Google do many things right. They still have the most comprehensive online search engine and their Android operating system is taking the world by storm. But for every success story there has to be a product sitting in the shadows, failing to excite customers.
Google TV was expected to be in everyone's living room in a very short period of time. The software which is available in Logitech's Revue set top box and Sony HDTV's allows the user to stream content from services such as Netflix over the Web. It can also give people access to the Internet and to control a PVR. Technically it is a fine achievement which looks great on paper.
Reports are circulating in the Far East that Google have actually asked companies not to talk about Google TV products at CES. Additionally Google have asked Logitech to freeze production of the Revue box, saying it is best waiting for the new software update. Sadly, no one seems to care and sales figures we hear are far from positive.
Again, rumours persist that Apple TV is dominating this market which is interesting on a couple of levels. Firstly, Apple TV in its newest guise has only sold over 1 million units, which isn't that big a number. If this is leading the market, then perhaps the market just isn't there in the first place. There is also the point that Google TV has a lot of potential but that many people will move to their laptop or tablet for internet rich features. The pricing also seems to be excessively high to us, $299 for the Logitech Revue for instance could be putting a lot of people off a possible purchase.
On the development side, the developer kit still hasn't arrived and the applications wont appear until next year. This added incentive for a purchase has yet to appear and customers might be put off by the lack of application support via the platform.
We spoke to several readers recently and they said that they wouldn't spend $299 for Google TV until it supported more platforms such as Hulu Plus. They also said that until the device lets them access video from network Web sites then they find the platform very limited.
Sadly, additional problems have arisen from networks who are blocking Google TV's access to their shows. There are complex licensing issues involved and it might be that this never gets resolved. If you want to watch a variety of free content on the net, then Google TV just isn't delivering the goods.
Those who have bought the device seem equally unimpressed, with many forum threads across the net detailing unhappy customers, unsatisfied with the support and diversity of media on offer.
KitGuru says: Perhaps 2011 will change this, but for now, we would hold fire on parting with any cash. It needs wider support to prove a truly useful purchase.