It’s going to be one of the biggest tech fights we’ve experienced in a long, long time and the winner will be decided by us, the consumer.

It will also change the way the majority of us consume news, music, films, local business info, games and search the web. The fact is, our tv is about to become the central hub of our lives (if it isn’t already), by opening up a portal to the world wide web.

Second-Generation-Apple-TV

Apple TV and Google TV are the reasons why consumers will be using their TV instead of their laptops to update their status’s one minute then stream a movie the next. But the question is, which one is the best choice for the UK public?

First things first, if you want to get into surfing’n’streaming via your TV now then there is only one option and that’s Apple TV. Apple have stolen the lead in terms of this technology through releasing their Apple TV globally first and here in the UK, although it’s not appeared in many stores yet, you can order one online and it will be with you inside two weeks.
Google on the other hand have not officially released a UK launch date as yet, with the only indication of a launch at all coming from Logitech who is building the boxes for Google in the US. They have said we will see “developments” leading to its roll-out in the UK from next January.

 

So, if you want one of these in the UK now, it has to be Apple TV.

However, if you are prepared to wait, then which one should you spend your hard earned monies on?

With both offerings you are going to be able to stream HD films from Netflix at the same price of approx £3.50. You’ll also be able to watch everything that’s on YouTube and flick through your holiday snaps on Flickr.
Alongside this both have good music offerings with Apple granting access to iTunes while Google loads up Napster.
Both make use of your mobile phones as remote controls, with Google allowing Androids to control the device as well as share media content to the big screen. The same goes for Apple; the iPhone or iPad can be used in exactly the same way.

Alot is on offer… but what are the differences?

Apple TV… what’s the deal?
It’s Apple. I know that will annoy some people, but in my opinion Apple’s design oozes quality and this small shiny black box will look the part in any home.
Connects to the iPad. I know Google allows their Android phones to connect to Google TV but the iPad is a bit different. You are more likely to have a lot more media content on your iPad just begging to be streamed over to the TV.
iTunes. Apple TV give you access to the proven excellent storefront that is iTunes. This may also get even better soon with the introduction of Ping. Opening up social networking on your TV.
Bound to set up very easily OK, I’m plucking at straws but I bet my bottom doller that Apple TV will be the easiest thing to set up you will ever plug into your TV.

Google TV… What’s the beef?
Open Source – Just like the difference between 05-google-tvApple and Google with regards to smartphones. Google are opening their TV offering up to the community to encourage them to develop apps for their black box. This could open up a whole host of possibilities.
Web browser – Google have included a version of Chrome so you can surf the web from your TV. That’s a biggie. If you want to find a local plumber your TV may now have the answer.
Power House – Googles box is full of power and can offer full 1080p rather than Apples 720p. The Intel chipset used in the Google box will also lend itself to upgrades… or a little tampering with at least! No chance of that with the tiny Apple TV box.
Apps – I really don’t know why Apple TV doesn’t have apps… but it doesn’t. (Steve – a word: It’s what made your iPhone the best selling smartphone of all time!). Yet it is only Google TV that will offer up apps, with the operating system being an Android platform.

And Finally…

It will be very interesting to see which one wins. Googles device is clearly the more powerful and encompasses all media rather than just giving you access to iTunes and a few channels like YouTube and NetFlix.
Google TV has opened itself up to developers, fully specced its device to run 1080p and included a proven web browser (Chrome) running on a proven operating system (Android).

But for all this, who would bet against Apple? They have launched a £99 device first and is the only option here in the UK. It also looks gorgeous when compared to Google lump of a device. iTunes is the comfiest jumper you’ve ever worn and that’s your arena for your content. Finally you can also be certain of a marketing campaign that will push this device like mad in the next few months. This may just steal a lead that Google TV finds too hard to claw back.