Google reached a deal with Disney/ESPN Media Networks to offer 15 networks -- including ESPN and Disney Channel -- to subscribers of the Internet giant’s soon-to-launch fiber-to-the-home IPTV service in the Kansas City area.
The networks to be available through Google Fiber TV are: ABC Family, ABC News Now, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, ESPN, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPNU, the Longhorn Network and SOAPnet.
Google also announced four other channel additions to the lineup: Ovation, TBN, TBN Enlace and Discovery Communications' Velocity.
However, Google’s Fiber TV still lacks several top cable networks -- including HBO, Fox News Channel, TNT, TBS and AMC. The service will offer an optional Hispanic programming package and movie tiers from Showtime Networks and Starz Entertainment.
“Google Fiber TV service already includes almost 200 channels, but we’ll continue to add more over time,” Larry Yang, senior product manager for Google Fiber, wrote in a blog post. “And since our TV service runs on a gigabit network, we can offer access to all our HD channels for no extra charge.”
On Sunday, Google ended the six-week preregistration period for Google Fiber in Kansas City with at least 180 of 202 eligible neighborhoods, or 89%, ready to get connected to the next-generation fiber-to-the-home network. The Internet company said it is still processing some address-verification requests and preregistrations from apartment buildings and condos, and will announce the final list of "fiberhoods" on Thursday, Sept. 13.
The Google Fiber service is $70 per month for broadband only with a one-year contract and $120 per month as part of a broadband/TV bundle with a two-year contract. Customers also can opt for a free -- but significantly slower -- Internet service at 5 Megabits per second if the pay the $300 construction fee.
Google Fiber is challenging incumbent broadband and TV providers in Kansas City, including Time Warner Cable, AT&T, SureWest Communications and, to a limited extent, Comcast.
Google's next-generation IPTV service in Kansas City uses a Nexus 7 tablet as a remote control and a Google-designed DVR, which includes 2 Terabytes of storage (enough for 500 hours of HD programming) and the ability to record up to eight shows at once. The TV service also will provide video on Android and iOS devices and will include a voice-enabled search function.
Google's 1 Gbps Internet service, meanwhile, is more than 100 times faster than the broadband most Americans have today.