Published on August 29th, 2012 | by John I.
Can Ouya Make Any TV a Smart TV?
If you’re like me, a tech geek with the heart of a gamer, then you’ve no doubt already heard about Ouya, the upstart Android game console. Even if you’re simply someone who keeps up with news from the tech world in general, you’ve probably heard how Ouya broke Kickstarter records for both the quickest to reach a million dollars and the best first-day performance ever.
What many in the gaming and tech world are overlooking is that the Ouya has potential to be something much more than a low-priced gaming console. The mere fact that it runs Android OS means that it has access to a wealth of apps across many categories. And the fact that it comes standard with a 1080p HDMI interface means that these apps can be viewed on any HDTV.
Out of the box, the Ouya comes with TwitchTV, an eSports channel that showcases live gaming. A niche market, sure, but TwitchTV gets about 16 million viewers each month, with an average of an hour viewed every day. There are plenty of cable channels that would love that much exposure.
There are also plenty of TV apps on the Android marketplace. Everything from live TV to YouTube to pay services such as Netflix can be accessed from any capable Android device (e.g. Android TV boxes). A few minutes of downloading and installing apps, and your Ouya can give you just as much functionality as a $1,500 Smart TV.
When the Kindle Fire came out for the 2011 Holiday season, the media had a wonderful time referring to it as an “iPad killer.” Subsequent sales and a quick look at the specs were enough to burst that particular balloon, but you’d have a stronger case for calling the Ouya a “Smart TV killer.” Buying a Google-infused HDTV suddenly doesn’t sound as compelling when you weigh the cost/benefit analysis of plugging the Ouya into the HDTV that you already own.
Of course, the Apple TV unit can be had for about the same amount of money, but the open-source flexibility of the Ouya and the Android platform as a whole means that developers will be far less inhibited and limited when producing apps. And not simply apps, but possibly even hardware and ways to connect a TV tuner and storage drive, which could make your Ouya into a full-fledged DVR.
It’s a little early in the game to start getting TOO excited by Ouya’s potential as a complete home theater replacement, but we do know that the console will be an inexpensive way to run Android apps on your TV. After all, we already know that gamers have become accustomed to watching Netflix and YouTube on their Xbox360 or PS3, and that Android users spend many hours watching live TV or streaming video on their mobile devices. The Ouya could easily become the best of both worlds, and at a much lower price than either one.
Tagg writes on behalf of CableTV.com. He enjoys writing about entertainment & technology. When he’s not writing, he’s prefers to spend his time outdoors. You can follow him on Twitter. @CableTV.