Google TV Websites

Launch of Google TV has prompted content provider websites to design an interface inspired by the Google TV look and feel. These websites can also be visited using standard web browsers

Google TV Content

The table below describes the experience of visiting the websites listed on the Google TV Spotlight gallery when using a regular Chrome browser. The review comments are based on using only the keyboard to navigate the site. The keys used for the review are; the arrow keys (for positional navigation), Return, Spacebar, Backspace and Alt-LeftArrow. How well do these keys map onto the necessary functionality for navigating the website; selecting programmes, video operations, zoom to full window, etc. To be considered tv-true, a website needs to play nicely with the keyboard and not require a mouse, the buttons of the remote control can be mapped to keyboard actions and so the website can be navigated from the ten foot distance.

Chrome and Opera are the only browsers to immediately accept keystokes when immediately first a page, Firefox requires you to click into the page using a mouse before key stokes are accepted.

Those websites that arent viewable outside the US (e.g. HBO GO), or are clearly not targetted for 10 foot interface (e.g. Amazon video) are not reviewed. Perhaps the non 10-foot websites use browser sniffing and only present the "designed for television view" if visited using Google TV?

The Prev Page category in the table describes the websites handling the Alt-LeftArrow keyboard shortcut (or Cmd-LeftArrow for Safari on a Mac) and Backspace. These shortcuts are usually used by the browser for returning to the previous page. Some websites use one or both keys for its own purpose thus making it hard to generalise a remote control button mapping for all tv-true websites (plus the consideration that remote controls are likely to have only one button for "back").

Website Comments HTML5 video or Flash? Prev Page
Google Spotlight Shows horizontal scrolling icon list of websites for viewing on your Google TV. Annoyingly the list does not wrap, so when on the first page you cant jump to the last page (and vice versa). Not all websites in the spotlight are actually designed for 10 foot viewing (if used from a standard browser at least). n/a Alt-LeftArrow and Backspace exit the website
Blip tv Focus highlight is quite narrow around the video preview image making it a little difficult to see on a television. Videos play in full window automatically. Spacebar for play and pause. HTML5 Alt-LeftArrow and Backspace work as expected to navigate the hierarchy within Blip TV and leave the website
Chow Videos for foodies. Initially plays in a panel in the page. Return key plays in full window. The video player needs a mouse to navigate the controls. Chrome and Safari only Flash Alt-LeftArrow and Backspace work as expected to navigate and leave the Chow website.
Clicker TV Reviewed on Flash Uses Backspace to navigate the hierarchy of the website but you will also need the Alt-LeftArrow to leave the Clicker TV website, so which button do you use on the remote control?
Crackle Can select the programmes using the arrow keys positional navigation. Video plays initially in a frame within the page. Needs a mouse to to control the video playback, although once clicked into the video then spacebar will play/pause the programme. Flash Alt-LeftArrow works as expected to navigate the website and return out of Crackle
Dailymotion Plays initially in a frame on the page but Return key toggles between full window. HTML5 Alt-LeftArrow is just treated as Left arrow. To move back out of a video page or leaving the website requires the Backspace key.
Flixster Film previews play in a full window automatically. Spacebar for play/pause. Left arrow to leave the video clip and return to the menu hierarchy. Given that the film clips use the open source jwplayer, this shows it is possible to use the keyboard to control flv playback Flash Alt-LeftArrow works as expected to navigate the website
Fraboom Easy to use the arrow keys for positional navigation. Text is quite small. Initially plays videoes in a frame but easy to flip to full window Flash Alt-LeftArrow leaves the website
KQED Video programs for the California area. Text description of the video is small. Easy to control the video using keyboard. Flash Alt-LeftArrow leaves the website
MeeGenius Playback of young children's books Flash Alt-LeftArrow has difficulty leaving a book, need to use Backspace
Net-a-Porter Fashion videos and runway clips, rather too easily drops back to the standard (non tv-true) net-a-porter online store. Flash Alt-LeftArrow does not navigate out of the website, needs Backspace
The Onion Satirical "news format" videos HTML5 ? Alt-LeftArrow and Backspace navigates out of the website
TuneIn radio Select internet radio stations from around the world Alt-LeftArrow is handled just as a LeftArrow, Backspace is required to navigate out of the website
Vimeo Couchmode Selection of videos can cause Chrome to crash. Can be controlled completely from the keyboard, even login to Vimeo can be accomplised without needing to click into the text boxes (unlike the Search box on Youtube Leanback HTML5
Youtube Leanback Youtube Leanback reviewed here Flash Alt-LeftArrow and Backspace navigates out of the website

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