Media

LG’s Google TV set debuts this month — but will anyone care?

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After announcing that it’s jumping into the Google TV fray at CES in January, an LG executive said today that it will begin building and shipping the sets later this month. But, with Google TV’s lukewarm welcome by consumers, and a non-existent Apple television set grabbing headlines, will LG fare better than Google’s first round of partners?

Ro Seogho, an executive vice president in LG’s TV business, told Reuters that the company will start building the Google TV sets on May 17, and that consumers will be able to buy the sets starting the week of May 21.

Google TV launched in late 2010 as Google’s attempt to bring web video to TVs. The Android powered-platform brings Google search, web browsing, and most recently apps, to your television screen. But despite plenty of promise, it failed to take off initially due to sluggish speeds and lack of support from TV networks. Logitech famously gave up on Google TV last year after blaming it for a $100 million loss.

LG isn’t offering up any other details, like screen size or pricing. But from the report, I gather that Seogho isn’t referring to the “Nexus” Google TV set LG was rumored to be working on (which would run a much newer version of Google TV than existing devices). Without that Nexus designation, though, there doesn’t seem to be much to differentiate LG’s sets from Google TV products already available from Sony and Logitech.

I’m also not sure why LG is in such a rush to bring GTV sets to market. Google TV hasn’t been updated since last Fall (though that update offered some significant improvements), and it doesn’t give LG much time to promote the new sets. Wouldn’t the No. 2 television maker in the world have something to say about a significant new product line?

It could be that Google has a big Google TV update that it’s going to debut with LG’s sets, or LG is just bringing the sets to market without much effort to fulfill a contractual obligation.

At CES,  we also learned that new Google TV sets would be coming from Samsung, Vizio, and Sony.