes, although it’s not known if this will cross the Atlantic.
As with LG’s other 2013 Smart TVs, the Google TV models also have dual-core processors and the TruPicture XD Engine for picture enhancements, plus 3D.
January 3, 2013
Google Play movies and TV downloads are finally coming on Google TVs in the UK and Europe.
Arriving on Google TV’s like the Sony NS7-GSZ tomorrow, you’ll be able to download films and TV episodes from as little as £1.49. The average price of a rental actually works out at £3.49 but there are occasionally cheaper prices.
Once you’ve bought a film or episode you’ve got it for 30 days, and you’ve got a 48 hour viewing window once you start watching.
Alternatively, if your TV has an HDMI socket, you can connect your laptop or Android phone or tablet and access movie downloads on Google Play that way.
November 13, 2012
Sony’s NS7-GSZ, aka the Sony Google TV, can finally access Google Movies and TV via the Google Play app.
It seems like a no-brainer to us that a Google smart TV platform would launch with access to Google’s own on-demand movies and TV service, but there you go. The first iPhone launched without cut and paste or 3G – it’s called ‘early adopter syndrome’.
The good news is that the wait now is over as those with an NS7-GSZ can finally tune in to on-demand movies. One of the big plusses of Google Movies and TV is that you can pay to rent them first on your Android phone or tablet in preparation for watching them later at home.
When renting movies through Google Play, you’ve got a 30-day period during which you can watch a film, and 48 hours to finish watching after you’ve started.
There’s a slight sting in the tail for UK viewers or, non-US users to be exact. Right now, it’s only Stateside peeps who can rent TV episodes from Google Play on their NS7-GSZ’s.
October 1, 2012