2014 may be a big year for Google's TV efforts.
The research arm of Digitimes predicts that Google TV will no longer be used in products, as Google has already merged the Google TV team with the Android team. Because of this, Google is expected to push TV products that have adopted Android, not the former operating system.
The report states that Google's experience with Google TV helped shape Chromecast, which Digitimes deems as one of Google's "star" products. Chromecast is a simple key-shaped device that plugs directly into an HDMI port. Owners connect it to their Google account, and can stream media directly to the device including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora and a number of other apps.
Digitimes Research believes that this device will generate consumer demand for Android-based television. And the firm is correct: Chromecast may be simple and small, but Google customers likely want a bit more. They may want to watch purchased movies and TV shows, or pull up a favorite game with just the press of a remote control button.
Digitimes Research believes that Android TV will become a core entertainment device in families because of the smartphone connectivity. The firm also predicts that Chromecast – and likely Android TV – will boost the adoption of Google's Chrome browser because of its Chromecast connectivity.
Digitimes' predictions arrive after insiders said that Google's rumored set-top box may be called Nexus TV. The device will supposedly land in the first half of 2014, reportedly running Android and allowing customers to stream their paid Google Play content, load up movies and TV shows via Netflix and Hulu Plus, and play Android games.
The latest rumor claims that the set-top-box will not support live broadcast TV after all, indicating that the company may have faced the same roadblocks encountered by Intel, who is reportedly trying to sell off its own streaming TV project; Apple's rumored iTV plans have also reportedly faced the same issues. If the report is true, then Google is merely trying to compete with Apple TV and Amazon's own rumored Firetube set-top box.
Google reportedly dropped the Google TV name back in October. For now, hardware partners are using the "Google Services for TV" label. Making a Nexus set-top-box makes sense as a way for Google to reboot its TV efforts that began with the Chromecast gadget, and to set a new standard on how an Android-based TV should function within the home.