Friday, October 28, 2011

An Update on Google TV

In the 1970s, there were just a few networks on TV. Cable changed things by adding hundreds of new channels like HBO, ESPN, and MTV. The Internet marks a new chapter for television. This chapter is not about replacing broadcast or cable TV; it’s not about replicating what’s on TV to the Web. It’s about bringing millions of new channels to your TV from the next generation of creators, application developers, and networks. With over three billion views a day, sites like YouTube are proving the demand for Web entertainment is already big, and this entertainment is coming to the living room.

The Google TV platform contributes to this evolution by enabling new content creators to add to the programming you already enjoy on your TV. Given so much choice, we’re committed to delivering the best way to discover and engage with the high-quality entertainment on your television, whether that comes from your cable or satellite provider (DISH, Comcast, DIRECTV, etc.) or from the Web (YouTube, Netflix, and thousands more). The initial version of Google TV wasn’t perfect, but launching it gave us the opportunity to learn. These are still early days, and we’re working hard to move forward with each update.

Today, we’re announcing a software update for Google TV. In this release, we focused on four areas of user feedback:

1. Keep it simple
The interface is now much simpler. The new customizable home screen gets you to your favorite content quickly. And within “all apps” you can see all of your shortcuts, similar to your Android phone or tablet.

2. Make it easy to find something worth watching
We’ve improved search across the board for content from Live TV, Netflix, YouTube, HBO GO, and more. But what if you don’t know what to search for? There’s now an app called “TV & Movies” that let’s you easily browse through 80,000 movies and TV episodes across cable or satellite, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, and many other sites. If you’ve opted in to recommendations, we can better predict what you want to watch next.

3. Make YouTube better on TV
We’re launching a new YouTube experience specifically built for Google TV. It is now fast and easy to get to your favorite HD-quality YouTube entertainment. And we’ve integrated YouTube more closely with Google TV search, so that you can turn virtually any topic – mountain biking, cooking, etc. – into a channel.

4. Bring more apps to TV
We are opening up the TV to the creativity of content creators large and small through Android Market. Android developers can now bring existing mobile apps or entirely new ones to TV. Initially, the number of apps won’t be large – apps requiring a touch screen, GPS, or telephony won’t show up – but 50 developers have seeded the Market with cool and useful apps for the TV. We’re excited to see the number of apps grow.

This software update will be coming to Sony devices starting early next week and Logitech devices soon thereafter. We look forward in the coming months to announcing new software updates as well as new devices on new chipsets from multiple hardware partners.

Posted by Mario Queiroz, Vice President Product Management, and Vincent Dureau, Director of Engineering

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Google TV add-on for the Android SDK

A few weeks back we released the preview of the Google TV add-on for Android SDK. Today, we’re releasing the final add-on for the upcoming release of Google TV software.
The differences in this version from the preview release are minor:

  • We heard your feedback, and the Action Bar now renders horizontally, in line with other Android devices. We’ve published code for a left-side navigation bar since that may work better for navigating with D-Pad when you have vertically scrolling lists. Check out an example app built using the sample code here.
  • There are additional keys on the screen for quick access, e.g., picture-in-picture, fast forward, channel up/down, etc. Please note that these keys will only work with the next Android SDK Tools, revision 14.
We’re very excited about the strong interest from the developer community in bringing their apps to TV, and we look forward to continuing to deliver powerful tools which enable innovative forms of entertainment for the living room.

Ambarish Kenghe (AK), Product Manager