Google TV UK Launch Coming Soon

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

Google TV to hit UK shores within 6 months:

With the US launch of Google TV last October, the service and device was expected to be available in the UK late last year also, however the updated schedule now for the UK arrival is within 6 months, so some time in late winter or early spring of 2012 seems to be the best guess.

How does Google TV (GTV) work?

Google TV works on the set top box principle which is connected to your TV and internet, this then allows users with an internet connection access to a multitude of services from traditional TV networks right through to catch up services online from video hosting sites such as YouTube which Google obviously own, and in the UK this will include online catch up services such as iPlayer and ITV player.

Smartphone or voice activation acts as remote control if desired:

Once connected, users are able to switch between watching content on the traditional TV and Internet with one click, access to services such as TV guides will also be controlled by a remote control, and this can come in the form of a voice activated command or a smartphone with a Google TV application running on it that turns the device into a smart remote control.

This is distinctly different from watching TV on your computer obviously.

The Edinburgh film festival seems likely to be the venue that will hear of the news in more detail, when Eric Schmidt the executive chairman of Google will address the crowd.

Google TV
Google TV

HD YouTube service to be available:

It is highly likely that with broadband speeds increasing on average each year, Google will include a special HD version of YouTube that can be accessed via GTV (Google TV) boxes, whether this will be true HD or more likely a highly compressed version remains to be seen.

Android O/S will be the software behind the Google set top box and Chrome will be the browser of choice to browse the Internet, there will also be access to applications for download that may offer services such as previews, TV guides and perhaps even greater connectivity with live shows.

It seems likely that the new Google TV developers platform will pave the way for much more integration of applications to the user experience and will tie in nicely if all goes to plan for the UK arrival.

Content issues in the US – Will the UK have the same problems:

The US film, music and TV industry is not particularly known for looking forward in current digital times especially if it’s power is under threat. And while the US do produce some excellent examples of TV dramas (HBO) and have a plethora of high production value news, comedy and drama networks and production houses and access to a huge film industry, the disappointing fact for Google is that US networks have not been particularly keen to jump on board this new technology.

Why? Most likely for fear of losing control of an unknown distribution model compared to the traditional current models that are both trusted and measurable avenues for content distribution and monetisation, with associated advertising revenues that shareholders and account teams keep close tabs on.

The UK industry is quite a different beast. Known for its more diverse output, and resting on publicly funded institutions like the BBC and Channel 4, the TV industry in the UK is lead by innovation for the people much more than the largely corporate US TV industry which is lead more by profit and margins. This unfortunately for most American citizens leads to fairly sub standard viewing experience and a hell of a lot of ad breaks unless you opt for paid services such as HBO which are in another league and almost lead the way in quality production values, casting and creativity globally.

Contacts already signed in the UK:

It appears that signed contracts with both Channel 4 and 5 and inherent access to BBC iPlayer and ITV player (two free to access services developed to watch TV online) will be major draws for people when it comes to choosing Google TV.

Schmidt has spoken more openly about the opportunities that the UK television industry seems to be presenting to Google:

“I have always been a profound optimist about the potential for technology to improve people’s lives – though I am also a realist and understand it can be immensely disruptive in the process. So I look forward to discussing the opportunities and challenges ahead for the TV industry in Edinburgh.”

Google’s recent acquisition of Motorola and Sage TV could mean new technology for the UK:

With Google taking over Motorola mobility earlier this week, the options to manufacture a new set top box have increased, so there could be a new rethink to how Google deliver there IPTV services.

So all things considered, what are your thoughts on Google TV, an unnecessary box in the corner of the room, or a new revolution bringing a potentially more connected TV viewing experience to the masses?

Anthony Munns