Google and Intel Partner for Smart TV


HDTV and 3DTV, make room for Smart TV. Google and Intel are set to unveil their vision for Web-savvy television at Google’s 2010 developers conference, which kicks off tomorrow in San Francisco, in partnership with Sony.

Paul Otellini, Intel CEO, commented to FT: “The revolution we’re about to go through is the biggest single change in television since it went colour.”

Intel’s Atom microprocessor and Google’s Android operating system will power Smart TV. Next-generation chips and software will enable Web video streaming on TV and set-top boxes that serve as video game consoles to seamlessly combine Web content directly on the TV set.[more]
It’s been a tough, uphill slog for tech companies trying to break in to the TV environment, but there’s now a mad dash to court television manufacturers and ISP’s in the race to bring Web features and content to the home TV screen.
Eric Kim of Intel’s Digital Home group says “We’re seeing the beginning of explosive growth. Right now, we’re gearing up for a massive retail launch of [connected devices] this year.”

Some of those devices were showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, including TVs, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes enhanced with Web connectivity, Netflix, CinemaNow and Vudu, as well as streaming radio, online photo services and, of course, social networking with Twitter and Facebook integrated on the TV set interface.

Samsung, Sony, LG, Vizio, Sharp and Panasonic will all come to market with Webified TVs this year, including widgets for news, weather, financial information, and Skype.

Uncharacteristically, Apple lags behind, its TV box enables purchase and rental from iTunes, and YouTube and Flickr – and that’s it for now.

Otellini told analysts that their Dragonpoint chip with Atom processors “offers better audio and video performance, wider and open software support and is cheaper than the competition.” Telecom Italia and France Telecom are in line to include the chips in set-top units – and already there is a 1 million unit order backlog.

To sweeten the development draw, Google will ask Android developers to work on developing television apps with the promise of ad revenue for manufacturers. Smart TV – an oxymoron, or smart enough to provide the next sizeable piece of the media monetary pie?

It’s all getting closer to what Comcast CEO Brian Roberts showed at a National Cable Show a few years ago for his (tongue in cheek) vision of Web TV: a blank TV screen with a Google search bar.And with YouTube already the world’s second biggest search engine, we can’t help but think that YouTube TV can’t be far behind.