Apple-Google battle expected to spill over into living rooms

Companies compete to pipe video and other content from web to TV

Customers trying out the iPad now available in Dubai. The device with an open, colour touchscreen, is designed for surfing the web, watching movies and reading, and has been hailed by the publishing industry as a potential lifesaver. -Image Credit: VIRENDRA SAKLANI /Gulf News

San Francisco/Los Angeles: Another battle is brewing between Apple and Google, and this time it may come into your living room.
One week after Google announced its bid for the hearts and eyes of America’s TV viewers with internet-based Google TV, its Silicon Valley rival is reportedly poised to overhaul its own offering, Apple TV.

The stakes are high. Whoever wins could play a leading role in one of the great technological transformations of recent memory by piping limitless video and other content from the internet and television to the small screen. Americans spend several hours a day in front of their televisions, creating what some analysts estimate to be a $150 billion (Dh550 billion) advertising market.

“A generation from now, people simply won’t believe how limited the world of linear programming was, the same way people under 30 today can’t relate to 12 channels and a knob,” said Jim Lanzone, chief executive of Clicker.com, an internet TV programming guide.

Online video
Nearly 40 per cent of consumers said they wanted to connect their computers to their televisions to watch online video, according to a recent survey by Frank N. Magid Associates. Yet internet television has remained largely a pipe dream for the brightest, richest technology companies including Microsoft.

“It’s much harder to marry a 50-year-old technology and a brand-new technology than those of us in the brand-new technology industry thought,” Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt acknowledged.

The revamped Apple TV is likely to have features that will enable viewers to stream entertainment and content from the internet, similar to #Google-TV, which is pushing a new generation of internet-connected televisions and home entertainment devices that run on Google’s Android software.

Google TV would enable viewers to quickly pull up web content on their TVs including photos, video and music, using an on-screen search box like the one on its website. Apple’s new version of its TV set-top box may have much of the functionality found on its runaway success iPhone.

It is also looking at slashing the price to $99 from $229.

It would also put the A4 processor that powers its computers under the hood.

Analysts say Google may get closer to merging the two media than any other previous attempt. But there is a major potential stumbling block. Media companies could object to having their online video content streamed on Google TV because it could harm their traditional TV business.


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