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Google Unveils First Add-On For New TV
SAN FRANCISCO (CAP) - Just as the public starts to get a look at the new Google TV comes word of the Web giant's first add-on for the new TV/web combo: a digital and analog video recording and playback unit that they say will "mobilize and revolutionize the way Americans consume video content." The Google DigAn RPU is due in stores in time for the holiday shopping season.
According to a Google white paper on the device, the company has married both digital and analog capabilities into a unified appliance that boasts a combination of recording and playback features to and from removable media, all with the push of a few buttons. Google officials say this next logical step after people find great web content on their televisions is a means to preserve that content.
"There are two things consumers seek for their entertainment ensemble: portability and compatibility," said Google TV Product Manager Salahuddin Choudhary. "The DigAn RPU meets both of those needs while also incorporating a time delay mechanism and security layer for added protection."
Choudhary said that the while the Web was built for immediacy, there are times when consumers find great content they want or need to view at a later time. The time delay mechanism inherent in the DigAn RPU's removable media lets users save that content and play it back at their leisure. Additionally, the patent-pending security layer ensures that the content cannot be accidentally deleted without multiple intentional steps.
"The digital component of the unit employs a laser inscription technique, while the analog media uses a series of sliding plastic tabs that snap into place," said Choudhary. "That way even the technically-challenged Auntie Mildred can't mistakenly erase those cherished moments of your little girl's first dance recital."
Indeed, perhaps the most fascinating feature of the DigAn RPU is its backwards compatibility. Family and friends don't need to have a Google-enabled television in order to share in the content; in fact, they don't even need to have a computer. The DigAn RPU's removable media works in nearly all playback units available on the market today.
While many tech bloggers question whether Google is truly breaking any new ground with this device, others like Computerworld's Mike Elgan point to the company's track record of success with marketplace products for which the underlying technology was invented by someone else.
"At first blush, the DigAn RPU may just look like a DVD-VCR combo - and perhaps that's all it is," Elgan wrote in his recent Mike's List newsletter. "But people will gobble them up and help Google consummate their self-fulfilling prophecy of transforming the way we engage in visual media. And here's why."
Elgan pointed to the DigAn RPU's sleek design, its use of a liquid crystal display user interface and the simple fact that it's made by Google as the main factors why it will succeed. Elgan further went on to explain Why You Should Care, What This Means To You, and What To Do To Make Sure You Aren't Steamrolled By The Google Choo-Choo.
According to Elgan, the DigAn RPU is just the first of many add-on devices to be made available for Google TV. Another product that could be available by early next year is a hand-held unit that allows users to move seemlessly between channels of content while physically situated some distance away from the actual television console.
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