Speaking at a tech conference in Berlin today, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said consumers can expect Google TV this fall. This announcement comes less than a week after Apple introduced its new Apple TV, a $99 set-top box that will play rental movies and TV shows from the internet (as well as allow purchases through a computer).
Schmidt, who formerly sat on Apple's board of directors, said Google TV service will be free. He added the company was working with content providers as well as electronics manufacturers to put Google software into new TV products.
Sony already has announced it would work with Google, delivering a line of TVs with the software pre-installed, and Samsung is also studying the possibility.
So what is Google TV?
It is software, based on the popular technology in the Android phones, that integrates with your current TV offerings, from satellite or cable, and allows you, in theory, to search for channels, shows and actors. It also includes a web browser to allow you to check emails or surf the web on your 50-inch flat screen (which some PlayStation 3 owners with a keyboard know is kind of a cool thing).
You'll also be able to watch YouTube or watch programming from sites like Hulu, which delivers a lot of broadcast content on demand via the internet.