Las Vegas — Samsung Electronics does indeed have a pair of Google TV-based devices — a Blu-ray player and a standalone box (pictured below) — at its CES booth.
But the company doesn’t seem to have its heart in it. It’s stuck off in the corner, and both times I stopped by nobody was manning the demo.
Instead, Samsung is prominently featuring its own — very slick — Smart TV interface, which includes a search capability that spans TV and the Web and some very cool animation.
And, in his keynote yesterday, Samsung president BK Yoon brought out Comcast’s Brian Roberts and Time Warner Cable’s Glenn Britt to talk about how they are delivering cable programming to Samsung TVs, tablets and smartphones (see CES: Comcast, TWC To Hook Into Samsung’s Smart TVs, Tablets).
One possible reason for the Google unlove: The Google TV software is getting revamped.
Google reportedly asked partners including Toshiba, LG Electronics and Sharp to postpone their CES launches of Google TV products. According to the New York Times, the Internet giant needed more time to improve the software (see Google TV Cancels CES Launches: Report).
But I thought Yoon’s comments yesterday about Internet-connected TVs were revealing: “Smart TV is not a PC. Smart TV is an enhanced experience… that lets you share and access content, without any hassle and without the need for a keyboard.”
Note that the Logitech and Sony products both include keyboards, and that Google TV requires essentially PC-level hardware: an Intel Atom processor; at least 4 Gigabytes of flash memory to store data and buffer video; and 1 Gigabyte of dynamic random access memory (see Google TV: Up to $300 Price Premium?).
In any case, the fact that Samsung has two different Internet TV platforms (that is, assuming they move ahead on the Google TV front) points to the growing complexity for content and service provider partners of having to work with each individual manufacturer.
Here’s a pic of Samsung’s own Smart TV interface, which has “Xfinity TV” and “TWCable TV” tiles: