Happy New Year! It's that time again; with the new year comes our new annual prediction post. I tackled this last year, and rather than do a bunch of crazy, pulled-from-thin-air predictions, I ended up with a link-filled research-fest for the year. It worked out pretty well, so that's what's on the docket for today. First though, I'll take a look and see just how many of last year's predictions and rumors came true, and provide some updates for the more important topics.
You guys remember Google TV, right? LG does. While the platform hasn't exactly seen stellar adoption rates, the company is still pushing forward with it by integrating it into its new line of television sets. Previously, only two sized models including the software: 47" and 55". Next year, 42", 50", and 60" options will be added to the mix. The hardware will also feature a ridiculously thin bezel, just in case the RAZR M didn't satisfy your dreams of a world without borders.
Remember Google TV? You know, the Google-developed set top box running an Android variant that never managed to catch on? Well, if you're one of the small but dedicated users of the most neglected streaming device around, there's reason to celebrate: Amazon's Instant Video app, previously "exclusive" to the Kindle Fire, iPad, Roku, TiVo, Blu-ray players, various connected TVs, and just about everything except standard Android devices, is available on Google Play from your Google TV.
Google Currents is not the only Android app the company updated today as many first-party apps saw relatively minor updates through the Play Store this afternoon. Basically, the next time you check your app list be prepared to wait on those updates to download.
If you are one of the few still using a Google TV device, the PrimeTime and TV Search apps have been updated. PrimeTime comes with bugfixes and faster access to the channel guide.
Today, in a post to the Official Google TV Blog, Google announced officially the new functionality offered by the YouTube update we covered yesterday, along with a few other treats set to hit Google TV users starting with LG devices "this week."
First among the enhancements is the addition of Voice Search, allowing users to "simply speak to watch anything." Voice Search recognizes commands for opening apps, playing YouTube videos, visiting websites, and even finding channels or specific TV shows.
As our lives fill up with screens, it becomes all the more important for them to work together. Today's YouTube update brings that dream a little closer to reality. Now, if you own a Google TV set top box and an Android device, you can use the latter to play, pause, or add videos to a playlist on the former. This is already possible for PS3 owners, so the expanded capability is a welcome addition.
One of the most distinct disadvantages of Google TV is how expensive some of the boxes can be. To that end, the Logitech Revue, one of the first devices to run the television-oriented platform, has served as a cheap entry-level set top box for the curious. Now, it's cheaper than ever. Normally $100, you can use a coupon code (TPF73771) to get $20 off a refurbished model up front, plus a $30 rebate to bring it down to a meager $50.
Google TV is about to get a whole lot more useful. As of today, Google is pushing Play Movies, TV Shows, and Music to GTV. The rollout is going to take a few weeks to complete, so don't stress if it's not available on your box just yet.
With this update, you'll be able to rent or buy content directly from the Play Store and stream it to your TV. You'll also be able to discover movies and shows via the TV & Movies app, which will also provide recommendations for content available on Netflix and Amazon, along with Google Play.
If you like The Washington Post and happen to have a GoogleTV, your day just got better: there's now an official WP app designed specifically for GTV. Dubbed PostTV, this app brings everything you love about The Washington Post to the big screen. It also includes an exclusive news program called The Fold, which is designed to provide bite-size news snippets directly from the WP newsroom.
Aside from The Fold, PostTV also brings a mid-morning newscast all about what's happening in Washington called News In 59 Seconds, as well as an "ongoing political series featuring analysis from top reporters out on the Campaign 2012 trail called Trail Mix.
Chances are, most of you only ever hear about Epix in an article discussing streaming rights (like this one). Epix is an online streaming video service a la Netflix that you can only get access to if you have a cable bundle that includes the site. Or, you know, if you have Netflix. For now anyway. The real value of Epix is the stable of movie rights it brings to the table, and now the joint venture is sharing its media library with Amazon Instant Video for all of the online retail giant's Prime customers.