Do you remember the now defunct WebTV? A friend of mine had it a long time ago and I remember thinking that it was the coolest thing ever. When the service was bought out, renamed MSN TV, and stopped being sold, I was sort of sad. I thought it was a really great concept and could have a lot of potential, given that the consumer had the right choices for what could be viewed and what couldn’t. Since the 90s, TV on the Web has come a long way, with services like Netflix and Hulu offering streaming to your console devices and your mobile phones.
It was to be expected that someone would see the potential in the WebTV-like service and run with it. Just over the weekend, the three big contenders for your business have emerged. AppleTV and GoogleTV have stepped out as the main contenders, squaring off in a head to head showdown. With Google TV launching this fall and AppleTV announcing a cheaper 99.00 set, here’s a quick rundown of what the two will bring to your living room.
- Support for Netflix
- HD Rentals for TV/Movies.
- Streaming content to your iPhone, iPad, or Mac devices.
- Share content with AP
- Partnering with TV manufacturers to install boxes onto new televisions.
- Basic service will be free.
- Control TV from Android supported mobile devices.
- Eventual integration into PS3.
The implications of a popular television on the web service would be the million other things that you do through your internet connection. The future could bring video conferencing to your TV and your gaming consoles. Are these announcements another sign that cable TV is starting to be considered obsolete?