Chromecast will certainly be compared to Apple TV, and many pundits will jump to the old standby “insert-product-name-here killer” but isn’t the first product on Cc’s kill list Google TV? Not according to this diplomatically correct Google statement, “Chromecast offers an alternative solution to existing non-connected HDTVs with a simple and affordable device. We believe there is ample room for both products to exist and succeed.”
The real issue however isn’t how the Chromecast product introduced this week stacks up against Apple’s current-generation Apple TV. These products are just the first step towards a future in which both companies could be offering their own pay TV services over the internet to compete with traditional cable and satellite TV offerings.
Skepticism about the future of Google TV is not unique. I own two of the much maligned products; a Logitech Revue, and the less elegantly named Sony NSZ-GS8. I really enjoy using them, and they work quite well as a front end to my satellite service.
The Sony voice-control remote (right) is one of the best control devices I’ve ever used. But all Google TV’s are rough around the edges. They are difficult to setup if anything goes awry and this makes them far from ready for non-geeky users. If Chromecast is super-easy to install and use; and brings over just a few choice features from Google TV, then GTV becomes redundant.
Apple TV is a huge hit despite it’s hobby status, but Apple claims the success is not from Over The Top content.
Apple accounts for the majority of sales by far, despite offering relatively narrow content access – this is not (yet) a market being driven by the value proposition of a streaming TV experience. AppleTV’s AirPlay feature was strategically crafted to simplify the process of transferring laptop and tablet displays to a TV screen, and it is AirPlaying – not OTT streaming – that is the primary reason for purchase of AppleTV devices.
That quote is from last week’s Apple earnings call, where they also mentioned that Google was ” conspicuous by its absence in this segment.” What a difference a week makes.