Google is preparing for the launch of its smart TV products in the UK in July 2012. The set-top box, made by Sony, will allow users to surf the internet, play games and watch videos on TV.
The box, which will be released in stores on 16 July, is designed to let users switch easily from Twitter and BBC iPlayer to television. Prices will vary from £200 for a basic internet player to £300 for a player with a combined Blu-ray drive, with all boxes coming with an internet remote with full qwerty keyboards.
The launch of the products, which will utilize Google’s existing android technology, is awaited with basic breath by commentators. In 2010 Google’s Christmas launch of a US-based smart TV in partnership with Logitech saw a loss of millions of dollars and, after one quarter in which more of the boxes were returned than sold, Logitech pulled out of the project and production stopped.
Now that the market for smart TVs is growing, with one million of the ten million TV sets sold in the UK in 2010 being internet-compatible, there may be higher chances for success. Youtube, which is owned by Google, features heavily within the internet TV products, and full access to the internet sets this product apart from its competitors.
In a larger market, and with improved software, Google has much higher chances for success with its 2012 launch. However, as the price of the basic box is double that of Apple’s Apple TV, currently selling for £100, and more competitors, including Samsung and LG, have invested in smart TV products, competition is tighter than ever.