Dec 282010

While some are quick to try and compare these two devices head to head there are a lot of basic differences between their core uses that needs to be taken into account before making a decision. Depending on what you want to do one may be a better option than the other.

The first major difference between the two devices is how they plug into your TV.  Apple TV connects in to it’s own port separate from that of your cable / satellite box.  Where as Google TV is meant to be either built into your TV or a set top box that sits between your cable / satellite box and your TV.

There are negatives and positives to both approaches, for one in order to just watch TV the Google TV box has to be on but this approach makes it much easier to switch from one activity to another.  With the Apple TV approach you will have to switch inputs sources on your television to use it.

The next major difference is what made Google who they are today; searching.  Searching, although it may not seem that way, is one of the core pieces of functionality that really sets Google TV apart.  The search functionality is powerful and comes in very handle if you are say for instance watching Eat Pray Love and want to look up where Bali is on a map.  Or if you want to know when a specific episode of Big Bang Theory will be on again.

So far there doesn’t seem to be huge differences between the two devices, so lets compare some features/specifications of the two devices side by side.

Versus Apple TV (2nd Generation) Sony Internet TV w/ Google TV (NSZ-GT1)
Price $99 $399
Includes HDMI Cable No ($19 from Apple) Yes
Max Output 720p 1080p
Output Ports HDMI / Digital Audio Optical HDMI / Digital Audio Optical
Input Ports None HDMI
Upscales Playback No Yes
Disc Player None Blu-Ray
Controller Apple Remote Compact Wireless Keyboard
USB Ports 1 Micro (For Service & Support) 4 – 2.0 Ports
External Storage No Yes (USB)
Wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n 802.11 a/b/g/n
Wired 10/100 BASE-T 10/100/1000 BASE-T
Required Software iTunes None
Home Network Streaming Yes Yes
iTunes Support Yes No
Netflix Yes Yes
Hulu Plus No Coming
Amazon On Demand No Yes
YouTube Yes Yes
Web Browser No Yes (Chrome)
Custom Apps No Coming 2011

Right now there is a lot of hoopla going around the Internet about Logitech suspending production of their Revue unit till later in January.   These of course are all rumors, although it would not be surprising as we are coming down from the biggest shopping periods in the year.  Not to mention when given the choice between the Revue and the Sony Internet TV why not spend the extra $100 for a Blu-Ray player.  Plus Sony is more of a name that is related with TVs whereas Logitech is thought of more in the computer realm, at least to me.

Of course people are using this information as well as other factors to say that Google TV is failing or will fail.  Well back in 2007 I remember the same thing being said about Android; that Google was foolish for trying to break into the cell phone market.  Three years later they now have the top selling smart phone OS (The iPhone is still the top selling phone).  My guess is more manufacturer’s are going to use Google TV to quickly and easily make a TV Internet ready.

Google’s strategy is to go after the manufacturers instead of trying to manufacturer and sell their own equipment.  This was a strategy used by Microsoft back in the day and was obviously very effective.  It also has already worked very well for Google with Android, so why wouldn’t it work well for Google TV?

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