Could Samsung and ARM Save Google TV?


Despite having its own TV software and app platform, Samsung has long been rumored to potentially build TVs and Blu-ray players based on the Google TV (s GOOG) operating system. The latest report, which came from Bloomberg Thursday, is that Samsung is considering releasing Google TV products based on ARM (s ARMH) rather than Intel (s INTC) chips. The addition of another chip platform to the Google TV ecosystem could not only boost distribution of Google’s operating system for connected devices, but also lower the cost of those products for CE makers and consumers alike.

While announced to much fanfare last year, Google TV has had a difficult time gaining traction in the market. One reason commonly cited for the lack of consumer adoption is the price of Google TV-based products, which typically run several hundreds of dollars more than comparable Internet-connected TVs. The Logitech Revue set-top box, for instance, was introduced with a price tag of $299, which is $200 more than products like the Roku and Apple TV, and $100 more than the Boxee Box.

That price premium is due in part to the cost of materials required to run the Google TV OS, which include pricey Intel Atom processors, 1GB of unified RAM for video and application data and an additional 4GB of persistent flash memory for system and data storage. While Google execs have said over and over they believe people will pay for the added value they get from being able to access the web and selected applications on their TVs, so far, consumers haven’t shown much interest in paying a premium for Google TV devices.

But if Samsung creates Google TV devices based on ARM chips, it has the potential to offer those connected TVs and Blu-ray players at a lower cost than current products running the OS. That’s because ARM processors are generally cheaper than those from Intel, which is one reason so many Google Android mobile devices use ARM chipsets.

For now, the “will they, won’t they” question of whether or not Samsung will fully support Google TV deployments remains up in the air. After all, Samsung has already invested heavily in its own software and integrated app store. But if Google makes ARM chip support available for Samsung, it could not only help spur adoption of the platform, but it could help lower the cost of building devices based on the OS for other CE manufacturers.

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I have to pitch in with other comments that Google, for whatever reason, released a weak product. It doesn’t do very much, doesn’t do that well, and hasn’t gotten much better since its introduction. I do use the Netflix app for lack of anything equivalent at my home, but with this keyboard in my hand, it is odd to have to jump to a real computer to do more than the simplest things. There is one UI glitch after another, the apps are clunky and bandwidth-heavy, and the whole experience is somewhat distasteful.

A tiny flicker of light for me has been the new aljazeera app. Whatever you may think of their politics, the app is well designed, attractive and easy to use. This is the first positive experience for me in this particular environment. Contrast this with the Huffington Post app (for example), on the surface very similar, but in practice a mess that I have not gone back to.

In any case, $300 is far too much, and if switching to an ARM chip already on-board helps the cost, Google had better jump on it. I wonder how it got on Intel in the first place – maybe ARM was too weak at the time, and Honeycomb has helped them push it far enough for a bigger screen.


Alright I have a google tv blu-ray player.

The thing that WILL save it is not the hardware.

GOOGLE HAS TO COME OUT WITH THE ANDROID MARKET SOON. this will fix all its problems. This is the only thing that will help


It just too expensive for my taste, make it $100 and I would buy one.

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How exactly is lower cost going to make a horrendous UI easier for the average consumer?


Only Google can save Google TV.. If only they can think outside of their geekish minds.


google tv success depends on competitive pricing of google and related products in line with the electronics market.

Lucian Armasu

Hopefully, this means $100 set top boxes, and cheaper Google TV sets, but they also need to work on intuitive controls (physical and virtual) and make the web be much more integrated with the regular experience of watching TV. People don’t want to *browse* the web on TV. They just need to find their shows quickly, whether they are already running on TV or on the web – but it must happen quickly and easily.


I’m gonna go with nothing can “save” Google TV. Good concept, poor execution.

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