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.

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I have something to confess

Ffffffffff...I don’t have a TV at home.

Yes, I know, it sounds terrifying. The house where I live is fantastic. I have a splendid terrace, a big room, all kind of furniture, wonderful flatmates… everything is perfect, but there is no TV. Nine months already. Well, we actually have one but it’s broken. Or we haven’t payed the subscription to watch the channels. Or something like that, to be honest I never tried to turn it on.

If I want to watch a movie, I rent it and I play it on the computer. Or I borrow it from friends. It may seem weird, but I’ve even bought a TV series on DVD. Unfortunately I can’t download files from the Internet at home, but I’ve been watching some movies I had downloaded before. And I go to the cinema.

You may wonder if I ever felt the need of watching a particular TV program. The answer is a categorical “yes”. For example, I remember I wanted to watch a program in March in the Spanish public channel. However I found out that they have a working P2P mechanism and that the computer is more than enough. I had the same problem few weeks ago, I wanted to see a new program… which is publishing the videos in Youtube.

Alright. I have to admit that from time to time I really need a TV. That happens when Real Madrid is playing the Champions League. Or with Fernando Alonso, or for the rugby championship (yes, I’ve been perversely influenced). However I’ve discovered that the neighborhood is plenty of great Irish pubs where you can see all kind of matches (you won’t imagine the actual density of matches per day!). And with friends, enjoying a warmer atmosphere. And eating delicious food.

I don’t have a TV at home, and it’s terrific.