So, TV manufacturers are embedding Internet capabilities in their TVs and set-top boxes. I’ve recently had experience of a couple of platforms – Qriocity via my brother’s new Blu-Ray player, and Vieracast via my Dad’s Skype-enabled TV.
So: what is Qriocity? Well, the full Qriocity platform enables TV, film and music on demand – a la Spotify Premium crossed with iTunes. It’s priced comparably with iTunes and pretty easy to use. However, the real kicker here is that YouTube, iPlayer and various other Internet TV services work seamlessly (other than the fact a remote is not in any way optimised for typing into an Internet TV search bar), rather than Qriocity itself. This is awesome – easy access to everything from iPlayer HD to a bunch of other services. V. impressed.
Vieracast, by contrast, brings up a series of apps that let you access network-enabled widgets, of which Skype is one. Skype on a TV should be a good thing but – it’s not HD, so looks mediocre, you can’t use your normal Skype account if, like me, you have “too many” contacts, and its fiddly to configure for the same reason that the Sony remotes are rubbish for search – typing on a TV without a keyboard is tedious. Other apps are pretty limited, responsiveness is a bit sluggish, and on the whole it is a slightly underwhelming experience. Not to mention that the TV doesn’t come with a built-in wireless card so we had to hunt for a networking solution (the one supported brand of wireless card, a Netgear jobbie, isn’t widely distributed in Malaysia).
Therefore: de facto winner of this shootout is Sony…!
I’m looking forward to seeing what Google TV has to offer and will resist the lure of Jobs and Apple TV here. My media centre does most things you’d want from an Internet TV service, but I can appreciate it in principle… for other people. Not so much for me…
None of these service socialise TV watching – I think these is still a multi-device experience- watch on TV and couchsurf on iPad or laptop. I remember Joost trying to do real-time social TV but it was too complex for most people to handle and I’ve not heard hide nor hair from them in some time… and I’m certainly not counting Ping as having achieved anything on this front to date.