I can’t get past the $300 price point of Logitech’s Revue box, the first device announced that runs the Google TV software. Even the Dish-subsidized $179 price (plus $4 per month) seems out of whack (see Dish To Flog Logitech’s Google TV Box).
Look, for 300 bucks, you can get a TiVo Premiere DVR — which, unlike Google TV, lets you record TV shows and watch them later. Perhaps you’ve heard of this feature. It’s pretty fantastic. Cable, satellite and telco services offer DVRs, too, and some even provide access to DVR recordings in multiple rooms.
Meanwhile, TiVo DVRs, Roku set-tops and dozens of other Internet-connected TV devices also provide access to some of the same broadband-delivered content Google TV does (Netflix, Amazon.com, YouTube, Pandora).
And some it doesn’t: Hulu, for now, isn’t available through Google TV devices. Hulu.com, as it has with other TV-based browsers like Boxee and Hillcrest Labs’ Kylo, is blocking access to Google TV. The search giant confirmed it is in discussions with Hulu about offering access to the Hulu Plus service (see Hulu Lobs Premium Pass to TiVo, Roku).
So what do you get with Google TV, which industry executives have speculated could add $200 to $300 to the retail price of an HDTV or Blu-ray Disc player? (See Google TV: Up to $300 Price Premium?)
A Web browser on TV — which, as history shows us, does not have widespread appeal. In any case, that amounts to a feature, not a product.
What’s potentially far more interesting is Google TV’s “open” applications platform, based on Android, to let viewers run apps designed for the big-screen HDTV.
But today, a bustling Android TV apps market is just a promise, not something that will spur sales at Best Buy this holiday shopping season. And while the widget-type apps planned by CNBC and the NBA, for example, certainly look useful and/or fun I wonder what kind of critical mass will be needed to make Android-enabled TVs a must-have (see Google TV Tunes To Turner, HBO, CNBC, Netflix And Others).
Again, the Logitech Revue is a $300 product, whereas Apple TV and Roku have hit sub-$100 price points. But as Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey pointed out to me: “People were happy to drop $500-plus for an iPad they didn’t really need, so maybe we’re living in a new fantasy land where money doesn’t matter? Or maybe not.”
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By Jens Koerner