Welcome home, Google TV

The Twitter app in Google TV / Logitech RevueIt’s been a few hours since I received the Google TV (thanks Mr. Google & Ms. Logitech) and although it’s soon to say if I’ll end up using it for real, let me share some early thoughts with you.

Before I start, please note I don’t have a cable TV subscription. Therefore,  I’m not the typical target user for this device as one of its strong points is to be able to search across the hundreds of channels these subscriptions normally include (I personally don’t need or have time to watch them).

  • Best thing about the Google TV is to have a full-screen full-fledged Google Chrome (with Flash) in your TV. It’s delicious to browse the tubes in your large TV, and specially GMail. Ctrl + Tab works too.
  • Wish list for Chrome: to be able to read PDFs, and remember passwords like the desktop version.
  • Unfortunately many sites have blocked their content to Google TV, like Fox, Daily Show, and Hulu (shame on them). The trick of changing the user agent to default didn’t work, I still have to try a more elaborated one.
  • Multi-tasking is fantastic.
  • The included apps works reasonably well (I tried Twitter, Pandora…). Two big exceptions are Netflix and Amazon Video On Demand. Their quality is worse (!?) than the apps already included in my TV or DVD player (1 year old). Maybe I’m missing something but they don’t seem to stream in HD.
  • Nice they have a kind of Google Listen included, but it’d be better if it synchronized with the Android version (which uses Google Reader). I don’t want to re-add all my podcasts.
  • It’s lacking a major software update with more features and, specially, apps. Would it be possible to use the normal Android Market with the Google TV?
  • The keyboard works OK as a keyboard, but it’s too complex.

Overall, it looks like a device I’ll keep using but that I’m glad I didn’t have to pay for it. I can’t wait to see Google updating the system substantially, and convincing Hulu to open up. That’d be another story.