Google Inc. believes it has come up with the technology to unite Web surfing with channel surfing on televisions.
To reach the long-elusive goal, Mountain View-based Google has joined forces with Sony Corp., Intel Corp. and Logitech International. The companies unveiled their much-anticipated plan for a "smart" TV on Thursday during a Google conference for about 5,000 software programmers.
The TVs are expected to go on sale in the fall. Pricing wasn't immediately announced.
Google wants to turn televisions into giant monitors for Web surfing so it can make more money selling ads. The company generated nearly $24 billion in revenue last year, mostly from Internet ads displayed on computer screens.
The demonstration of the new technology didn't go smoothly, though.
So many people in the audience were using the conference's Wi-Fi network that Google ran into repeated problems showing how its technology is supposed to toggle seamlessly between the Web and television programming. Google finally had to plead with the attendees to disconnect their smart phones from the Wi-Fi network.
Once it got enough bandwidth, Google was able to conduct a series of Internet searches in a drop-down box that appears at the top of television programs. The search results pointed to Internet videos and other content related to the television program on the screen.
A telecast of a sporting event can be shrunk into a small "picture-in-picture" box so a viewer can look at the statistics or other material about the game on TV. Viewers can also make search requests by speaking into a remote that runs on Google's Android operating system.
Sony will make the TVs, which will rely on an Intel microprocessor. Google will provide the software, including Android and the company's Chrome Web browser. Logitech will supply a special remote control and wireless keyboard.