Google TV

App Cloud Dual Screen for Apple TV.

I haven’t pulled the trigger on Apple TV yet. I think it has a lot of promise, but the fact that you can’t run dedicated apps on it has held me back. I was hoping that Apple would introduce something like Google TV, which I do own and use on a regular basis with the last upgrade, but they didn’t. The latest upgrade to my Logitech Review Google TV box was a great step forward, but it can still be a bit clunky.

I found this video today from Jeremy Allaire at Brightcove demoing some new HTML 5 based applications for the iPad and Apple TV that shows great promise extending the Apple TV experience. I’m still not sold on Apple TV. but this gives me hope that someday it might become something I’d want to use.

Want… Finite Elemente Horizontal 51 iPhone Speaker Shelf.

My friend Stephan sent me an email last night about a number of iPhone accessories that he thought I should own, and out of all of them there is one I was really impressed with.

The Finite Elemente Horizontal 51 is a floating wall mounted shelf that contains an amplifier, iPhone/iPod dock, USB connector, and composite video output to connect to your TV, and a remote control port on the face so you can control your iPhone. This thing would be perfect if it had HDMI output for HD streaming to your flat screen TV set. The shelf contains two speakers with woofers on the underside of the shelf.

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The speakers are powered by two 50 watt amps with built in power overload protection. Those amps drive two speakers with a dynamic range of 50 – 25.000 Hz (-6 dB). Not huge specs, but good enough for light music listening in an office or small room environment.

Winner of a prestigious Red Dot best of the Best award for 2011, the Finite Elemente Horizontal 51, is well deserving. A simple, clean, elegant solution that lets you fill your house with portable music. The shelf itself can hold up to 55 pounds which is more than enough to hold all your nicknacks and or home theater AV gear.

While this isn’t a perfect solution, it’s a great start. I’d love to see built in WiFi with support for Airplay, HDMI input/outputs, with support for other devices. There is plenty of room on the back of this shelf to allow it to act like a home theater bridge between your iDevice, cable box, Google TV or Apple TVand so much more.

Google TV, Sigh…

At the Adobe Max conference last month I, along with every other attendee were told that we will be receiving a Logitech Review, Google TV box. We are supposed to receive them sometime this month, but I have no idea when.

When I first found out I’d be getting one of these I was thrilled. I have held out huge hopes for what Google TV could bring to the table, and how it could be the opening salvo in impending the “Cut the Cable” war. The problem is, all of the major networks see the potential Google TV brings, and it has them running scared. Before I say any more, I want to be clear and say that I am not looking for Google TV to bring the entire PC/browser web experience to my TV set. I am looking forward to the opportunity to engage in light browsing experiences, and use the service to time shift and place shift my content consumption.

Since the launch of Google TV, there has been a steady withdrawal, and blocking of streaming content from all the major networks, and today broadcast giant Viacom joined ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox blocking even more content. Along with the major networks, streaming service Hulu is unavailable as well. Are we beginning to see a pattern forming? I think we are.

The problem all boils down to money. The big networks like the revenue model that is in place with cable. The Cable companies, while hating to pay the big networks for popular TV shows, know that they need the big networks in order to remain viable. Both see Google TV as a revenue threat which might explain why they are working so hard to block streaming TV content o the device. It’s a shame because there is so much potential here.

Last week Walt Mossberg, and David Pogue both gave mediocre reviews of the Google TV service, and frankly you can’t blame them. Google TV is rather limited right now, in both applications that are ready for it, and services that are available for it. Both Pogue and Mossberg feel that it’s not ready, not finished, and not well-integrated. This is true. It is version 1.0 for all the hardware and software that is out. The setup isn’t as easy as Apple TV, and the lack of services hamper the experience.

“Google TV is trying to do a lot, which is admirable, but doesn’t quite pull it off in a way that’s easy or understandable or fluid, and it doesn’t actually fulfill all its promises.” Walt Mossberg.

I am still holding out hope. I am hoping that Google can work out streaming content deals with all the major networks. I’m hoping that in the next few months as Google TV arrives on more sets, and on stand alone boxes that application developers will begin to create applications that truly extend the experience Google TV could offer. I’m ready for convergence. I’m ready to cut the cable. I’m ready for more than Twitter, Facebook, Netflix, Flickr, and Pandora, etc.

In the long run Google TV and services like it are the future of how we engage with our TV sets. At the Adobe MAX conference I heard in a session that by 2020 65% of all media will be consumed via streaming to a device like Google TV, rather than through traditional broadcast channels. That translates to 30 plus hours of media a week, per person, worldwide. That alone should be enough to convince the big four broadcasters to embrace this technology.