Ubuntu TV. A very interesting direction for Ubuntu. I certainly think that the overall product looks really nice, but I honestly just don’t see how this could possibly catch on.
Ubuntu TV is aiming to be built directly into televisions, not an additional box to be plugged into an existing TV. So essentially the TV makers, who already have their own smart TV OS’s, and are now also trying Google TV, would have to decide to try Ubuntu TV. And if consumers weren’t swayed into buying smart TV’s branded with the word Google, are they going to even look at one named after a Linux distro, something they’ve never even heard of? Doubt it.
But overall, kudos to the Ubuntu team. It looks beautiful. You know that feeling when you see all those beautiful Linux desktops that are all graphic-design-y, and immediately want your computer to look like that, only to find out that it would take hours and hours of work and code knowledge to achieve and then maintain? That’s what this Ubuntu TV looks like, only without the work.
Unfortunately in my experience, Ubuntu OS releases are really good at adding in some really cool features, but always taking the next version (or two) to get it actually right. We’ll see how the reviews are, but I’m guessing that overall trend will be looking forward to updates…
Finally, the most important question is why? Such an interesting choice, the TV market. I suppose it makes some sense. Phone and tablet Ubuntu users probably already use Android, while the TV market is still pretty open. But what does Ubuntu intend to gain? I assume they are hoping for a halo effect to increase Ubuntu usage, but they can’t possibly expect this to help increase the amount of people who install Ubuntu over or alongside Windows? Getting the average person to replace Windows with Ubuntu just isn’t gonna happen. Maybe, maybe it will get people to buy Ubuntu PCs, but no install the OS over Windows.
Hypothetically, if these TV’s popularity explodes (is it even worth continuing this hypothetical situation?) and everyone has one, will that really make Ubuntu PCs more popular? It won’t fix any of the downfalls they already have, such as software not existing, cough*Microsoft Office*cough. And even for being as simple as Ubuntu is for a Linux distro, it still needs the occasional Terminal use…
So how will this benefit Ubuntu? Ubuntu is probably hoping movie rentals on their Software Centre/Ubuntu One take off.
And btw: how the hell does this thing work with codecs? Ubuntu doesn’t even include MP3 support into the OS without the user installing it separately during setup, so are they depending on the TV manufacturers to license the various codecs?