After predictions that Apple will take the smart TV market by storm in future months, it may be no surprise to learn that Google has this week unveiled its latest foray into the television market, with the release of a new set-top box that provides online services.
The search giant has partnered with Sony to develop the latest web-based TV technology using Google’s Android software, a platform originally developed for smartphones. Viewers will now have the opportunity to watch live TV whilst switching between apps like Facebook and Twitter as well as a range of video on demand sites. In addition, Google aims to bring the internet more comprehensively into the living room with easy access to email, Wikipedia and news websites.
However, concerns have been expressed surrounding the cost of the new product in comparison to Google’s potential competitors in the market. The rather expensive price tag comes in at between £200 and £300 – a considerable amount more than Apple’s £99 set-top box – with Google’s rationale based upon an offering that provides greater access to the internet from a television than anyone else.
So how will Google perform in the robust television market? Recent years have seen the company struggle to achieve real success in the US, with an alarming rate of unsatisfied customers returning its TV products to the store. But will things differ in the UK? Google has proven to be tough competition for the Apple iPad already this year after the launch of their Nexus 7 tablet in June, but this has little bearing on how it may fare in the world of web-enabled TV. In fact, much may depend on how customers view the Google offering against the larger price tag.
MEC opinion: The price of Google’s smart TV option is most certainly high compared to its competitors – and at this stage it’s difficult to justify this much higher price tag. We appear to live in a time where ‘the latest technological phenomenon’ happens every month, so is this the real deal?
It is obvious that consumers highly value their interaction with Facebook, Twitter and the like, so the technology certainly has the tools to succeed. However, as the world becomes more and more dominated by technology – do we really need a piece of equipment that combines all of this for use with our television?