For decades now the major consumer electronics companies of the world have been competing for control of our living rooms. Finally, in 2015 it appears the battle has been won by a search engine.
At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas – Sony, Philips and Sharp have all announced they are using Google’s Android TV software in 2015. They are all gambling the product will become a key selling point for internet connected TVs in the coming months.
Samsung, LG and Panasonic are the only major brands not currently committed to Google’s platform.
Android TV brings a smartphone or tablet like experience to people’s televisions – allowing “watch again” content from the major TV networks and internet streaming services available in Australia as well download applications and games via the Google Play store. With the imminent arrival of Netflix to Australia, it’s likely that we’re going to see a stronger demand for smarter, better supported TVs.
Smart TVs have offered this kind of functionality for a few years – but a fractured market, underwhelming performance, overly complicated interfaces and most importantly limited support for popular applications such as the ABCs iView have left consumers largely unimpressed.
No Smart TV on the market has had the kind of money poured into the development of their platforms as Google has invested with Android TV; user experience and functionality takes time to get right.
Adopting a standard platform will allow manufacturers to begin to standardise their components meaning they can sell models cheaper and open up the market to more manufacturers (as we’ve seen with the Android smart phone market).
Content providers will have a standard platform making it cost effective to roll-out their streaming services and applications across more TVs.
Launched by Google back in June 2014, Android TV has been limited to their Nexus Player set-top box but with adoption from major TV manufacturers such as Sony (who are releasing it on 20 different TVs this year) we’re likely to be witnessing the start of a revolution.
But before we get too carried away, we’ve been here before – Android TV represents Google’s third attempt to get a foothold in this market. However, with the combined weight of Sony, Philips and Sharp behind them it’s hard to imagine that they are going to fail this time.
In other CES news, LG launched a washing machine capable of doing two separate loads at once as well as a bewildering fridge freezer with six doors; there were many, many drones, virtual reality devices and selfie-sticks were everywhere.
Are you planning to smarten up your home with an android TV or any other inventions from this year’s CES? Let us know in the comments below.
Barney Vollans is a Senior Digital Producer at BCM