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Google TV still has Room to Grow

Posted on 13 Dec 2011

After playing with the leaked Google TV Honeycomb build and now the official OTA for the Logitech Revue, I’ve come to the personal conclusion that I still don’t like it. I still don’t think it has that polished touch that gets me excited about it or even want to use it. Now before I continue, I’ll point out first and formost that I don’t know what the solution is, nor do I pretend to. I just know what I don’t like and what I see as missing. Google employs hundreds if not thousands of people smarter than me, and I’m sure that can figure it out, but from a consumer perspective…

It stinks.

Cohesive UI Flow

The user interface just blows. Still. Google has yet to get it right. And the problem is that the interface centers around the launcher/taskbar/app drawer, whatever you would call it in this instance. On my television, content should be king. My primary focus for using TV isn’t going to be apps or internet, it’s going to be media and information. And that should be at the forefront.

That’s not to say there shouldn’t be apps, because there absolutely should be, but the primary focus of my TV should be content, namely media.

The UI looks too much like like a tablet and too much like a PC. But it’s not either of those. It’s my television. So give me a better way to navigate my media taken that into account.

Network Sharing is a Pain in the Ass

There’s no easy way to load content onto the device. It doesn’t even have much storage, aside from USB slots. So it’s painful that the device doesn’t pay more attention to DLNA or other media sharing services. I have content all over my home, from my phone, to my laptop to my desktop, and I should be able to easily stream that content to watch or listen to it on my TV. And I can’t.

The Revue does come with a Logitech Media Player that connects to 1 DLNA source at a time, but it’s such an utter pain in the ass to use that it’s not even worth it to try.

Meanwhile, Apple TV got this absolutely perfect and right with their media streaming. And Google needs to take a page out of their book. Or better yet, improve the snot out of it.

Google Music Sucks on the TV

One of the features I was most excited for with the Honeycomb update is the ability to stream my large Google Music library on my TV. It would be perfect for parties or just doing chores around the house. Except it’s not.

It’s slow (slower than loading the music via the browser), and the remote’s native controls don’t work within the app. If I push play, pause, skip or forward on my Google TV remote, I want the Google Music app to respond. And sadly, it doesn’t.

And navigating through the music is a giant pain in the ass. You have all this real estate to beautifully display my music. But you don’t. You put it in a giant grid or list, and the keyboard remote is an absolute pain in the ass for navigating through it.

So in my personal opinion, Google TV has a long way to go before it becomes a revolutionary product, or even one I’d recommend to my friends. But the most painful part about it is that it just has so much damn potential that it hurts to see it not live up to it.

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