October 05, 2010, 4:40 PM — Will Google TV be must see TV or just another rerun mimicking past attempts to wed the TV with Internet? We'll find out more Wednesday when Logitech shows off its Revue Internet-TV device that streams high-definition, on-demand video from the Web to your HDTV via a wireless or wired network. The following week Sony will debut a HDTV with Google TV baked into the set itself.
Consider yourself warned. Over the next several weeks Google and its hardware and content partners will hype Google TV as if it were promoting celebrity mud wrestling during sweep week on network TV.
What We Know About Google TV
So far, Google is whipping up an appropriate amount of excitement. Earlier this week it announced content providers including the NBA, HBO, CNBC, Twitter, TBS, TNT, CNN, Amazon Video on Demand and Netflix. We also know Google TV can be used to search and browse the Web; use apps built for the Android-based system; merge Internet and TV content onto one screen; and set up a quick launch menu of your favorite TV channels, Google TV apps and Websites.
But here is the $20k question: will consumers bite? History tells us no. Starting back 10 years ago with AOL's failed interactive TV device, AOL TV, there has been a decade of ambitious failures from big and small tech companies.
At least in its infancy the marriage of TVs and the Web have been met with the static. Consumers don't want to mess with the snake pit of wires behind their TV and aren't convinced surfing the Web from there couch is something they're interested in doing. All the while device makers couldn't simplify their products enough for mass appeal - be it setting up the hardware or connecting people to content online.
Yahoo's TV Struggles
Fast forward to 2009. Almost 18 months ago, Google's search rival Yahoo launched Yahoo Connected TV widgets that let you view Internet content on your television.
Similar to Google TV, Yahoo's widgets include content from Amazon video on demand, CBS, Showtime, EBay, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even Blockbuster (at least for now). Several manufacturers also partner Yahoo's widgets with Netflix streaming for an even closer resemblance to Google TV. Unlike Google TV's full-screen experience, however, Yahoo's TV widgets take up only part of your TV display except when displaying photos or video.