LG to Launch Google TV Models on May 21
Will Google TV catch on in 2012? The answer rests partly with LG Electronics, which will offer second-generation Google TV-enabled sets the week of May 21, according to a Reuters report.
"Production of Google TVs will start from May 17 from our factory in Mexico, and U.S. consumers will be able to buy the product from the week of May 21," Reuters quoted Ro Seogho, executive vice president of LG's TV business unit, as saying.
Reuters notes that 60 percent of LG's models will use its own NetCast platform, showing that the manufacturer isn't making a huge bet with Google TV.
Paid Content notes that LG will offer two 3D-capable Google TV models: a 47-inch model for $1,699 and a 55-inch (vertical) model for $2,299. In April, CNET reviewed the 47-inch model and wasn't impressed. "The Google TV interface isn't as easy to use as any other TV interface you'd care to name," the review noted.
Google TV is an underdog, after a poor initial launch with Logitech as a device partner. Logitech lost $100 million in the release. Sony, Vizio, and Samsung should release Google TV models later this year. While Google TV offers a superior experience for navigating online content through a television, consumers so far have shown indifference to how they connect from their TVs. A February report from NPD In-Stat found that half of the people who purchase smart TVs never connect them to the Internet at all.
LG's road map for 2013 includes OLED TVs, ultra high-definition sets, connected TVs, and one-finger gesture support.
Viewers need top premium programming to tune in to connected TVs, and they need to be able to view that content however they want.
An improved Smart TV interface will offer more customization options and content partners.
On the eve of the Consumer Electronics Show, Google makes a splash with key partnerships that promise a strong year for the battered connected TV platform.