New Google TV Devices Finally On The Way

The Google (NSDQ: GOOG) TV reset that started last fall with software updates for existing Sony (NYSE: SNE) hardware heads into the next phase with the unveiling of the first new devices and TVs in more than a year at CES.

But despite plans to show off devices and sets next week in Las Vegas, don’t expect sales of new Google TV hardware from Sony or new partners Samsung and LG (SEO: 066570) anytime soon. The best estimate I can get from a knowledgeable so far is “first half of the year.” Vizio, announced last year at CES as a partner, will show some Google TV-powered sets for the first time. (More details in a Google TV blog post.)

While Sony is returning for more, Logitech, which made the poorly received Revue set-top, isn’t in the mix this time. Intel (NSDQ: INTC) is also out. Instead, Google TV will rely on chips from Marvell (NASDAQ: MRVL) and MediaTek for some new devices, while LG will use its own L9 chipset.

LG’s plans for Android-based Google TV, detailed on the company’s UK blog, include a U.S. launch this year, with UK scheduled for 2013. The sets will blend Google TV with LG’s own technology, including Cinema 3D, Smart TV and a qwerty-keyboard remote.

This time around, Google TV has to deliver on all fronts, especially to meet Chairman Eric Schmidt’s boast that it will ship on the majority of TV sets by mid-2012 and, more important, to actually be used by consumers. The software update was a significant improvement but it must be matched by hardware that is as easy to use and can be sold at price points that make sense beyond early adopters. Google TV 1.0 was more hype than action; Google TV 2.0 needs marketing that moves beyond hype and action that backs it up.

I had the chance to talk about the shortcomings of Google TV 1.0 and the new efforts with Mario Queiroz, VP of product development for Google, at our paidContent Entertainment conference in November. The video of that interview is embedded below:

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(Disclosure: separately, Google TV was a sponsor of paidContent Entertainment. I also have used review units.)