Sorry!! The article you are trying to read is not available now.

Can Apple Save Us From This 'Web TV' Nightmare?

Print comment Post Comments

After yesterday’s plethora of WWDC announcements came and went without a single mention of an Apple (AAPL) television set, dreams of an easy-to-use, beautifully designed smart TV may have to be set aside for now. It’s not like there aren’t options for surfing the web via your set these days, it just so happens that all of these options suck. BuzzFeed recently did a rundown of the current options out there and a history of failed attempts.

Way back before most of even got email addresses, forward-thinking Web TV made a valiant effort to merge TV and the web back in good ol’ 1996. Using a set-top box and a wireless keyboard to surf the web and check your email, the service was by far the first of its kind. And it was miserable. Microsoft (MSFT) eventually bought them up and turned it in to “MSN TV.” Check out their barely live website to see how that turned out.

Microsoft recently announcement that Internet Explorer is finally coming to the Xbox 360, but the first console to browse the web came actually out way back in 1999. It was called the Sega Dreamcast and, with its ability to browse the web and host multiplayer gaming, it had an onscreen keyboard you could type on using your controller, which drove any who attempted it absolutely insane. It was to be Sega’s last entry into the gaming hardware biz.

Sony’s (SNE) PS3 and Nintendo’s Wii have made noble efforts as well, but they both fall flat. PS3’s controller is a pain to use (and who wants to add their optional wireless keyboard to the bundle of crap we already have?), but the Wii’s even worse. Using the Wiimote with the Opera browser, you must point at the screen and enter the URL letter-by-excruciating-letter.

The Boxee Box is currently the shining star in the field. While the remote comes complete with a QWERTY keyboard on the back, the keys are unlit and easy to fumble in the dark, and the virtual onscreen keyboard is filled with an amazing array of extras that’re next to impossible to figure out. Hardcore Boxee enthusiasts seem relatively content with it for now, but it’s clear that it has a long way to go. [Editor’s note: It also doesn’t help that the Boxee web browser is a crash-prone hellscape.]

Other attempts, including something called Kylo TV, Samsung’s Smart TV, and Sony’s Google TV (GOOG) all either come with frustrating interactive experiences, awkward remotes, or both.

Is the solution to the crappy web-browsing television experience looming on the horizon? Maybe. Or perhaps, as Buzzfeed suggests, the solution to the smart television experience we want is the same that made smartphones finally pleasure to use: lots and lots of kick-ass apps.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.