Google’s new take on TV: Chromecast

Google Chromecast

Google seems to be determined to play a role in the changing world of television. Already the Android based Google TV platform is used by a number of hardware manufacturers like Sony and LG and there are a lot of Android based HDMI sticks that turn your “dumb” TV into a Smart TV.

And then there was the Nexus Q, the failed attempt to bring a Google device in the living room to compete with products like Apple TV.

After the acquisition of Motorola, there was hope that Google would come up with a better set-top box, especially since Motorola had a large set-top box unit, but that was quickly sold to Arris after the acquisition.

Instead of a set-top box, Google is introducing a HDMI-dongle dubbed Chromecast. With Chromecast you can easily stream content selected from your Android or iOS device to your television screen. It does not stream through your mobile device like Apple’s AirPlay, but the device connects to the indicated service through WiFi itself.

Chromecast might seem like a minor development for Google, but it could be part of bigger development. In the past, mobile devices where called the second screen as the television was supposed to be the first screen. This television was to become Smart or should get a set-top box connected to it to act smart. But more and more one can see evidence now that the mobile device is actually the first screen. It is used for discovering streaming content, sharing it, discussing it and even for watching streaming content. Obviously watching your favorite tv show on a big screen is a much better experience, so sometimes one needs a way to stream the content to bigger screen. Enter Chromecast. Based on the same idea as Apple’s AirPlay and other competitors like Flex, Google now offers a way to stream content selected from a mobile device (or even laptop) to the big screen. No longer that screen needs to be smart and no extra remote or keyboard is needed. Just WiFi and the app on your mobile device.

The Chromecast dongle will cost USD 35 and will support Netflix, Google Play and YouTube to begin with, with more services to follow. And thanks to the integration with the Chrome browser (mirror a tab through what Google calls Tab Casting), anything that can be streamed there will also be available through Chromecast on your television.

LG buys webOS, will use it for Smart TV’s

LG Smart TV

LG announced today it has bought all webOS patents and software from HP with the idea of using it to build Smart TV with it.

Back in 2010, webOS came in to the hands of HP when the company bought Palm. After that, several attempts were made to make good use of the operating system, but they all failed.

If LG is really going to use webOS for Smart TV’s, it would mean another ecosystem in the already crowded Smart TV space. And it would also mean that LG has to think about using webOS for mobile phones as smartphones and Smart TV’s are increasingly integrating with each other. More and more mobile devices are used as an EPG or discovery tool that allow streaming to the big screen, but also apps for mobile devices are available on the television. This is one of the major advantages Google has with its Android platform and this is exactly why so many people are expecting something from Apple.

So trying to create an entire new ecosystem might proof to be very difficult if not impossible.

 

LG to invest heavily in OLED TV, mass production will start next year

LG OLED TV

LG started the sales of their flagship Smart TV based on OLED technology today. With over 100 pre-orders for a 55 inch television priced over USD 10,000 (yes, more than ten thousand American Dollars), this was clearly news. But 100 televisions do not make any impact on a global market. LG obviously knows this and is investing in manufacturing facilities to ramp up production. The South Korean company has decided to invest USD 655 in their P9 factory in Paju, South Korea where the 8th generation OLED TV’s will be produced. Large scale production will bring prices down so the competition with other technologies like 4k or Ultra HD is getting more serious.

Listen music with Deezer on your Samsung, LG or Toshiba Smart TV

LG Deezer

Streaming music service Deezer is coming to your television. The French Spotify competitor struck a deal with major Smart TV manufacturers Samsung, LG and Toshiba expanding their global reach substantially.

With a library of  20 million songs and a user base of over 26 million people worldwide, the company is gaining serious traction with this new deal.

The only question that remains is whether or not people are going to use their television to listen to music. It does not seem the most logical thing to do, but as televisions turn more and more into a screen that displays all sorts of streaming content (gaming, video, audio) possibilities it might make sense.

For Deezer it will be probably good news anyway. Being in bed with Samsung Smart TV’s creates a nice position in the massive Samsung ecosystem.