CES: Samsung quietly shows off Google TV devices

Without a formal commitment to Google TV, Samsung is nonetheless displaying a set-top box and Blu-Ray player running Google's software.

Samsung's unannounced Google TV set-top box, running in its booth at CES.
Samsung's unannounced Google TV set-top box, running in its booth at CES. Tom Krazit/CNET

LAS VEGAS--Samsung is showing off two devices running Google TV in its booth here at CES, but employees characterized the unannounced devices as an experiment.

Samsung has not officially thrown its support behind Google TV-- Google's ambitious but challenged plan for sophisticated TVs --but it was nonetheless showing off both a standalone set-top box and a Blu-Ray player running the software in a corner of its massive booth here at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Executives speaking on background said the devices were being shown as an "experiment," designed to gauge feedback from Samsung partners as to whether or not they'd be interested in such a device.

It's a bit tricky for Samsung, which like a lot of other companies has invested a lot of time and money in its own software for putting Internet-capable applications on the big screen. In Samsung's case, that's called Smart TVs, and televisions running its software were displayed much more prominently in its booth than the Google TV devices.

Samsung is scheduled to deliver a keynote address later today (live coverage here ), and it's not clear whether or not it will announce a deeper commitment to Google TV at that time, or hold back. It said nothing about the devices yesterday in a press conference .

In December, The New York Times reported that Google had asked several prospective Google TV partners to hold off on showing new devices at CES, due in part to the lackluster reviews the software has received in its first few months on the market. That report also said that Samsung would be one of the few--if only--major consumer electronics companies showing off Google TV devices at the show.

The products themselves, which did not come with price tags or official brands, appear to be Samsung's take on the Logitech Revue set-top box and Sony's Google TV Blu-ray player. But they are clearly not ready for prime time: Samsung had no controllers on display alongside its products, and designing out the control interface for Google TV can be one of the trickiest things about the software.

CNET's Matthew Moskovciak contributed to this report.

Samsung's Google TV Blu-Ray player and set-top box were running side-by-side in one part of its booth, which was otherwise dominated by TVs running Samsung's own Internet TV software.
Samsung's Google TV Blu-Ray player and set-top box were running side-by-side in one part of its booth, which was otherwise dominated by TVs running Samsung's own Internet TV software. Tom Krazit/CNET

About the author

    Tom Krazit writes about the ever-expanding world of Google, as the most prominent company on the Internet defends its search juggernaut while expanding into nearly anything it thinks possible. He has previously written about Apple, the traditional PC industry, and chip companies. E-mail Tom.

     

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