Ronnie05's Blog

Smart-TVs: Spotting a new category!

Posted in TV and Digital Entertainment by Manas Ganguly on January 6, 2011

With Microsoft announcing the extension of Media centre into Windows Set Top box (Windows TV), it joins its traditional rivals Apple and Google in the Digital Home space domain. The flipside is $200 cost: Unless Microsoft is able to convince its consumers with its software ability to fuse TV, Internet and other domains, it will be a difficult price to justify especially when Apple retails at $99.

Apple already has an established advantage having crossed the 1 million sales mark for Apple TV last Christmas. Apparently, people really want to buy a new box to watch Internet video on their TV sets. Now that Apple has established its 1 million base, the next best thing that Apple would offer would be an Apps Store for its Apple TV. That is vintage Apple stuff, innovating and going to the market the fastest, establishing a lead, innovating on the product and extending base even further. Did we not see it happen in Smartphones. The $99 price and Apple’s proven capability to integrate experience across a range of connected devices along with its first mover advantage will be big gains for Big Apple! The addition of an Apple TV App Store would be a major catalyst for Apple’s progress into the living room. Apple is reported working on a HDTV with 3D capabilities within the next 2 year horizon.

Google TV on the other hand has been a flop so far. The digital living room is far from figured out — even Apple failed on its first attempt — and Google has a big incentive to try and make something work. Google could take lessons from its smartphone success: make the Google TV, the default operating system for plethora of digital TV devices. Google TV already has tie ups from Sony and Logitech and it would need to take the technology to Samsung, Toshiba, LG, Vizio and more. Perhaps the TV divisions of LG and Samsung have learned from their colleagues in the mobile phone divisions that there’s no need to rely on their crappy, proprietary software platforms, when good, open-source alternatives like Android are available.

So that’s the opportunity for Google TV: It could either become the de facto operating system for consumer electronics and succeed as the Android for TVs and set-top boxes, or it could crash and burn. However, Google will need to look at the $250 pricing for its Gen 1 TVs which don’t quite stand a chance versus Apple!.

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