Google has an official remote app for their set top boxes, and it’s not too shabby, but there’s a fair amount it can’t do. That’s where Able Remote comes in. Not only can it handle multiple Google TV boxes with ease, but it provides many handy features like an app launcher, direct access to TV channels, a customizable button structure, and a ton more.
If you own one of Sonys Google TV devices, its now considerably easier to curl up with a flick or two. Google has just pushed out a 2.1.1 update that allows watching movies rented through Google Play as well as in the browser, with YouTube. The update rollout should grace both Internet TVs and Internet Blu-ray Disc Player owners within the next two days. Logitech Revue viewers arent quite so well off: Google is only asking them to "stay tuned," which to us is a sign we shouldnt give up Netflix just yet.
In the future, Google hopes to use the TV sets to beef up the audience for its Google Plus social network. Google Plus will be integrated into future iterations of Google TV so viewers can recommend content to friends and do Google “Hangouts” — Google’s group video chat service — with their friends via television.
While there hasn’t been much news about Google TV itself lately, the YouTube app for Google TV is getting an update today. Google says that its developers have “been working like it’s a 24/7 hackathon over here to bring all of YouTube to your Google TV.” With this update, the developers have added recommendations, a Google+ button and the ability to search for channels. The new version now also handles suddenly drops in bandwidth more gracefully.
At the center of the revamped Google TV experience that rolled out last fall is its TV & Movies app, which is a blended guide of content currently airing live on TV and available for streaming from the popular internet services Netflix, Amazon, HBO Go. As Product Manager Rishi Chandra mentioned when we caught up with him at CES, personalization is something Google will be focusing on going forward and thats shown in the updated app being pushed out today.
Sony is making some more definitive statements on its plans to bring Google TV across to Europe. According to financial paper, Les Échos, Sony Frances marketing director said that two devices, a set-top box, priced at €200 $266 and a Blu-ray player, selling for €300 $399, will launch in France this September. The paper reports that it could launch across the UK, Spain and Germany at the same time. Sonys Stephane Labrousse added that remotes for the new devices would also include a dedicated Android Market Google Play button to access the Android progenitors apps and media content. The Japanese manufacturers own Music Unlimited service will also be baked inside. Phew. Theres no word just yet on whether these are the older Intel-based models or the new, possibly cheaper, ARM range set to ship later this year. However, we expect to hear plenty more noise from Sony on its Smart TV intentions over the next few months.
Google today announced another step in the build-out of its Google TV service: it is adding several new international channels in the form of apps to the Google TV platform, aimed at those who live in the U.S. but are missing content from home. Among them are a mix of entertainment and news services, including al-Jazeera, the Chinese-language PPTV, the IslamBox collection of channels, Yupp TV (another aggregator, this time of Indian content) and Japan’s Crunchyroll.
Since the Boxee Box and original Google TV v1 hardware share Intel Atom processors at their heart users have wondered about the opportunity for a port, and as seen above, that may have been achieved. GTVHacker tweeted out the picture tonight, promising “big things” in store for owners of rooted Sony Google TV devices while showing Boxee running on a Sony NSZ-GT1 Blu-ray player. There’s no other details mentioned so far, but if you managed to open up the capabilities of your hardware before an update put the kibosh on rooting, you should have some extra capabilities coming your way shortly.
Real-time media streamer Plex has been refreshed on Google TV, following the smart TVs own recent firmware upgrade. The UI now looks easier to navigate with quicker access to recently added content. When it comes to the streaming media itself, youll still need to have a Plex server setup on a separate PC or Mac but the app still supports your dedicated myPlex content and your friends shared files. Plexs latest Media Server update also solves some iOS app problems alongside a handful of other stability and compatibility issues. The new Google TV version of the catch-all media platform isnt live just yet, but you can grab last months version at the source and gird yourself for the incoming update.