Both Logitech and Sony have launched the first ever Google TV devices. Logitech has launched a TV companion set-top-box, the Logitech Revue that will make your existing HDTV Google TV compatible. Sony has launched a TV-set with Google TV integrated in it.
These devices officially launch the Google TV platform which Google announced at their I/O 2010 event nearly half a year back, with the goal of bringing some of the social internet magic to the living room. Google demonstrated how people could participate with each other socially while watching TV, and watch content created by their friends, family and individuals on sites such as YouTube instead of simply watching content made by huge studios.
One of the best things about the internet is that is it not simply a medium to consume, but to actively participate in. Whether you do in in form of a epic blog posts, or simply by tweeting your latest thoughts, you can participate in the medium rather than just consume it.
Television on the other hand, has since long been a medium only for consumption. Even with interactive services such as Video-On-Demand the only added interactivity was choice on when and what to consume. Google's venture into TV aims to correct this by making Television a much more interactive medium. Is the first idea of a web-connected television, certainly not, but it is significant nonetheless.
To make TV an even richer medium, Google TV will based on Android, and will include the Google Chrome browser. Being based on Android means that developers can create applications for it. With the combination of HTML5 AND Flash 10.1 and Android applications support, Google TV is going to be a rich medium indeed, and a perfect medium for RIA developers.
While the differences between TV and mobile are so vast that it is unlikely any Android Mobile applications will work on it without modification, and any websites and Flash media developed for mobile / desktop will likewise need modification, this does add another medium to reach consumers.
The ways of interacting with televisions is very different from desktops and mobiles. While mobiles nowadays tout multitouch capability, allowing for gestural based interfaces no one with a TV is going to flail about touching their 42" TV screens in the hopes of maximizing the video window! TV's have much larger screens than your average desktop or laptop and need to display information in such a way that it is visible from comparatively larger distances.
What this presents is a new challenge to RIA developers to create interactive applications which can work on a platform where the means of displaying / conveying and inputting information are so different from what we're used to.