The fragmentation is even rooted in the strategic reasons why companies like Apple and Google are trying to figure out the living room.
Apple's historic strategy is to sell hardware, evidenced by Apple TV, although the revenue it now books from content sales -- music, video and apps -- runs around $4 billion each quarter.
Google thinks differently.
"Google is advertising driven. All its efforts, including Chromecast, are not just about selling more ads, they're about aggregating data about the customer to make those ads more valuable," said Golvin, pointing out that with Chromecast, Google gains insight into consumers' viewing habits. "The more you can target the ads, the more attractive they are to advertisers, and the more Google's real customers -- advertisers -- are willing to pay."
The Chromecast price point reflects that strategy. While Google maintained that it would profit from the $35 dongle, there's a suspicion by some that it's using a loss leader to further its strategic goal of accumulating more data to deliver advertising.
That may pressure Apple to repeat 2010's 57% price cut of Apple TV.
And so the battle for the TV will continue, the experts said. "Chromecast provides an alternative to what Apple offers," said Golvin. "But this is a battleground without a great deal of traction by anyone."
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is email@example.com.
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