The original incarnation of the Apple TV has been noted as a blip on the radar of Web video enthusiasts. “Too closed,” “too expensive,” “too early.” Last week, Apple announced its long-awaited update on the Apple TV, a new version of the device that is not as closed (it will include Netflix Watch Instantly), not as expensive (only $99), and also pretty late in the smart TV world. Will people adapt to the new device when it’s released in a matter of months? For better or worse, the smart TV landscape is a lot more crowded:
Analysts say that with Apple TV, the company is well positioned to take a bolder step into Internet television in the next year or two. And they say that its most significant impact, at least in the short term, is likely to be not on the established television industry’s incumbents, but rather on new players like Roku, Boxee or Google.
Google has yet to enter the market but is expected to release in November its first version of Google TV. The company’s approach is more ambitious, more complex and notably different from Apple’s.
Google wants its software to be at the center of the television viewing experience. The software system will be built into televisions and will let people have access to any Web site and Web video, and easily search for programming. Prices for Google TV devices have not been announced.
Boxee is also trying to marry much of the Web with the television set, as well as stream programming from Netflix and other sources. The company’s box is expected to go on sale in the fall for $199.