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The Lowdown on Google TV

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Google TV is a new platform that provides Internet access for your HDTV and integrates with your existing cable or satellite set-top box. Learn about what Google TV has to offer today, what the killer apps are, and some tips. Explore where Google TV is headed, and find out if it’s right for you.
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In October 2010, Google made its entry into the home television platform business with Google TV. In some cases, Google TV is in fact a television—the Sony Internet TV lineup has Google TV built right in. In other cases, you can get Google TV in a dedicated set-top box such as the Logitech Revue, or built into a Blu-ray player such as the Sony Internet TV Blu-Ray.

Recently announced partnerships with Vizio and Samsung indicate that there will be many more opportunities to get Google TV integrated into your HDTV or Blu-ray player soon.

What Is Google TV?

Any device that implements Google TV will include an Intel Atom CE4100 CPU, which is capable of supporting MPEG4 and 3D graphics, and can decode two 1080p video streams at one time.

Each type of Google TV device shares the same feature set and differs only in how it provides a remote control. The Sony products combine Google TV functions into their TV and Blu-ray player remotes, providing a keyboard and joystick–style mouse controller. The Logitech Revue, which I have, provides a nearly full-size keyboard with a track pad (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 Logitech Revue remote control

Devices also include an Ethernet jack, USB ports, and WiFi and Bluetooth support. Devices that aren't built into a television will also have an HDMI in and out, and one or more IR Blaster ports so that Google TV can control your TV, A/V receiver, and cable or satellite box regardless of how you have your components arranged in the room.

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