Where is Linux on TV headed?
Buyers today pay a premium to get TVs that can stream movies directly from the Internet. The shipment of Internet TVs are growing, and it's only a matter of time before every TV includes Wi-Fi or some kind of Ethernet port.
The value of TVs as a computing device are finally being discovered, and therein lies an opportunity for application developers. Linux is leading the way of bringing Internet to TVs, but developers are wondering type of applications would work on TVs.
For now, Sony, Samsung and Vizio bundle Internet apps into HDTVs. Users can run apps such as Netflix or Hulu to stream videos directly to their TVs. Viewers are also hesitant, and have just started comprehending the idea of Internet and TV together.
According to Google, the next opportunity could surround bringing the full Internet and cloud to HDTVs. Google has announced Google TV, an Android-based platform that blends Internet and broadcast, making it easier for users to search for programs on both mediums.
Google TV allows users can also tweet in real time on a TV about a program they may be watching. Developers in turn need to write programs that are optimized for large screens.
But many questions come to mind. Will users throw away remote controls and use keyboards instead? Will people really want to be distracted by a tweet when watching a TV program?
Only time will tell. We'll perhaps get answers from Sony, which has built Google TV inside its Internet TV set. Logitech is also offering Google TV for a wider range of TVs through its Revue set-top box.
The competition to Google TV will be Meego, a Linux distro from Intel and Nokia. Developed via the Linux Foundation, the OS will go into TVs, smartphones, tablets, cars, ATMs, you name it.
The aim of Google TV and Meego is to provide more Internet to TV, but they will need strong complementary hardware. The first wave of Internet TV is being driven by Apple TV or Roku, which concentrate mainly on streaming movies.
There are many other factors that will define the success of Internet TV, such as bandwidth availability, regulation and cooperation from cable providers. But it certainly is a space worth watching.