Android TV Just Gave My TV A Panic Attack

“Honey, make room for another blinking light beneath the TV monitor. Google announced its new connected TV platform.”

“There is already a Google something under there, isn’t there?”

“That’s the way outdated Google TV. We haven’t used that in years.”

“No, the thing that looks like a flash drive with a fat butt.”

“Oh, you mean the Chromecast dongle. No, that still works and is good. This is different and new.”

“So why does Google need even another thing on the TV?”

“Well, it needs to compete more directly with Apple and the other connected TV boxes and the cable companies with something that looks and feels more like those models. And it hopes to integrate it with TVs so it will be baked in. Never mind they are confusing the market with two brands now -- Android TV and Chromecast. For as long as I have been covering Google they seem to mistake their audience for themselves, engineering types who love unnecessary complexity.”

“I think you are scaring the TV with all of this talk of another box or attachment. What have you got under there already?”

“Well, there is the Roku, Apple TV, Xbox One and PS3, along with the Chromecast. They do most of what we need.”

“Are you listening to yourself? What can this possibly do the other can’t?”

“Well, Android TV is going to also let you pick up mobile games you are playing on a tablet or handset on the TV. So it essentially becomes a games console.”

“Candy Crush on a 60-inch screen? How did we live without that? Look -- I think the TV is sweating. You have so many cables running in and out of it. I don't think this TV likes that so many things seems to be battling for its soul. I am pretty sure it groans when you change inputs now.”

“This is a battle for the very future of the most important medium of them all. Our taste in media has fragments across all of these other screens now, and those screens each want to come back and wreak havoc on the TV. Of course it is going to be messy.”

“The TV is limping. I think it ruptured something. What TV could put up with this pressure? All it wants to do is lean back and show and you keep flipping inputs, going through TV shows, Web videos, home movies, slides, podcasts.”

“You are projecting. This is you talking, not the TV. You hate the multichanneling. But you don’t hate it when I let us review all the Jon Stewart and "Colbert Report" best bits we missed over the last few days by using the Yahoo video app on Apple TV.

“But you spend half your time switching inputs, rooting through menus using your phone as a remote, and ratcheting  through piles and piles of video until you find the stuff you want. That is not watching TV. That is more like digging through a basement.”

“It will get better. Eventually these different inputs will get unified so it is easy to just go to the live, recorded, Web, rental video you want from a single search box. Or the recommendation engine will be smart enough to surface what you most want to watch.”

“Then we will be able to lean back again?”

“Yes.”

“When will that be, do you think?”

“After all of the hardware, Web, network, startup, cable and satellite providers finally get behind a standard that actually integrates this mess.”

“So TV is going to be incredible when we retire?”

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