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Summary:

Bye-bye Roku, hello Android? Netgear is now looking at Google TV as a potential platform for future media player products. The company had briefly teamed up with Roku to sell co-branded set-top boxes in retail stores, but that partnership didn’t last very long.

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Netgear is evaluating the use of Google TV for future digital living room products, according to a report from Slashgear. A company spokesperson told the website that “as a platform it’s not there yet.” However, that won’t stop Netgear from taking a closer look at the TV operating system, especially now that the release of a big update based on Honeycomb and access to the Android Market is imminent.

Netgear is no stranger to the online video set-top-box market. The company briefly teamed up with Roku last fall, bringing co-branded Roku boxes to retailers in time for the holiday season. However, the honeymooon between the two companies was apparently very short-lived: A Roku spokesperson told us recently that the partnership with Netgear ended “last year.”

The router maker is now trying to corner the market for media players under $100 with its own product dubbed NeoTV, which offers access to some 100 content sources, including Netflix and VUDU.

So why is Netgear looking at Google TV despite having just built its own platform? Access to the Android Market could be a boon for anyone releasing products for this market, and a built-in web browser will give users access to a wide range of additional content.

However, embracing Google TV is not without risks. Logitech recently had to write off millions after its Google TV–powered Logitech Revue set-top box sold far below expectations. The company is now selling the product below cost for $99. Netgear would probably want to wait until bigger players like Samsung and Vizio have rolled out their Google TV products to avoid a similar fate as Logitech’s.

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  1. If they want to avoid Logitech’s fate, they should start by not making $300 set top boxes. Dual core ARM set top boxes for under $100 or quad core Kal-El ones for under $150 should be possible (to benefit gamers who want to take advantage of Android/Google TV games).

  2. Isn’t one of the requirements of Google TV to use hardware based on the Intel Atom framework? Until Google allows Google TV to run on ARM hardware, is the $99 price point feasible?

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