Apple TV and Google TV were both released in the US last week. While it’s been too short a time to generate any worthwhile data about which product is proving more popular with consumers, we can examine the basic features of each so Australians will have an idea of what to expect when the two gadgets eventually launch down under.
Hardware and Software
Apple’s set-top box holds true to the brand’s traditionally sleek, minimalist design, and runs on the same 1GHz Apple A4 Chip that powers the iPhone 4 and iPad.
Google TV is channelled through the Revue box, hardware manufactured by Logitech. It’s a slightly larger, much less pretty box that is powered by an 1.2GHz Intel Atom Z515 microprocessor.
Where Google TV really stands out is with its insane 4GB of RAM, which it needs to support its huge range of nerdy add-ons and extras. Apple TV, in contrast, has been designed to keep things simple and easy, appealing to users who cannot be bothered with navigating complicated interfaces.
One final difference: As should go without saying, Google TV supports Flash while Apple TV does not.
OS and Apps
The iOS and Android square off yet again. iOS is renowned for being easy to use, however it is a closed system lacks the freedom offered by Android.
While Apple TV currently does not offer access to the App Store, Google has enabled programmers to create their own Google TV compatible apps for distribution on the open market.
This means that Google TV users will be able to experience the latest games and services in their own living rooms, but at what is sure to be at the price of their systems becoming slower and more unreliable with each unregulated app downloaded.
The devices share roughtly equal web connectivity ability.
Apple TV users can download or stream content from iTunes, or rent online films through Netflix. Google TV offers Netflix, Naptser, Pandora, Amazon Video on Demand, and a host of other providers.
Google TV also comes with Chrome preinstalled, while Apple TV lacks a web browser to access content on YouTube and other media sharing sites.
Both systems allow content streaming between compatible gadgets: users can begin watching something on their iPhone or Android when they’re out and about, and “flick” it over to their TVs to finish watching when they get home.
Often the most important consideration. Apple TV is retailing for $99 USD, while Google TV triples the price tag at $299 USD.
Google TV is for geeks who want to take lounging in front of the box to a whole new level. Apple TV is for people who just want to watch TV.