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back to article Google brings HD sneezing pandas to UK: But why?

Google's TV venture has been an expensive flop so far – and proved catastrophic for partner Logitech. But can new, flashier hardware and a better delivery path make a difference? We'll be able to find out when the service is launched in the UK on 16 July. Founding partner Sony provides the new hardware. The NSZ-GS7 is a bundle …

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Silver badge

Yebbut, nobut...

You can also see it as a way for manufacturers to outsource the often terrible UIs and remote controls. Take the user part of the OS out of the telly and give it an API. Control all the house's telly with one device and incidentally make wireless streaming between devices even easier. After all this is what Apple TV does.

I can see people going for the remote alone on this. While I like my Philips remote control and DNLA works pretty well, it's useless for searching: while music has bands, albums and genres films are just one long list.

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Re: Yebbut, nobut...

The terms 'DLNA' and 'works pretty well' do not belong on the same thread.

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Thumb Up

"Rather than using its muscle to fix the broken supply chain, as Apple did, Google is designing its hardware and content around it. Which isn't adding value, or solving any problems, but really more along the lines of putting lipstick on a pig. ®"

Most sensible analysis I've seen in a long time. If Google threw money at solving the content problem this sort of expensive box might work. As it is, who wants to spend £200 to watch YouTube on a big screen?

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Gold badge

Spend the cash on a PS3 and you get so much more. Blu-ray and film services. Why would anyone throw £200 at this?

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Alien

"Today an increasing number of homes subscribe to..."

...The Pirate Bay.

And I don't mean that as a joke.

Here's the problem: The Content® is utter crap, and neither Google nor Apple can fix it. It has a marketable value of absolute zero, and therefore no one wants to pay for it, naturally.

No amount of new gizmos or services will ever solve that problem. We need fresh ideas, talented writers, and producers who are willing to cater to something other than American adolescents the lowest common denominator.

Mark Harris' "The Day the Movies Died" pretty much sums up the issues (equally applicable to TV).

Here's a taste:

"So here's what's on tap two summers from now: an adaptation of a comic book. A reboot of an adaptation of a comic book. A sequel to a sequel to an adaptation of a comic book. A sequel to a reboot of an adaptation of a TV show. A sequel to a sequel to a reboot of an adaptation of a comic book. A sequel to a cartoon. A sequel to a sequel to a cartoon. A sequel to a sequel to a sequel to a cartoon. A sequel to a sequel to a sequel to a sequel to a movie based on a young-adult novel. And soon after: Stretch Armstrong. You remember Stretch Armstrong, right? That rubberized doll you could stretch and then stretch again, at least until the sludge inside the doll would dry up and he would become Osteoporosis Armstrong? A toy that offered less narrative interest than bingo?"

When somebody starts making well-written dramas for grown-ups again, that actually have a real story, and aren't just mindless gibberish targeted at brain-dead American children, I'll consider paying for it, and not one moment sooner.

If the Media MAFIAA® expended half as much effort producing worthwhile content, as they currently waste chasing fictional "pirates", that might actually happen, but I'm not holding my breath.

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Re: "Today an increasing number of homes subscribe to..."

> Here's the problem: The Content® is utter crap, and neither Google nor Apple can fix it. It has a marketable value of absolute zero, and therefore no one wants to pay for it, naturally.

Other than all the homes which have Sky. And Virgin. I accept that _you_ don't want to pay for it, but B-Sky-B's profits were up despite drop in ad revenues last year, which implies _someone_ wants to pay for it.

(P.S. I don't want to pay for it either, but lets keep rants based in fact or you just look like another troll and become background noise).

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Re: "Today an increasing number of homes subscribe to..."

Think you totally missed the point.

People are "happy" to pay for football,crickets, F1, movies, new shows, music and other professionally made content.

People are not happy to pay £200 for happy slapping, fluffy cat videos and wannabefamoustalentlessmorons (as opposed to alreadyfamoustalentlessmorons(TM)).

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Coat

Re: "Sky and Virgin"

Most people I know who subscribe to Sky or Virgin, do so mainly for the phone and broadband packages (apparently Sky is a fairly decent ISP, from what others tell me). The TV component initially sounds like a nice bonus, in theory, but turns out to be 700 channels of mostly unwatchable crap.

I should know. I was a Sky subscriber for years, until I realised it was just out of habit, apathy and wishful thinking, I had no interest in any of the garbage Sky TV offered, but I was wasting nearly 50 squid a month for nothing of any value whatsoever. Eventually I just gave up watching TV altogether, then cancelled my subscription.

It seems to be a common trend in this era of junk television. There are far more interesting ways to entertain oneself these days, such as watching paint dry, for example.

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Trollface

Voice-powered Blu-Ray?

Do I have to talk all the way through the movie then?

Sounds like hard work!

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Re: Voice-powered Blu-Ray?

Hopefully it can cope with hearing someone in the film saying 'stop' or 'eject'...

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Facepalm

Re: Voice-powered Blu-Ray?

"Do I have to talk all the way through the movie then?"

My mother-in-law is already well practised at this....

I can only imagine what effect she might have on a voice powered Blu-Ray player.

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Expensive?

Roku2 is max. £100. And seems to do much the same (if not more). I've not tried either though, so could be completely wrong, just going by specs.

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Facepalm

£200 to replicate the functionality of both my TV and my Blu-ray player

(and most likely my PVR, when I get round to replacing my now defunct BT box)? Ooh, yes please!

Sarcasm aside, if this had a decent interface (both my TV and Blu-ray player have fairly clunky interfaces, and sit firmly in the "watch a YouTube video once and never touch it again" camp) AND PVR capability, I might be interested. But it doesn't even have a tuner, so far as I can make out, so what's the bloody point?

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Go

Many TV manufacturers have made their own 'Smart TV' platforms, this is just another.

Hopefully it is better usability-wise than any of the others.

IMHO it is much better to have a common platform that can run the user's choice of apps than each manufacturer have their own platform with a tiny selection of apps requiring more effort to build.

Also IMHO it's better to have the 'smart' in a different box to the 'screen'. 'Smarts' get smarter quickly and so can justify an upgrade whereas screens generally do not.

RE 'content', Google have never suggested that they are in the TV-content business, can't really compare it to 'Project Canvas'.

The box runs apps from people who do - Netflix, Plex etc. - the Chrome browser has a decent Flash implementation, runs iPlayer etc. just fine.

So better than most 'Smart TV' platforms then.

The leg-up it does have is a global search - start typing the name of a show and it finds it across live TV listings, online services and your PVR.

If only Sony had included a dual-tuner Freeview+...

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Anonymous Coward

When it inevitably flops -

- I'll look for one on eBay to use as an XBMC box.

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Trollface

'Google also announced a voice-powered BluRay player for launch later in the year.'

So, if you've got a wife, it'll never turn off.

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Anonymous Coward

Yet another Google failure. How long before they ditch this one?

Apple TV is £99 and many don't see the point of it. So a Google TV box costing twice as much needs to be pretty special. Yet it lacks so much in terms of content.

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Look deeper

Marvell Armada 1500 SoC - with QDEO video processing and frame rate conversion.

QDEO is used in £500-£800 Blu-ray players.

Android (Honeycomb).

If it's not locked down this would make a mean media player, hit Popcornhour, Dune, WDTV etc. right where it hurts.

Average consumers won't look at it from this point of view but there is a significan community that will.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Look deeper

This same Armada 1500 is also on the $160 Nixeus Fusion XS media player and I'm sure a lot more cheap devices.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Look deeper

"Average consumers won't look at it from this point of view"

Average consumers won't look at it - at all. Google are playing the Microsoft card - sending partners over the top to take the fire.

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Unhappy

Re: Look deeper

Agreed but the SDK for the Armda chip is in it's early days.

I would rather have a Nixeus and emailed them about European sales a couple of months ago, no plans at the moment.

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WTF?

Dose the CAD software used for industrial design have an interpolate models/drawings function?

I assume so, it looks like they just loaded up the design for a Chinese knock-off iPhone, and then the design for "generic stock Sony TV remote number 258" and just pressed the interpolate models button!

Seriously, that's one odd remote - how the frig are you supposed to cover it with electrical tape without messing up the touch-pad when the battery compartment door breaks!?

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Happy

Sonys form

At least Sonyhas experience...

....of losing money on niche form factors

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If Sony added this to the PS3 as an app, it'd be quite nice - although obviously they may well need to recommend upgrading your HDD (or buying an external one).

The PS3 browser blows extremely large chunks, and there is no YouTube "app" (just in-chunk-blowing-browser). Got a PS3 eye/camera? Then you have a microphone for voice control. Got it wired up to the 'net? Then you have broadband access. Oh yes, and the DVD/BluRay already there.

Google/VirginMedia have recently added YouTube remote support to the VM TiVo box, and it's really nice to browse YouTube on a big screen whilst searching via your phone (rather than hideous remote or on-screen keyboard).

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Remote = Extra Expense

So most people who are the target audience for this have probably already invested in a universal remote like a Logitech Harmony. The last thing I'm going to do is add another remote to my system. I appreciated that my Roku and my AppleTV came with clearly inexpensive remotes because I didn't want much of my purchase price going to a remote that would remain in the box due to my universal remote.

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Silver badge

Re: Remote = Extra Expense

Most people buying this already have a smart phone a tablet nearer than the remote.

Make the remote an app for an iPhone/iPad/Android and use the wifi in the box and you save 200quid on the remote

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Re: Remote = Extra Expense

Main problem with multiremotes especially Harmony is lag. Trying to browse about a grid, scroll through large lists or do some T9-style text entry is made much worse by even a little bit.

Browsing the web you really need a pointing device. Sony here have gone for a touchpad, LG have gone for a Wii-style pointer. Not sure which will win in the sofa environment, but a D-pad definitely doesn't cut it.

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Anonymous Coward

YouView is still launching in July 2012.

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£200 really? There are are loads of media player boxes running various versions of Android you can buy off ebay for about £60 - £70 quid which would do the job just as well.

I actually got one from China for about £50 and it plays MP4 videos in HD quite nicely from a USB drive and has a youtube app which although doesn't give 'full fat' youtube such as the TV shows and movies still does as much as youtube on my phone does.

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It's not the box...

... it's what you watch with the box that counts and YouTube just isn't compelling.

Doesn't every smart TV come with a YouTube app anyway?

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Stop

Can't Wait

The TV is already the portal to the most dreadful excuses for entertainment. This is just what we need, more pointless crap. All accessible via yet another black box that we are expected to shoehorn in alongside all the others, with yet another remote control.

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Anonymous Coward

" HD YouTube videos"

They want £200 to watch YouTube?!? Surely there's got to be something else to this?

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Trollface

Can't wait either!

Because it looks like the latest Sony device to capture this title:

http://www.theonion.com/video/sony-releases-new-stupid-piece-of-shit-that-doesnt,14309/

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