Archos has announced its latest gizmo, the TV connect, that brings Google Play just the way Google intended, through its on-the-rise internet TV system, Google TV.
There are plenty of ways to get Android on your TV — from smartphone docks, to dongles and even the officially sanctioned Google TV. Google TV has had usability issues ever since it launched in 2010, even though it promised almost endless content available through the internet, and Google Play in addition to cable TV. Early users were frustrated – misleading dialog boxes, poor interface and error messages – and felt that this TV viewing experience was cumbersome. Google, however, continued to improve this facet of its innovation and maintained that TV viewers were moving from “a world of limited choice to unlimited choice”. And so, the updated version of Google TV is set to hit LG televisions, and then to second-generation products, with an improved GUI, easier net connectivity and better smartphone/tablet to TV sync. A noteworthy upgrade is the presence of a voice recognition software, that pulls movies or shows and even answers basic voice commands through Google search results.
Archos TV Connect is an Android-powered computer device cum set-top-box that helps you watch Youtube videos and run thousands of applications like Netflix, Google Talk and Skype. It also provides full, no-holds barred access to Google Play, a feature that many had been waiting for ever since Google TV compatible devices came out in 2010. Hardware components include a HD camera and a handheld remote with dozens of buttons and a pair of pointer sticks to simulate a touchscreen experience on a one-of-a-kind controller. In addition to all that, it has a full QWERTY keypad, a D-pad, the 4 gamepad buttons, standard Android keys and a volume control bar. Not to mention an onscreen cursor that senses the motion of the controller when pointed at the TV. With its controller having a design and form factor similar to the Atari game consoles of yesteryear, this baby connects to the internet through WiFi or more common and hassle-free broadband via an ethernet cable. Powered by a 1.5GHz “multi core” CPU, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of expandable storage, the TV Connect hopes to change the way modern viewers perceive internet TV.
Although it is predicted that the systems won’t attract new users by the millions any time soon, as WebTV seems to have been around for almost two decades, they reflect Google’s painstaking efforts to hold a strong presence on every connected screen in a person’s life. It joins the list of brands vying for living-room domination, which include Apple, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, while showing an apparent empathy towards the woes of everyday television viewers by offering virtually anything on air.
This device has Android Jelly Bean up and running and will be available in stores from this february for around $130, but is worth the money in comparison with the standard $99 box.