Bringing the Web and TV content together is attempted by many in the past and it’s Google TV now. Initially i was all skeptical why Google has it as a big project spending huge $ on marketing. Apart from many other obvious reason, i got convinced last night. After a long time i got some time to play with my TV and Wii.
Watching a Movie : My DVD player broke and thought that i will watch some movies online. I knew Wii has a Netflix channel that you can install for free. Finding the Netflix channel and installing it was an easy task. Connecting my Netflix userid was also easy. Wii created a verification code and i need to key it in the Netflix account. Now the fun stuff… I started the Netflix channel and decided to watch the “Iron Man” movie. It started buffering the movie for 24 seconds. It played for about 3 minutes and started buffering again. Woah… that sucks. I just cant have the device buffer all the time i see the movie. The picture quality was very bad and flaky. I have the AT&T Uverse with 18MB speed and i consider this a decent internet connection. I am not sure what the reason was for my slow streaming and searched web but did not find anything.
Thumbs Down – Picture Quality, Viewing Experience
Browsing the Web : Next, i tried browsing the web with the Internet Channel on Wii. I have no idea why on earth they use Opera as browser? Pages are quick enough to load and mostly renders properly. However, its a pain (lot of pain) to search and browse. I quit browsing in almost 5 minutes. Its a horrible experience to move the Wii remote and click on single letters on the UI.
Thumbs Down – Search, Browsing Experience, Rendering, Page fit, Page Quality
Why Google TV : Yeah yeah… i hear that we have Apple TV, XBox, Roku, Wii among the popular ones and many TVs come with the Internet Widgets. But all these technologies have feature limitations. If you want to Browse, Search, watch movie content from Netflix and Youtube, browse pictures from Picasa, Flicker and others then you need a device that’s optimized for the Browsing, Search, Page Rendering and does a good job on 1080p HDTVs.
You must not see any difference when you watch the same Netflix movie or Youtube video on similar PC vs. HDTV. And more over, you need a input device that’s elegant and yet convenient enough to give you the QWERTY keyboard (or may be voice commands). I guess this is the are Google ventured to come into. Google did a pretty good job (creating the platform) of integrating the TRUE Internet experience and the cable channels on HDTV.
Sure that there is a lot of work for Google to do before the main stream viewers accept Google TV. But, right now, its definitely a geek’s gadget.