Google TV Box

Google, Intel and Sony have teamed to develop a platform called Google TV to bring the Web into the living room through a new generation of televisions and set-top boxes, reports the NY Times.

The Times says Google TV will use an Intel Atom processor on the set-top box, and run the Android operating system. The technology may also be built directly into Blu-ray players and TVs from Sony. Additionally, Google is working with Logitech to built a keyboard-equipped remote control for the platform.

Google is expected to deliver a toolkit to outside programmers within the next couple of months, and products based on the software could appear as soon as this summer.

The three companies have tapped Logitech, which specializes in remote controls and computer speakers, for peripheral devices, including a remote with a tiny keyboard.

Google TV may use a version of Google’s Chrome Web browser, says Android and Me. Android and Chrome OS are expected to merge over time. The default Android browser is based off the same WebKit core. Google recently teamed up with DISH to test a new, Android-like software on the satellite provider’s set-top box.

The partners envision technology that will make it as easy for TV users to navigate Web applications, like the Twitter social network and the Picasa photo site. The move is an effort by Google and Intel to extend their dominance of computing to television, while Sony would get a competitive edge on IP-TV. Cable operators are investing heavily in video on demand (VOD) as analog spectrum is freed up on their 750 MHz systems.

The Boxee Box by D-Link uses a dual-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU with an NVIDIA Tegra 2 for graphics.

It displays TV shows and movies from the Internet or your hard drive, on your television, as well as social media, email and telephony – no PC needed.

Google could have open source competition from settops running MeeGo. MeeGo combines Nokia’s Maemo and Intel’s Moblin and can run on both ARM and Atom chips.

The UK’s Virgin Media is beginning its transition to IPTV now, and aiming to serve roughly 13 million subscribers by 2012.

Virgin Media will offer 50 Mbps broadband in the UK for £28/month ($42/month). Virgin is using fibre to deliver internet access to just over half of all homes.

The Asia-Pacific IPTV market was around 9.4 million subscribers at the end of 2009, a 51 percent growth from last year’s 6.27 million subscribers, according to Frost & Sullivan.

US cable operators, like Comcast and Time-Warner Cable, which are also partners in Mobile WiMAX with Google and Intel, conceivably could extend the platform into the mobile space. But they’re likely to keep an eye on their backside.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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