How to make google TV less annoying?
January 18, 2013 9:59 AM   Subscribe

I have a Sony/Google integrated TV. The screen quality is fine for how its used (no cable or antenna; mostly Netflix, Amazon, DVDs, some internet radio) but the way the OS works drives me crazy. I don't want to buy a new TV. I am very happy with Android on my phone. Is there anything that can make my Google TV user experience more friendly and efficient?

Some examples, some may sound trivial, but to give a taste:

- The remote is batshit stupid. "Cessnas have fewer controls". Hundreds of tiny buttons and fn/cntrl keys with cryptic symbols. Steve Jobs would have had the designer(s) of this thing crushed by pallets of ipods.

- The android app remote is a little better, but still based on the same mystifying principles that confuse a scroll bar and touchpad selection.

- I haven't been able to figure out how to delete widgets from my home screen. (Help says: "Use the directional arrow buttons on your controller to select the widget that you would like to remove. Select Remove from Home." But there is no option to select "Remove from Home" that I've been able to find.

- Netflix and Amazon stream fine once they're uploaded, but nagivating from page to page is like AOL dialup. The lag from touchpad to screen is up to a second.

- A lot of apps are not available. Spotify, most notably. But the Amazon Movie/TV app isn't compatible. Others I'm sure.

I could go on. And on. Bottom line: about 70% of the times I use this device I have a medium to strong urge to throw it out the window. Is that really the only solution? Is there some way to make it more efficient in doing what I want it to do: watch netflix and amazon; watch some Jon Stewart; listen to spotify? Some kind of OS upgrade (says none available right now)

posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Buy a Roku. They're very inexpensive, very simple, and the interface is responsive. Plug it into an HDMI port and ignore the Google TV.
posted by selfnoise at 10:06 AM on January 18, 2013 [4 favorites]

In addition to what selfnoise suggests (which I agree with, though having both a Roku and an AppleTV, I find the AppleTV a lot nicer to use), I also recommend buying a third-party universal remote so you don't have to use the crazy Sony remote. Logitech Harmony is probably the most popular choice. They are far from perfect, but I think you'll find them to be massively better than the included remote (and you can use the same remote to control your Roku and/or AppleTV).
posted by primethyme at 10:53 AM on January 18, 2013

Yeah, the answer is to buy a Roku, sorry. Pretty much the only thing that Google TV does better than Roku is youtube. With the latest app on your phone you can send videos to your Google TV, which is kind of cool.
posted by Sock Ray Blue at 12:58 PM on January 18, 2013

One more vote for Roku (I have an xD I think) or AppleTV (I still have a first gen version for offline movies) and for the Logitech Harmony. Life's too short to wait on laggy software.
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:33 PM on January 18, 2013

I hear you on the remote issue. I used an xbox remote on an xbox classic with xbmc for the previous 7 years and dearly miss the simplicity and hand-feel of that remote (even if the button use was cryptic due to being repurposed by xbmc).
posted by srboisvert at 10:35 AM on January 19, 2013

Wow. I can't remember the last time I saw such a unanimous response to a mefi question. Too bad this seems to be so low on Google priorities.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 4:23 PM on January 19, 2013

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