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What to expect from Google TV

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Rob Pegoraro
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What to expect from Google TV

Google TV - the Web giant's software package for finding and watching TV programming over the Internet and through traditional subscription services - looks less vaporous now. Just in time for introductions of Google TV-enabled hardware from Sony and Logitech, Google announced further details about the platform it launched in May.

A blog post and accompanying video advertise many of the usual online video and audio services: movies and TV shows from Netflix or Amazon's video-on-demand service, shorter clips from Google's own YouTube, Web radio from Pandora, photo browsing from Yahoo's Flickr, and so on.

But Google TV also will include a set of Web applications, some video-enhanced, from the NBA, CNBC and Twitter, among others. A "Fling" feature will let you toss the Web page or video you're viewing on a smartphone (presumbably one running Google's Android operating system) to Google TV. And early next year, Google TV will be able to run apps downloaded from Google's Android Market.

But note some video sites not listed: Hulu (coming to Roku's Web-media receivers and TiVo digital video recorders, to be followed by some HDTVs and Blu-ray players), Major League Baseball's MLB.tv (already on Roku and in Boxee's software) and ESPN3.com (unavailable on any Web-media box).

And, of course, Google TV won't be able to play movies or TV shows streamed or downloaded from Apple's iTunes Store. For those, you'll still need to hook up a computer to the TV or get just-updated Apple TV.

Future Google TV software updates could fill in some of those gaps and add other new features. One interesting possibility would be simple video calling.

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