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Google Rolls out Google TV Website

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Before the set-top box wars become a two-product competition between Apple TV and Roku, Google wants to remind consumers that there's a third option coming out. Google has just launched the Google TV site, an attractively sleek space that takes readers on a virtual walk-through of the upcoming platform.

Judging by the site, Google knows that the advanced features of Google TV are both an asset and a liability. While the platform will allow viewers to do more than a Roku device or the Apple TV, there's a chance that buyers will reject it simply because it looks too complicated.

The site highlights a few key features that will separate Google TV from it's competition. The service will allow people to combine TV and online experiences, easily searching out online programs, for example, or letting people use social networks while browsing a show. Google TV will also offer apps at launch. While it's widely rumored that the Apple TV will eventually have apps, it didn't offer that feature at launch. Above all, the Google TV site aims to make the platform's advanced features look easy.

Buyers will be able to experience Google TV by buying a "smart TV" from Sony or the Logitech Revue set-top box, the site explains. While neither product is available yet, people can sign up to be notified when they are.

Besides launching the site, Google has announced programming partners that will stream to Google TV. CNBC will offer a real-time stock app, while HBO will offer access to HBO Go for subscribers. Netflix Watch Instantly will also be supported. A handful of cable networks are optimizing their sites for easy viewing on Google TV. Conspicuously missing from the list are any major networks.

Along with the upcoming Boxee Box, that makes four high-profile set-top boxes that either have launched or will launch this holiday season. While the Google TV will undoubtedly do more than the competition and Apple has built a large and eager fan base, buyers have shown an extreme sensitivity to price in this category. We expect little Roku to have an especially joyous holiday season.

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