For Long Run Performance Bet on Google TV

Maybe Steve Job's performance at a product introduction is  more dramatic than Eric Schmidt's.  Maybe there's  a lot of hurdles for tv that is truly integrated with the pc and Internet, hurdles like recruiting more electronics manufactures and retailers as “partners”, finding a market at a high price point then gradually building volume to drive that price point down.  Hurdles or no, if I had to choose between iPad and Google TV for long term performance, my money is on Google.

First, Google's got a nice running start on the partners problem, with Sony, Logitech and Best Buy on board.

Second, there's a  substantial market for home entertainment systems and two major niches within this market will be early adopters for whom Google TV is a must have – the “just give me the best of everything” crowd and the “must be the first to have the latest in tech” crowd.

Third, guys always want more size. (This is getting close to the line, but I promise not to use “performance” in this paragraph, even if it is a key word.)  When purchasing a tv or monitor, the proper size can be determined with a simple practical measurement.  Go to the full size movie theater nearest you.  Sit front row center.  Put a sheet of paper on your lap with a dot near the middle. Draw a line from the dot towards the left edge of the movie screen, ending at the edge of your paper.  Now a second line toward the right edge of the movie screen.  Take the paper home, sit in your favorite chair and extend those lines out to intersect the wall on which you will hang your tv.  Your new tv should be wide enough  so that its edges go to the points of intersection – in other words recreate that movie theater front row  viewing angle at home.  Most will be surprised to learn they need a set with with a screen diagonal of at least 91 inches.  Sorry, I got a little off track there.  I've tried to explain this to my wife so many times it just pops out.

The more size thing is not just a joke.  Seriously, what's the iPad.  It feels less like a revolution than a solution to a problem – PDA apps got too cool for tiny little screens.  Recognizing that there may always be room for the iPad (carrying those 91 inch tvs can be awkward, and then there's the whole cord issue) isn't bigger better.  iPad has a beautiful Kindle display.  Cute.  Now put it on a big screen so you can read from your favorite chair and rev up the magic of apps to come.  An auto search that finds related videos as you read, so that you can turn the page of Alice and Wonderland into a giant, Blue Ray illustration starring Johnny Depp. That's performance.  When you finish your book switch to a youtube stand-up performance, in giant screen.  Forget apps to come.  Just having a really good search function for program selection might be worth the price of admission.

Fourth, Job's is a product design and marketing genius, but Eric and Sergey think deeper.  The closed source, we're in control approach can reduce bugs and increase profits, but long term I'm betting on the guys who knew when to say “enough” to the PRC..

Photo Credit: Robert Couse-Baker