Apple and Google are both trying to get into your home and in front of your television. Both are doing it a little different but are offering many of the same features. Do we really need something new?… a new remote control, a new device to connect up to our TV, a new piece of equipment to learn? I’m on the fence with this decision but am keeping an eye on both devices.

I have Verizon FiOS which seems to provide me with just about everything I need. I get my HDTV programming with on-demand TV shows, Hi-Speed Internet, and home phone in one nice package. I also have an Xbox 360 and Sony PS3 that can stream movies from their online store or through NetFlix, play music through my stereo, and allow me to view photos or videos from my computer. As much as I like having these features, knowing that there are devices dedicated to providing these same features is intriguing.

The Apple TV and Google TV are instant-on devices… like your cable box. There is no booting up or having to log into Xbox Live or PSN. They also have a small form factor and use very little power. Put them there next to your television and you probably won’t notice them. They connect wirelessly to your network and pull down all the information that you need.

Both Apple TV and Google TV will allow you to rent and stream your favorite movies or TV shows from NetFlix or their online store. You can even watch some public videos from YouTube. Access your home computer, with these devices, and you can view photos, listen to music, and watch home movies, or digitally downloaded movies. Google is just going a different route than Apple to provide you these services and more.

If you are not wanting to purchase an expensive Sony HDTV with Google TV built-in, you can get this Logitech Revue and connect it to your existing HDTV.

Google wants to integrate with your cable box and television programming. Google TV will be available as a standalone device for around $300, but will also come built into other devices like the new Sony HD televisions. Google really wants to get this new TV OS out there for other companies to use. They want to be the main connection from your cable to your TV. You may find cable boxes with it built-in before you know it. Google is pushing this technology and wants everyone to have access to it… like their Android OS on phones by Motorola, HTC, Samsung, etc.

Right now it is bit expensive but being able to watch a football game in a window while checking the game stats on the Internet may be something that people will pay for. You can use their Google search to find something on the Internet as well as that TV show you are wanting to watch. Applications will be available too, like Pandora, Amazon, Twitter, and Facebook. Developers will be able to create just about any application that they want for the Google TV OS. We’ve all seen these wanna-be Internet devices on TV’s before, but this may just work. If they can take the well-known applications used on the Android phones and put them on the TV, people may actually use them. It’s something familiar. You will even be able to use a remote keyboard or your Android phone touch-screen to control Google TV.

 

The Apple TV is extremely small for all that it does. Remember, there's an iPad in there!

Apple is going at this from a different direction. They want to provide a device that enhances your existing cable service, not replace it or integrate with it. There is some overlapping with movie and TV show rentals like the On-Demand shows through cable, but you won’t be finding your favorite cable shows with Apple TV. Those that are available from ABC or HBO will cost you $.99 each to watch. If you don’t watch a lot of television, and enjoy shows on these networks, this may save you money over cable.

 

The best part of Apple TV is that it is only $99. I could get three of these for the price of Google TV. But I’m not gaining access to the Internet for shopping or to keep up with the football stats during a live game. Apple is wanting to provide a central hub for all your digital content. Like mentioned above, you will be able to stream movies, photos, or music from your computer, but the Apple TV will also stream these from your iPhone, or iPad. This may also allow streaming from other applications on your iPhone or iPad like MLB Baseball or Pandora once Apple’s iOS 4.2 AirPlay features are available.

Both Apple TV and Google TV will offer TV show and Movie rentals. Costs may be a bit more than running down to your local Blockbuster (which may not be around for long) or that RedBox service outside your local grocery store… but there is convenience to staying home and instantly watching a movie. Again, this seems to compete with the On-Demand movies that cable offers.

Again, I’m on the fence about both of these devices. I’m leaning more toward the Apple TV because of the price. Geek sites have recently taken apart an Apple TV and found that it basically has an 8GB iPad inside. This could mean that Apple may allow iOS applications, like the iPhone, to be created for the Apple TV. That would then make it compete better with Google TV by providing access to the Internet and your favorite applications like Facebook, Twitter, or maybe even Angry Birds. The Apple TV can even be controlled by your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch with their Remote application.

I just wanted to throw out some information here for you to chew on. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? I’d like to see cable boxes come with Google OS built-in rather than the cable company’s hard to use interface… try using Facebook on your FiOS cable box and you’ll understand what I mean. Facebook on an Android or an Apple iOS device is a much better experience. I just want to see what applications make the transition to these new devices. That Apple TV’s $99 price tag is almost an impulse buy… hmmmm.    😉

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