Google TV – A new way of thinking about TV entertainment

Google TV

A replacement for cable? Time will tell

Google being a powerhouse in the IT industry is always looking to extend it’s reach in many areas (communication, advertisement, social networking, gaming, etc…). Some have succeeded like search, email, advertising, and others not so much like Google Wave (depending on who you talk to).  One area that they’re now tapping into is TV. In May, Google announced one of their latest innovations called Google TV. (Click here to view announcement)

Simply put, it’s TV from the internet. In Fall 2010, Google is going to launch Google TV in collaboration with companies like Sony, Logitech, Intel, and the Dish Network. They want to change the way people think about TV. Instead of looking at programs that are scheduled at certain times defined by networks, Google wants users to be able to search/browse through their TVs for programs that they wish to watch.

This is done through one of two ways:

  • Getting a Google TV box: This is a box that will be hooked to your TV and internet. This box delivers the programming to your TV directly and serves as a way that you can search/browse for programs.
  • Getting a Google TV compatible TV: These TVs will be hooked to the internet where they are Google TV compatible and allows you to search/browse programs directly on the TV. Sony will be releasing TVs like this in the future.

What they did was take all those people who sit on their laptops with crap speakers and small screens and said “Hey, why don’t you hook it to a TV instead”. That’s it.  It’s a pretty simple concept.

So what does this mean to cable providers? Does this mean Google will take over and render these cable companies useless? Hulu is still at a loss to create competitive programming where they can generate a significant amount of revenue, and these guys have tons of shows. Their latest attempt to make a profit is Hulu Plus which will be released later this year..

Several factors will affect it’s success, and here are a few that we think are important:

  • Cost of TVs and the Google TV boxes: if it’s anything as expensive as getting a 3D TV setup, then count me and alot of people out of this.
  • Cost of membership: There hasn’t been word on membership, but people are looking for cheap services. If Google offers this for a cheap price while being able to be profitable, then people will go for it.
  • Internet: The whole world doesn’t enjoy fast internet connections like we do. If there’s an impact, then it would be in areas that have a high volume of high speed internet.
  • Accessing the site: Sites like Hulu, Netflix, ABC, NBC, and more are blocked internationally. Users abroad can’t view these programs and they’re restricted to the USA. How will Google handle this for all countries?
  • Piracy concerns: Networks might be turned off due to piracy. Will people be able to record these shows and distribute them through other means? I’m sure there are licensing agreements that would affect the type of programming we get.
  • What about Google 3D TV: People that just spent thousands of dollars on the 3D TV will probably not give up their cable companies that provide 3D entertainment. How will Google TV fit in all this?
  • Google partners with Dish Network: The Dish Network provides programming that is as good as any of their competitors. One disadvantage is the satellite. No matter what, you end up with a satellite stuck outside, mounted on your roof or balcony, that may potentially give you a bad signal. Partnering with Google will make it easier for them to deliver their programming to homes that aren’t capable of having a dish (like apartment complexes). I definitely smell a subscription fee here for premium programs, premium movies, and possibly basic programming.

All in all, I think this is a great idea, but whether the public adopts it is questionable. I for one have given my cable up and maintain an internet connection. Something like Google TV strengthens my conviction even more and based on the type of programming and it’s cost, I’ll definitely be up to trying it. Time can only tell.

I don’t believe that Google TV will come out and wipe out cable companies. It will just enter the arena with a competitive edge while changing the way we think about watching TV.

Now we have 2 major players, Hulu and Google TV for streamed programming.  It’s an open market and I’m sure other companies with the money, technical know how, and drive will enter this arena. I’m talking about you Netflix.

What do you think about this? Share your opinions. We definitely will once this comes out and we get our hands on it.

One Response to Google TV – A new way of thinking about TV entertainment

  1. Mojo says:

    I think now that Apple has dropped the price on AppleTV to $99 dollars – making it more accessible, we’ll see more and more people switching to internet based TV.

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