Living Room Access

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This is Celia Hirschman with On the Beat for KCRW.

Since the 1960's, television has had an inextricable relationship with music. Whether Ed Sullivan and The Beatles, Michael Jackson with MTV, Eminem, Lady Gaga, or …name your favorite artist, it's hard to recall the song, without remembering the visuals.

This is only to underscore just how important videos and visuals will be in the future. As we become more adept in the digital age, we'll yearn for greater visual expression.

It is for this reason that the biggest names in the digital business have invested heavily in bringing video content to consumers.

This week, Google launched Google TV, its new TV-websurfing service. It unveiled partnerships with numerous TV networks including NBC and HBO as well as video retailers like Netflix and Amazon. Google TV has also built a partnership with Vevo, the music industry's own video and entertainment service, as well as Napster and Pandora.

Users of Google TV can watch and manage television recordings while simultaneously surfing the entire web on large screen Google enabled televisions, using Google Chrome. This is cloud computing directly in your living room.

Google TV is vastly different than the new, improved Apple TV. Apple TV is an add-on component for your living room. It doesn't have a web browser, but you can access entertainment from the iTunes online store. Apple TV allows streaming from Netflix and YouTube, as well as viewing photos from Flickr and MobileMe. Apple ultimately is up-selling its entire iTunes catalog while Google TV is offering access to everything available on the web.

As VentureBeat, the online innovation newsletter noted, Apple TV is the one you date. Google TV is the one you marry.

In related news, Google is reportedly about to launch a cloud-based music service, according to Billboard Magazine. Consumers could choose between an a la carte download service and a subscription-based cloud locker service.

The cloud service would reportedly cost $25 a year, allowing subscribers access their music on any Internet-connected device.

Google's music service is not only going into direct competition with Apple's iTunes, but also hopes to head off enthusiasm for the long-awaited Spotify music service. Spotify, now with over 10 million users in Europe, has threatened to open a cloud-based music service here in the US, though the company has yet to confirm a launch date.

This is Celia Hirschman with On the Beat for KCRW.