Google and Apple square off in screen wars

remote controlsIf media is part of the “attention warfare” business then the lines are being drawn for the next big battle – The War of the Living Room.

Google TV and Apple TV are facing off with set-top boxes that combine television and the web, with the promise to change forever the way we consume content.

Search, apps and social networks will all collide in the magic rectangle that was your television to create a powerful new viewing platform.

There are myriad technical challenges, user interface issues and education messages to overcome but the implications are wide and profound.

According to TV Nation 2010, a Radio Times and survey on the nation’s viewing habits, a third of TV viewers now watch their favourite progammes online, on computers and mobile phones.

For viewers the distinction between web and broadcast will become increasingly blurred.

However things shake out, Google looks to be in pole position to dominate another area of our lives.

It owns YouTube, the world’s most popular online video community, it dominates the search market processing over a billion requests per day, and is rated the most powerful brand in the world by brand equity database Brandz.

Last year, Marissa Mayer told the US Congress at a hearing about the future of journalism that Google send more than a billion page views every month to print publications.

So what might Google do with Google TV?

Well, there are already glimpses of what’s to come. There’s the developing news and politics blog Citizentube, there’s the YouTube Reporters’ Center to “Help You Report The News” and there’s YouTube Leanback which is designed to play in full screen, in HD, and without any browsing or clicking.

It’s based on a feed of your YouTube preferences and as soon as video ends another starts. You can also link your feed to your Facebook account to see what friends are sharing, or simply type in a search term to create a “channel”.

You can take a quick tour of Google TV here

In a lighter take on events, New York Times tech writer David Pogue argues the case for Apple TV against its cheaper, less restricted Roku competitor.


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