Perhaps Roku CEO Anthony Wood is right. His perceived biggest threat just might end up being Google.
Although Google’s hot-selling $35 Chromecast dongle already pitches a batch of over-the-top video to the TV screen, the company, according to The Information (subscription required), is reportedly toiling away on an Android-powered set-top device called Nexus TV that would presumably compete with Roku, along with other platforms, including the Apple TV and perhaps the set-top-box project Amazon purportedly is cooking up.
According to the report, Google’s box, expected out in the first half of 2014 and to be “aggressively priced,” would offer the usual OTT suspects (Netflix, Hulu and YouTube), plus a selection of video games, and other content and a gesture-based interface that could be controlled by an Android smartphone.
It’s the latest round of rumors involving a device that could end up being the successor to the much-maligned Google TV platform. The Wall Street Journal reported in July that Google privately demonstrated an Android-powered prototype set-top at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in January.
Although Google has reportedly approached programmers about acquiring rights to stream their channels and programming, this coming Nexus TV entry is apparently not looking to be the centerpiece of a virtual MSO-like, full-fledged pay-TV offering that Intel Media has pursued…at least not yet. And perhaps that’s a smart move, given that Intel Media has seemingly hoisted the white flag on the idea as it tries to find a buyer for its OnCue assets.
At this juncture, Google’s full service pay-TV ambitions are tied to Google Fiber, which has already launched services in Kansas City and parts of Provo, Utah, with plans to start connecting homes in Austin, Texas, by mid-2014.