Google has queued up cable programmers and content partners -- including Turner Broadcasting System, HBO, CNBC, Netflix, Amazon.com and the National Basketball Association -- in the hopes of providing more compelling reasons for consumers to buy products built on its Google TV software.
But rather than providing grist for the "cord-cutting" mill, the Google TV content partnerships largely appear supplemental to cable TV services. Indeed, in HBO's case, a pay-TV subscription will be necessary to access the premium programmer's HBO Go service through a Google-based device, while the CNBC and NBA applications are designed to be used while watching live TV.
Google announced the partnerships in a posting on its official corporate blog Monday. "This is just the beginning," Google TV developer product manager Ambarish Kenghe wrote in the post. "Over the next few weeks, you can expect to hear from more sites that are enhancing their Web content for the television."
The ambitious Google TV project requires consumers to purchase a separate Internet set-top box or a new TV, promising a way to combine conventional TV with Web content, YouTube clips and other video, games and applications 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?).
Google TV-based products are set to debut this month. On Wednesday, Oct. 6, Logitech is expected to announce details of its Google TV set-top box, dubbed Revue. Sony is supposed to roll out an Internet TV and Blu-Ray player this fall that runs the software, while Dish Network has said it intends to provide some level of integration with Google TV devices and its own set-tops.
Now Google has started to step up marketing efforts by promoting content and services that will be available through Google TV.
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 cable, satellite or telco TV provider. Currently only Comcast and Verizon FiOS offer HBO Go to their customers.
Turner, meanwhile, has been "optimizing some of their most popular websites for viewing on Google TV," such as TBS, TNT, CNN, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, according to Kenghe.
NBC Universal has collaborated with Google TV for CNBC Real-Time, an application to track stocks and news feeds designed to be a companion to the linear CNBC channel. Similarly, the NBA Game Time app lets viewers follow scores in real-time and access game highlights.
Google TV users will be able to access Netflix's Internet-streaming feature with more than 20,000 titles on-demand, as well as the Amazon Video on Demand service, which offers more than 75,000 movie and TV show titles for rental or purchase.
Google said it also has been working with other technology and media companies to "optimize" their content for Google TV, including Twitter, blip.tv, The New York Times, USA Today, and music sites Vevo, Pandora and Napster.
Notably, Hulu is not currently a partner for Google TV. Hulu, a joint venture of NBCU, News Corp. and The Walt Disney Co., is pitching the Hulu Plus premium-priced service with a larger content lineup that's available on Internet-connected TVs and other devices such as TiVo DVRs.
A video teaser highlighting some of the Google TV apps is available on YouTube here.