So I have had my GTV running for the last couple of weeks and overall I am extremely pleased with it. As I mentioned in my last post, I was hoping to drop my cable service once I had my Google TV, but as you will read that isn't really an option just yet.
Knowing that this is a Google product and the first two manufacturers of the device are Logitech and Sony (Sony has it built in to some of their TV's and also a stand alone Blu Ray player) made this a no-brainer for me. This is the first generation of Google TV and they are entering waters that no one has been before - sure their is Apple TV and Roku and other devices that do similar things but mainly they are separate from the TV experience. Like when you want to switch from watching cable TV to a DVD, you switch devices and that is how the competition does it. What I like about GTV is that it is running with your TV experience.
So how does that actually work with it running with your TV? Pretty well in theory... but the major TV networks and Hulu are causing it to be frustrating for the moment. All of the major networks (except for FOX for right now) are blocking GTV from accessing their content online. They - NBC, CBS and ABC all have full episodes available online that you can watch from a computer... just not your Google TV. The reason is all about money. The networks are afraid that if you can get your fix of House or American Idol online then you wont watch regular TV anymore - and that is where the advertising dollar is at a premium. Their short-sided fear isn't gaining them any friends nor is it solving that problem. It is only delaying it... but that would be a whole separate story!
So what can you do with your Google TV? You can watch full episodes on the websites of other networks - like TNT or TBS or others - check out this story about a pretty full list of sites: http://gigaom.com/video/shows-you-can-watch-for-free-with-google-tv-2
You can also stream music from Pandora or Napster and have it play in the background while you browse the Internet. GTV has a full browser built-in and it gives basically the same experience that you get from a computer with the benefit of having it right on your TV! That is one of the best features for me and I use it a lot! You can also have your live TV program in a small box at the same time so you can still watch your show while you use other applications in Google TV. Those applications are just a handful right now but will explode next year when developers release apps specific for GTV. For right now you have Pandora, Napster, CNBC, Twitter, NBA Game Time and Netflix. If you don't have a Netflix account - get one! The amount of available content that you can watch instantly and with it being integrated into Google TV makes it a stand out feature. Once you have your Instant Queue set up just go the Netflix app, select the show or movie you want to watch and within a few seconds it will begin playing and it looks fantastic!!
The whole experience just works for me. It is kind of quirky at times and it isn't something that I could get for my Mom and expect her to "get it"... at least not yet. I think the reason for that is because this device is so new and innovative that no one, not even Google, is sure exactly how this will grow. I truly believe that Google knows they have work to do and are keeping a close eye on how things progress with the early adopters like me. I can't reduce or drop my cable service yet but I believe over time that will change. There just isn't enough network shows online yet. I think if anyone can figure out a way to get the networks to open up their content, it's Google. And everyone will benefit, the networks, Google, and us the end-users!
The possibilities are endless now, and our TV experience has changed forever for the better. So if you have a Google TV, let me know how its going for you, or if you are thinking of buying one and have questions just let me know!
And happy couch surfing!