Smart TVs are set to become big in the next couple of years (and possibly much sooner if Apple’s iTV turns out to be true), and Google TV is at the forefront of the technology. It is relatively unknown to most people, but an important step to bringing the World Wide Web to the masses. Google TV is basically the Android OS optimized for TVs. There are quite a few companies that have announced their plans for smart TVs (LG being the most notable), and that’s great news for all the current Google TV owners – the platform is here to stay.
If you own a set top box running Google TV or are just planning on acquiring one, you should know that the strength of the platform is in the third party apps that are on the marketplace – there are already quite a few of them, and new ones are being ported and released every month. Here are just a few of the best apps that work with Google TV and which you should definitely check out when you get the chance:
OnLive is the future of gaming, and if you still haven’t heard about the service, you should definitely check it out as soon as you get the chance. OnLive basically gives you the ability to play any PC games on any device, from underpowered laptops and netbooks to the iPhone, iPad, Android tablets and smartphones and of course, Google TV sets. The technology behind it is really simple and amazing – all the heavy processing is done on a remote cluster of servers, and the player receives a video feed of the game, while also transmitting control signals through the app. All you need is a good Internet connection. If you have a Google TV set, be sure to give this app a try – it works great even without a specialized controller, and I’m sure it will amaze you.
Dolphin Browser HD
If you want to get the best Web browsing experience on your TV, you should definitely download Dolphin Browser. It is pretty much the best browser for Android and it works perfectly fine on Google TV, as well. The browser has everything you can think of – support for tabs, full support for AJAX and Flash (you can even watch Flash videos inside the browser window), plugins and themes, and more.
Spotify is all the rage when it comes to music streaming, and it’s easy to see why – the service lets you stream any of the 15 million+ songs to your computer, phone, tablet or in this case, TV set, and you can buy the song if you like it, share it with your friends, find and play the lyrics along with the song, view artist information, get tickets to concerts, find similar songs and much more. The app is made for Android, but it works fine with Google TV, as well.
If you have an iPhone or iPad and would like to stream video to your Google TV box wirelessly, Airtight is what you need. It is an app that works with Apple’s Airplay, and it’s pretty good at receiving video and displaying it on the big screen – you can even use your phone as a remote. Sadly, there’s still no support for music streaming, but developers say that it’s coming soon.
News360 is the only news app you’ll ever need. It aggregates the latest news from all over the world, front hundreds of sources, and presents it to you in a clear and easy to read format. If you like keeping up with the news and knowing all the points of view, News360 is a great addition to your Google TV app collection.
If you have a Logitech Revue, Sony Internet Blu-Ray player or a Sony Internet TV set (the only devices running Google TV at the moment), you should definitely check out some of the apps that are available for your platform. The latest Google TV update brings support for new features, and with a couple of third party apps, you can turn your smart TV into the home entertainment platform you always wanted. Start by checking the apps listed above and work your way from there.