Google TV: Up to $300 Price Premium?

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The components necessary to run Google TV — the Internet giant’s platform designed to merge Web searches and YouTube content into a regular part of watching television — could add as much as $300 to the retail price of a TV, according to one industry executive’s analysis.

Basically, Google TV requires the equivalent of a small PC. And that could make it a nonstarter (see Google TV: Following in TiVo’s Footsteps).

According to an exec with an electronics-components supplier, Google TV devices will require three pricey components with a total bill of materials between $50 and $75: an Intel Atom processor; at least 4 Gigabytes of flash memory to store data and buffer video; and 1 Gigabyte of DDR3 (double-data-rate three synchronous dynamic random access memory).

That’s a significant extra cost for typical digital TVs, whose components excluding the panel are in the $100-$200 range, and ultimately could add $200 to $300 to the suggested retail price. For Google TV, “the digital TV OEMs may need to embrace models in the cell phone industry, where they subsidize the retail cost of the device,” the executive speculated.

Google declined to comment on the cost estimate, saying pricing will be determined by partners. Company executives have said they expect the premium for Google TV devices to be similar to the difference between smartphones like the iPhone and regular mobile handsets (dumbphones?).

The Intel Atom CE4100 processor — which has up to 1.2 GHz of processing capacity — will power both the Logitech and Sony devices. Logitech and Sony haven’t announced pricing for their Google TV products, which are supposed to hit store shelves this fall (see Google Sinks Teeth Into TV With Dish and Others).

Over time, consumer-electronics makers could reduce the bill of materials by integrating the components needed for Google TV with the rest of the system architecture, the exec added: “Maybe you would just need an image coprocessor in the TV instead of a powerful processor” like the Atom.

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