Last month we took a first look at the developers build of Honeycomb for Google TV. Since then developers have been hard at work creating apps that are tailor made to be used on TV screens. The first crop of "Made for TV" apps are hitting the market place and we'll take a look to see if they make the grade.
Classy Fireplace is a bit more than just a virtual fire place on your TV with accompanied with background music. Despite it's name it has 8 different visuals like Fireworks, Waterfalls and a Giant Aquarium all in stunning 1080p. At first Classy Fireplace may seem like a novelty app, but it's perfect for times when you want to use your TV as background noise (i.e. when you're home alone, eating dinner, etc.). The app provides quick and peaceful background noise with serene visuals. Another nice thing about Classy Fireplace is that it's super quick to launch, as if switching over to a TV channel.
Like Classy Fireplace, Discovery Earth gives you scenic visuals with relaxing music playing in the background. Discovery Earth gets its content from various TV shows like Sunset Earth, Discovery Atlas and Planet Earth. It's bit more interactive as well, giving you a map of the world with pin points of wherever the footage is taken. You can watch an 8-minute sunrise in Polynesia then jump to a video of Tokyo at night. This app gives you a new way of consuming high quality TV content in small snippets, stripping away distracting dialogue.
AOL HD has 3 channels: Entertainment, Technology and Home. Its HD videos feature content from sites like Engadget, Huffington Post, Moviefone and more, with everything from celebrity gossip to cooking tips. AOL HD's CD Listening Party allows you to listen to a weekly selection of recently released albums.
The TNT app on Google TV is a bit counter intuitive. You have to login to your cable provider before having access to the full TNT shows, which doesn't make much sense if you're trying to use Google TV as an alternative to traditional cable TV. It does however, have a nice interface and streams in HD. It also features behind-the-scenes footage of TNT shows.
The IGN Pro League app plays professional Starcraft matches and gets applications for the TV just right. When launching, it instantly plays the newest video with no navigation menu or guide to choose from. When you want to skip to the next video, just press right. Having apps play video content right at launch is the key to having the app work well on TV. The problem with most apps is that you still have to choose the content you want to watch. It requires a bit more effort than simply changing the channel and is why most people don't even bother. It works even better on Google TV over other set top boxes since Google TV uses a HDMI passthrough and you don't have to change inputs.