Google TV: World-Beater or Global Disappointment?


Is Google putting the cart before the horse with its TV-plus-Web effort?

The Internet behemoth has yet to prove it can succeed in the United States with Google TV — where numerous others have failed — and there are plenty of reasons to think the concept won’t get off the ground anytime soon, if ever (see this week’s cover story, Can Google Be a TV Star?). Google TV is supposed to launch this fall with partners including Sony, Logitech and Dish Network.

Yet Google is already eyeing international markets, with plans to debut outside the U.S. in 2011, CEO Eric Schmidt said at the IFA consumer-electronics conference in Berlin.

Google’s idea is to make TV listings, DVR recordings, VOD and Internet content all searchable from one place, as well as provide a common app platform with Android that can span any manufacturer or pay-TV operator.

It’s not clear to me that Google TV will provide enough to justify the extra cost of the hardware necessary to run it, which one industry exec estimated would add $50-$75 of cost per unit, resulting in up to a $300 higher sticker price (see Google TV: Up to $300 Price Premium?).

The point of comparison I’ve returned to is TiVo, which despite a superb value proposition — great interface and search; pause live TV; record any show you want so you can watch them later — has continued to decline. Sometimes “good enough” from a cable or satellite TV provider is good enough, to paraphrase Parks Associates’ Kurt Scherf (see Google TV: Following in TiVo’s Footsteps).

What do you think Google TV’s chances are? Add your thoughts below.