Wow, this forum has gotten interesting and at times childish.
Anyways, I have the Sony Bluray Goggle TV, Windows Mobile 7 HTPC, and Boxee. I also have a PS3 and Xbox360, but view these devices as more gaming platforms than media hubs, although both are adding this capability fast, with PS3 in the lead. Before I get into my post, I would like to say that for the past three weeks I have had my Sony BR variant of Google TV. I have learned to really enjoy the platform and what it has to offer. It is nothing new or revolutionary, but different in how they went about it, and this is what I have learned to become fond of. I experienced the same thing when jumped over to Android OS from other phone platforms, and wouldn't trade my Droid X for any other phone OS. In regards to GTV, if I overlook all the hardware or integration challenges surrounding the Sony or Logitech box, then I can say that GTV is a great solution, and in many ways better than all it's predecessors that have already come to market. There are a ton of competitors out there and a lot of solutions do specific things significantly better, but holistically not. I still think GTV is a little premature and needs to work outs it's kinks on all of us early adopters. There is a clear indication that google has a lot of learning to do in this space and it is not just as easy as slapping an OS on a box and calling it the day. Some things they overlooked, like working with the content providers to ensure that they wouldn't be blocked to view their content. Other things they nailed, like their search function and integration of existing STB boxes into their solution. Overall, the GTV will have it's growing and maturing period for 6-9 months, and eventually will be one of the best and most sought after media streaming devices in the market. Until then, us early adopters will bitch and moan about the things it does or doesn't do, and the average consumer will buy this thinking it is the most ingenious device, since they don't know any better.
I am not sure who said that GTV, WM7, Boxee, Apple TV, and Roku aren't competing products, but I would have to disagree. They are all designed to serve the same function, but go about it in different ways and bring different advantages. For example, the WM7 solution is the most flexible when it comes to things you can do on it, how much you can customize it, and what platform you can buy it on. The problem with WM7, or any other HTPC front end, is that the ability to view online content seamlessly is lacking. Sure you can access Netflix and YouTube and some other basic online media, but to truly access them all, it does not do this well. The features it does well are the following: The ability to stream any type of DNLA content is the best supported, ability to integrate with your cable or satellite provider Is easily done, the ability to integrate Bluray playback or content is easily done, and the ability to control this all via one controller is easily done. All this is somewhat easy, but does come with a significant price tag when compared to other solutions out there.
This is where Boxee comes in and slightly bridges the gap. I have played with this media streaming SW and seen it grow for 2+ years to its current state. It is much nicer now, then when it first released in Alpha form, which truly was a knock off of the XBMC platform it is built on. Currently this platform provides the best access to online content and provides to best selection of online content. It does by providing both redirects and specific apps for this content. It's does this similar to google in the nature that it uses a web page to view most content. Their secret sauce is their ability to trick the major content providers into thinking they you are viewing this on a computer web browser and not a browser on a media streamer. They have had their challenges through time, but lately have seemed to figure this out and avoid the problems that GTV is having with Hulu, NBC, ABC, and CBS.
If you don't like the Dlink hardware that Boxee comes on, then quit bitching and buy a small form factor next gen Atom or i3 Linux box, and load the software version of Boxee on it. Sure it will be slightly more expensive, but then there will be no hardware limits like described before. The integrated box that it comes on is powerful enough to do all the online content viewing and flawlessly stream any DNLA content you have. I am sure someone will say that they can't stream some random codec that is at 1080P, because the power of the Dlink platform. What I say to that is too bad for you, have a seat, and have a beverage. There are a lot of factors that contribute to folks failures of streaming content, but codec support is not one of those with boxee or WM7.
Next this leads us to the Roku and Apple TV. I don't have either either of these devices although have played with Roku some bit, and I am familiar with Apple products, as I type this out on my iPAD. For solid online content and DNLA steaming these solutions are really good. The Roku has the advantage that it has a strong partnership with many various content providers, it can stream a lot of this content for free, it can do 1080P, and has a large range of codec support compared to others. AppleTV provides the best UI and access to countless movies, tv shows, and ability to stream your DNLA content, but does cost money for majority of the content. The advantage is that you can get this solution for a $100 price tag, and it is hard to beat these devices for these specific functions. They don't allow you to surf the web to access the content providers websites, but rather provide you the ability to view this content by downloading it from iTunes App store, Amazon On-demand store, or through the specific built in apps. Roku allows you to get some of the similar content through hulu app, blockbuster, and other streaming apps.
Finally comes in GoogleTV. I am not going to rehash the features you already know but rather state that GTV is trying to meld all the features of the previous described solutions into one. It tries to do it in a seamless, easy to use, and economical way. As you could imagine, this is not an easy feat and there are a lot of factors to consider. Some of these are obvious and they have definitely provided a good solution, but others not so obvious, which has led them to get blocked from some sites. They have a good start with features focused around their core competency of search, and also have provided great STB integration, but definitely need to grow their apps or access to better online content. Once they do that, and fix the other issues (Audio, remote, etc...), then they will have a platform that will definitely dominate the market. They are close, but need a little more time in the oven to make this edible for the vast majority.