Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas came early: my Google TV arrived at 7pm tonight

Setting it up took 45 minutes because it immediately downloaded a new version of the OS when I set up the wireless Internet connection. I use Directv and it synced up with my DVR and Sony TV with no problems. The keyboard is nice, with a trackpad and mouse button top right corner. It is much nicer using the keyboard rather than the remote for Directv guide and DVR control.

I have experimented with writing Android cellphone apps with the SDK and now I want to try some HTML 5 apps for both the Android cellphones and Google TV. Fun! I had a consulting job two years ago writing some Java blu-ray example apps and the development environment for that was, frankly, painful. Both Android and Google TV seem much more developer-friendly.

You personalize Google TV by logging into your Google/GMail/Apps account. I had to enter my account information multiple times for Youtube.com and Picasa photo albums. There are some wrinklles to iron out but the platform has a lot of promise.

We watched part of a Netflix movie on demand and it looked good. I have a Hulu Plus account but when I went to Hulu I got a pop up dialog warning me that Hulu is building out for Plus access on Google TV. I am looking forward to that because Hulu Plus is a pretty good service. Along with all of the Directv and Netflix material, it seems like there is an infinite amount of good stuff to watch.

A few improvements I look forward to:
  • When looking at my Picasa photo albums it seemed like the Google TV did not cache-ahead very well. I would like a picture to stay on screen until the next one is ready.
  • When watching one of my wife's documentaries for a charity she helps, Youtube playback was pretty good because we uploaded a fairly lowres video to Youtube and it played back smoothly. I then tried one of my videos on Youtube that was fairly hires and there were too many pauses for buffering. Also, if I paused the video it did not seem to buffer ahead like on my laptop.
I am very excited with the Google TV platform and I thank Google for giving me a free Logitech unit. I am not always good at predicting which nacent technologies succeed in the marketplace but to me, at least, the Android platform and the Google TV built on very similar technology show a lot of promise.

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