Internet TV has been around a while but it hasn’t really taken off. However, 2011 could be the year when that all changes. Manufacturers believe that the user interfaces for Internet TV are now advanced enough to allow users to control the content they want to watch more easily.
Google Leads The Way
In the race to win over users, Google TV is the hot favourite. The cloud computing pioneers will be hoping that their Internet TV technology is as popular as their eponymous search engine.
What’s more, Google is incorporating the popular Android operating system along with their Chrome browser. This will offer access to applications from the Android App Store and full Flash support. Theoretically, you should even be able to use an Android phone as a user interface with Google’s set-top box. The prospect of full Internet access, coupled with Android integration on your TV could very well give Google the edge on its competitors.
Yahoo! and Samsung are collaborating too. The result is the Yahoo! Connected TV. These TVs come with an integrated Yahoo! widget allowing users to view their favourite sites on the Internet. Although the service will initially only be available on Samsung’s Internet@TV range, Yahoo! has also started shipping their Connected technology in other media players, such as Blu-Ray devices, media servers and set-top boxes.
The downside with Yahoo!’s technology is that users will only be able to access certain sites, which could prove to be a barrier to some customers.
A quicker way to get to grips with Internet on the telly might be Apple TV. Apple’s device has been around a while and has just been upgraded with a lower price tag. However, there are drawbacks with Apple’s offering. Although the device allows you to stream content from the Internet, much of it, such as iTunes content, has to be paid for and there’s no flash support or web browsing capability. So if you’re looking for that sort of functionality, you might be better off opting for one of Google’s set-top boxes.
Ultimately, the key to success in the Internet TV arena may very well depend on how easy companies make it for users to integrate Internet TV technology with their current hardware. And right now, Google seems to be the only company with the capability to deliver the sort of functionality customers are looking for.