OnLive headed to Google TV, and Microsoft won't be your next TV provider

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One of the CES 2012 Day 1 news bytes that I mentioned yesterday was the announcement that streaming game service Gaikai was going to be showing up on LG TVs in the second half of 2012. During that same day Gaikai rival OnLive was showing off a streaming Windows desktop, available for the iPad today if everything goes according to schedule.

I was wondering if perhaps OnLive was moving away from gaming and into business applications, but my faith was restored when yesterday (Day 2) OnLive announced that its gaming service is coming to Google TV, first as a Viewer and later the full gaming client. Considering Google TV now supports the Android Market and OnLive has an Android client available this wasn't a huge surprise, but it's an interesting juxtaposition, don't you think? Gaikai is partnering with a single manufacturer while OnLive is going with a somewhat beleaguered platform. Which will be the smart move?

Two months ago I would've thought anyone who hitched their wagon to Google TV was crazy. The platform didn't seem to be gaining traction and Logitech slammed the product calling it "a big mistake" and stating that they wouldn't be building any more of their Logitech Revue hardware.

But Google TV has been showing signs of life. First it was upgraded to Honeycomb and got access to the Android Market. Then this week at CES new Google TV products were announced by Sony, Vizio, Samsung and LG (hmm, will Gaikai and Onlive wind up on the same hardware?). PC Mag has a nice overview of the new products.

If Google TV connects this time around, OnLive may have made the wiser choice. Here's my logic: buying a new TV is a big decision, particularly for those of us who've already made the jump to HDTV (I assume most gadget-loving TV viewers have). But you can 'add on' Google TV to an existing set in the form of a new Blu-ray player. Already have a Blu-ray player? One of Sony's new products is a Google TV media streamer. It just seems like there's a much lower barrier to entry there. My plan is to spring for a Google TV-enabled media streamer once OnLive rolls out for the platform. I'll replace my OnLive "Micro-Console" with a Google TV product.

Another vaguely related item I wanted to talk about today has to do with Microsoft. We've watched as Microsoft works to change the Xbox 360 from a dedicated gaming system into a media-hub via partnerships with everyone from FiOS and Comcast to YouTube.

There have long been rumors that Microsoft wanted to go around the cable companies and offer a subscription-based TV service: a true Microsoft TV. Well it turns out those rumors were true, but it seems like Microsoft has scuttled the plan. According to Reuters, the problem wasn't the technology, it was the cost:

"They built Microsoft TV, they demoed it for us, they asked for rate cards but then said 'ooh ah, that's expensive,'" said one senior media executive who had been involved in the talks.

It may be just as well; I can't see FiOS and Comcast sticking around once Microsoft starts trying to cut them out of the picture, and we haven't seen Hulu Plus really become a force to be reckoned with. In the meanwhile the Xbox 360 keeps getting more media sources. At CES it was announced that News Corp content from Fox, IGN and the Wall Street Journal will be coming to the Xbox 360. It just seems to me that Microsoft is on a good trajectory without trying to become an alternate cable provider.

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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