Dish Dabbles With Google-Powered Internet Set-Tops

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Dish Network has launched a limited trial of Internet-connected set-tops that run Google search and ad-targeting software, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

The satellite operator's Google-based set-tops provide an integrated search function that lets viewers find TV programs as well as online video from sites including Google's YouTube, as well as a way to create a personalized lineup of shows, according to the WSJ.

Dish and Google have been working together for three years on the Google TV Ads service, for which the Internet search giant sells local ad space on behalf of Dish across 100 national networks. With the set-top test, the companies are looking at delivering targeted ads to individual households based on search and viewing data, according to the Journal.

The Dish trial with Google is limited to a very small number of employees and their families "and could be discontinued at any time," the Journal reported. The test boxes use a keyboard for entering search queries rather than a remote control.

The experiment represents the latest in a long line of attempts to merge Internet content with traditional TV. Cablevision Systems, for one, plans to kick off a test this summer of a service that would broadcast PC audio and video to a subscriber's set-top box.

In another example of TV-Web integration, TiVo last week debuted the Premiere set-top platform, code-named "Neutron," which provides unified search across broadband content sources, TV listings, DVR recordings and other content.

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