Google brings HD sneezing pandas to UK: But why?
Gets out lipstick and wrestles the porker one more time
Analysis Google's TV venture has been an expensive flop so far – and proved catastrophic for partner Logitech. But can new, flashier hardware and a better delivery path make a difference? We'll be able to find out when the service is launched in the UK on 16 July.
Founding partner Sony provides the new hardware. The NSZ-GS7 is a bundle of a network media player and a sophisticated, dedicated remote control.
Sony's master blaster: no tape required
The media player is really a PC with a simplified UI, redesigned for this crack at the market, and the controller apes both a smartphone and an iPad – one side is a multitouch display, the other is a full keyboard. So the controller duplicates the smartphones and tablets already littering many living rooms. The service promises HD YouTube videos – Google's private network infrastructure supports the network. It's expected to cost around £200.
But having bared its backside at Hollywood for so long, confident that its own network is compelling enough already, there's no unique content accompanying the launch of Google TV in the UK.
Still, you can enjoy this:
YouTube has never looked so good.
Google also announced a voice-powered BluRay player for launch later in the year.
Google isn't alone in struggling to bridge the gap between internet and traditional TV. The YouView consortium, formerly Project Canvas, has delayed its launch again.
Today an increasing number of homes subscribe to a pay TV. Of those that don't, many already have a humble laptop plugged into the set, delivering licensed content (iTunes, Netflix, LoveFilm), unlicensed TV and movies sourced via torrents, or plain old internet novelties and music videos from YouTube.
Rather than using its muscle to fix the broken supply chain, as Apple did, Google is designing its hardware and content around it. Which isn't adding value, or solving any problems, but really more along the lines of putting lipstick on a pig. ®
"Today an increasing number of homes subscribe to..."
...The Pirate Bay.
And I don't mean that as a joke.
Here's the problem: The Content® is utter crap, and neither Google nor Apple can fix it. It has a marketable value of absolute zero, and therefore no one wants to pay for it, naturally.
No amount of new gizmos or services will ever solve that problem. We need fresh ideas, talented writers, and producers who are willing to cater to something other than
American adolescents the lowest common denominator.
Mark Harris' "The Day the Movies Died" pretty much sums up the issues (equally applicable to TV).
Here's a taste:
"So here's what's on tap two summers from now: an adaptation of a comic book. A reboot of an adaptation of a comic book. A sequel to a sequel to an adaptation of a comic book. A sequel to a reboot of an adaptation of a TV show. A sequel to a sequel to a reboot of an adaptation of a comic book. A sequel to a cartoon. A sequel to a sequel to a cartoon. A sequel to a sequel to a sequel to a cartoon. A sequel to a sequel to a sequel to a sequel to a movie based on a young-adult novel. And soon after: Stretch Armstrong. You remember Stretch Armstrong, right? That rubberized doll you could stretch and then stretch again, at least until the sludge inside the doll would dry up and he would become Osteoporosis Armstrong? A toy that offered less narrative interest than bingo?"
When somebody starts making well-written dramas for grown-ups again, that actually have a real story, and aren't just mindless gibberish targeted at brain-dead American children, I'll consider paying for it, and not one moment sooner.
If the Media MAFIAA® expended half as much effort producing worthwhile content, as they currently waste chasing fictional "pirates", that might actually happen, but I'm not holding my breath.
Do I have to talk all the way through the movie then?
Sounds like hard work!
You can also see it as a way for manufacturers to outsource the often terrible UIs and remote controls. Take the user part of the OS out of the telly and give it an API. Control all the house's telly with one device and incidentally make wireless streaming between devices even easier. After all this is what Apple TV does.
I can see people going for the remote alone on this. While I like my Philips remote control and DNLA works pretty well, it's useless for searching: while music has bands, albums and genres films are just one long list.