Friday, 29 June 2012

Will Google TV learn the lessons from 2010 launch?

Sony and Google have got together to launch Google TV beyond North America for the first time. It’s an interesting development and another reason why 2012 has become the year of connected TV devices. Whilst it’s an exciting development for consumers, people may still be a little wary about investing in the product given the reputation Google TV garnered when it first launched in the US.

When it launched in the US in 2010, Google TV had its share of critics. The initial release was derided for being too expensive, and perhaps more importantly several TV networks blocked the service from access to its content. Google’s launch partner, Logitech, pulled out after an unsuccessful launch, CEO Guerrino De Luca later told investors that launching on "beta" software was "a mistake of implementation of a gigantic nature" the software simply wasn’t ready for commercial deployment.

The UK launch, which will also be rolled out in Canada, Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Brazil and Mexico in the coming months sees Sony provide the hardware. We saw some early implementations at CES in January. Consumers will be able to browse the internet, play games and access other applications as well as watching TV. There appears to be a limited amount of European TV content available at launch, which, as we saw in the US may prove to be a barrier.

It remains to be seen how the device, called the NSZ-GS7, will fair. However, with plans to launch a Blu-ray version at £300 later this year, it suggests Google and Sony are going to be throwing their considerable marketing weight behind it. The encouraging thing for all of us in the industry is that the connected TV market continues to grow.

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