Google TV versus Chromecast; is there a difference?

Subject: Cases and Cooling, Systems | August 9, 2013 - 10:34 AM |
Tagged: asus, asus cube, google, google tv, htpc

With the release of the Google Chromecast streaming USB stick it seems apropos to revisit Google's other foray into the HTPC business, Google TV.  Specifically it is the ASUS Cube up for review at Bjorn3D which will be offered as an example.  At less than 5" a side it is a tiny device with HDMI input and output, an pair of USB 2.0 connectors, an ethernet port and a connector for an IR sensor for the remote.  It does have wireless connectivity to help keep down on the clutter if you install it somewhere noticeable.  Inside you will find a 1.2 GHz Marvell Armada 1500 chip, 1GB of RAM and 2GB of user accessible storage.  There are a variety of apps to help you find streams to watch and is certainly easier to set up than a full HTPC.  At $125 is is more expensive than the Chromecast but it is also more powerful, see how in the review.

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"Asus Cube is the device that features latest Google TV OS that want to be part of your living room entertainment setup. With a good design, an unique remote, and $139 price tag, can it push Google TV further where others may have failed? Let’s find out."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

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Source: Bjorn3D

CES 2013: ASUS Launches Qube With Google TV

Subject: General Tech | January 7, 2013 - 09:55 AM |
Tagged: qube, htpc, google tv, ces 2013, CES, asus

In addition to the expected flood of tablets and ultrabooks, ASUS has announced a new cube shaped device–called the ASUS Qube–that runs Google TV. Similar to the Nexus Q without the expensive analog audio hardware, the ASUS Qube is a box that is designed to bring streaming media to your living room. In this case however, the ASUS Qube is running Google TV and is paired with motion, voice, or Android smartphone controls for input.

Asus Qube.jpg

 

The Qube can access Netflix, Amazon, and Youtube for video content along with other standard Google TV applications. It can also display a customized TV guide and play games, for example. ASUS has paired the aptly-name Qube with a new interface that displays on screen options in a rotating cube.

To sweeten the deal over other Google TV boxes, ASUS is throwing in 50GB of WebStorage cloud storage space with each Qube.

Unfortunately there is no word on pricing or availability for the ASUS Qube.

Read more about Google TV at PC Perspective.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Asus

Details about a possible upcoming Intel TV service, Intel Media

Subject: General Tech | January 1, 2013 - 12:34 PM |
Tagged: tv, intel tv, intel media, Intel, google tv, CES, apple tv

How's this to set off your 2013 tech news?  According to multiple reports and this rather lengthy one from GigaOm, Intel has a new division called Intel Media that is planning on launching a TV service this year.  While it apparently will not be ready to show off at CES next week, "knowledgeable sources" make the GigaOm author quite confident that it will happen in the March time frame.

Running much like a stealth startup rather than the multi-billion dollar corporate entity that it is, a new division called Intel Media has been working on an Intel TV service that aims to beat Google and Apple to the goal of an on-demand, a-la-carte video.  Running under a separate board of directors headed by Intel CEO Paul Otellini and content lead Eric Free among others, Intel Media has lofty goals.

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Intel CEO Paul Otellini is pushing services on his way out

The base for this service will be an Intel produced and branded set top box that will be sold online and through retailers like Best Buy.  Maybe something like the Intel Next Unit of Computing we tested in December?  But Intel also plans to have access to the service on any screen including PCs, laptops, tablets and mobile devices. The GigaOm story didn't mention if this would run on iOS and Android devices but if the service is to stand a chance, it had better. 

Building hardware is easy; the real challenge is in convincing content creators and owners to license the video for an "access anywhere" mindset.  Even Apple hasn't been able to accomplish that and I would dare say they have more industry clout with media companies than Intel. 

That will likely include an ambitious licensing play to secure content across all of these devices. Intel’s set-top box will offer access to third-party apps, but also TV content licensed by Intel — something that has been one of the key challenges of the project. Reuters and the Wall Street Journal detailed earlier this year how the company wanted to secure the right to stream individual TV channels over the internet, and Forbes reported this weekend that it will offer consumers the ability to subscribe to individual channels, as opposed to a big and expensive cable bundle.

Intel's desire to develop this service area isn't unexpected as the company has been wanting to get away from being known only as a "chip manufacturer" and move to a "platform provider."  It's just hard to see what Intel will be able to do so much better than what Apple has done with the Apple TV or what Google did with the Google TV platforms.  Intel has no successful operating system and would either have to go with a Windows platform (expensive), Android (what would stop other people for duplicating it) or something custom (not a good track record). 

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There are a lot more questions about what Intel Media is or could become than we have information to address.  But Intel is hoping that the executive team they have assembled will have those answers.  Personnel includes Erik Huggers who led the BBC iPlayer, Sean Ludick from Jawbone, Courtnee Westendorf who handled global marketing for Apple and several more.  Intel wants to be prepared for a world that cares less about the silicon that powers devices and more about the software and services on those devices.

The goal of getting individual channels of live television and on-demand content without the need for huge cable and satellite bills is the goal of a modern media consumption society but there are very large organizations that would like to prevent it from happening.  If Intel does in fact have the answer then I will be among the first to stand up and applaud (and pre-order).  If we are merely getting an Android powered version of the AppleTV with Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming video, I'll pass.

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Google TV had a lot of lofty goals and promise as well...

There is a lot more information and speculation on this Intel Media directive on the source GigaOm article, and I encourage you all to check it out.  Personally I don't see how this could be successful without a dramatic shift from the other software moves that Intel has made in recent years.  Remember AppUp?  How about MeeGo?  Exactly my point.  It is understandable for a company as large as Intel to want to branch out and look for new growth opportunities but they have yet to prove they are capable of doing so successfully.  And many would implore Intel to stay focused on the technology...

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: GigaOm

Sony Launching New $199 Google TV Box

Subject: General Tech | June 29, 2012 - 07:17 AM |
Tagged: sony, smart tv, htpc, google tv, google, Android

Yes, it does appear that Google TV is still a “thing” – though I am only reminded because Sony has not stoppsed releasing new boxes running Android. The NSZ-GS7 is a small box designed to sit between your TV and cable box to add additional smart TV-like functionality. It is running a dual core Marvell ARM processor, and has 8GB of storage space, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth radios. Rear IO on the device includes two HDMI ports (for HDMI passthrough of your cable box or other media device), optical audio output, an IR blaster port, Ethernet, two USB ports, and a power input port.

Google TV.jpg

The interesting thing about these Google TV products has always been the remotes. There have been some strange designs in the past, but the Sony NSZ-GS7’s remote actually looks nice and comfortable. The front of the remote resembles any standard TV remote with a track pad added to it while the back of the remote features a full QWERTY keyboard. It also has an accelerometer and is allegedly capable of detecting which side of the remote you are using – and will turn off the buttons on the underside to avoid accidental key-presses.

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I really like this remote. Image credit goes to Tom's Hardware.

Beyond the hardware itself, the Google TV box is running Android 3.2 Honeycomb. It is able to acts as an enhanced TV guide as well as providing web access and Google App functionality (for the few apps that have been modified to work specifically with Google TVs anyway). One of the cool apps available is one that can control a Parrot AR.Drone on the big screen with the TV remote, which sounds like fun (my dog would go nuts!). It is also capable of doing picture-in-picture where users can browse the web while also watching the TV in a smaller window.

Tom’s Hardware managed to gets a hands-on demo with the new device courtesy of Sony Canada. They managed to snag several good photos of the hardware and interface. They note that the NSZ-GS7 Google TV box will be coming out next month for those in the US and UK – a Canadian launch is following in August – for $199. You can find more photos at the link above.

Especially with the release of the Nexus Q, I have to wonder if Google is even aware that Google TV is still around, because it really feels like they launched it and then walked away from it. Now that they are focusing on “the cloud” for media playback, the Google TV has even less relevance to the company. On the other hand, I could see an perspective where both devices are able to coexist and flesh out total living room media functionality with the Nexus Q handling the social and cloud media playback and Google TV acting as a better cable box for “offline” media. I am curious though, what you think of Google TV. Do you like it, or would you rather have a beefier HTPC running Windows or Linux on x86/64 hardware? Where do you think the Google TV fits into the living room?

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