Internet Video

Google Pushes Play

10/11/2010 12:01 AM Eastern

Google has stepped up
its Web-on-TV proselytizing,
enlisting help from partners
including cable programmers
Turner Broadcasting System,
HBO and CNBC to try make consumers
see the light on Internetenhanced
television.

Already singing from the
Google TV hymnal is Dish Network.
The satellite-TV operator
will market and sell Logitech International’s
Google TV set-top
to subscribers for $179 — 40% off
the box’s retail price of $300 —
plus an ongoing $4 monthly fee.
The Logitech Revue, to ship by
the end of October, promises integrated
search across Dish’s TV
listings, DVR recordings, videoon-
demand titles and Internet
content, as well as access to Web
apps and video.

Analysts said the price premium
for the Logitech box and other
Google TV devices could hamper
sales. “Standalone set-tops are always
a problem above $100,” Forrester
Research analyst James
McQuivey said.

In any case, Google TV likely
will not cultivate “cord-cutting”
tendencies, given that its
content strategy appears largely
supplemental to traditional
cable-TV services.

Indeed, in HBO’s case, a pay TV
subscription will be necessary to
access the premium programmer’s
HBO Go “TV Everywhere”
service. HBO Go will provide access
to more than 600 hours of
original programming and movies
through Google TV to subscribers
who are authenticated
through their TV service provider.
Currently only Comcast and Verizon
FiOS offer HBO Go.

Turner, meanwhile, has been
working to reformat some of its
websites for viewing on Google
TV, including those of TBS, TNT,
CNN, Cartoon Network and Adult
Swim. Those are designed to provide
content that’s complementary
to, not a replacement for, the
linear TV channels.

NBC Universal has collaborated
with Google TV for CNBC Real-
Time, an application to track
stocks and news feeds that is designed
to be a companion to the
linear CNBC channel. Similarly,
the National Basketball Association’s
NBA Game Time app lets
viewers follow scores in real-time
and access game highlights.

Google also will enable access
to Netflix’s streaming-video service,
Amazon.com’s video-ondemand
catalog and a range of
others sites, including Twitter,
USA Today and Pandora. “This is
just the beginning,” Google TV
developer product manager Ambarish
Kenghe promised in a post
on the company’s blog.

Notably, neither the broadcast
networks nor the Hulu joint
venture are currently Google TV
partners. The search giant confirmed
it is in discussions
with Hulu, owned
by NBCU, News Corp.
and Th e Walt Disney Co.,
about adding access to
the premium Hulu Plus
service.

The ambitious Google
TV initiative attempts
to blend conventional
TV with Web content,
YouTube clips, and other
video, applications
and games into “a single,
seamless entertainment
experience.” Analysts
have expressed skepticism
that Google TV
will achieve widespread adoption
anytime soon, if ever, given a variety
of business and technology
challenges (see “Can Google Be a
TV Star?”, Sept. 6, 2010, page 14).

Logitech’s Revue box — the
first announced Google TV product
— sits between a cable or satellite
provider’s set-top box and
an HDTV, connected via HDMI
cables. The included wireless
keyboard has a touchpad for
scrolling and “back” and “home”
buttons for Web-page navigation.

Dish, seeking an edge against
its pay TV rivals, worked with
Google to develop an IP-based
proprietary protocol to allow the
satellite operator’s receivers to
communicate with Google TV
devices and deliver the integrated
search function. The box will be
compatible only with certain receiver
models — the ViP 622, 722
and 722k — and requires a broadband
Internet connection.

The additional $4 monthly
fee will apply for subscribers to
take advantage of the features
integrated with Dish receivers
(whether they buy a Google TV
device at retail or through Dish).

“The active communication
between the Logitech Revue and
Dish Network will allow for the development
of applications which
will continually enhance our TV
service with Web content and
data,” Dish chief marketing offi -
cer Ira Bahr said in a statement.

Logitech also is selling an optional
“Mini Controller” for the
Revue set-top, a 6-by-3.5-inch
keyboard, touchpad and remote
control combo, with a list price
of $130. In addition, the company’s
Logitech TV Cam (list price
$150) is designed to make highdefi
nition video calls on TV, using
an app that comes preinstalled on
the Revue.

Logitech’s Google TV products
are expected to be available online
and in Best Buy stores across
the U.S. by the end of October.
Also this month, Sony is set to roll
out a Google-powered HDTV and
Blu-ray Disc player.

Google and partners prepped Web-enabled TV:

• Google set content partnerships with Turner Broadcasting System, HBO, CNBC, Netflix, Amazon, NBA.
• Logitech announced $300 Revue set-top based on Google TV software with keyboard and related photos.
• Dish Network will sell Revue for $179 (plus $4 monthly fee) to subscribers.
SOURCE: Company reports

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