Monday, July 25, 2011

Google TV Goes Out with A Whimper

There's an old maxim in business: Shout victories from the hilltops and quietly walk away from failures.

Last Fall, after spending some time with no TV, I bought a TV and a "Google TV" Sony Blue Ray DVD player. I had Internet only from the cable company. No phone. No TV service.

Google TV promised me the world, as delivered by programming over the Internet. This is cool because the technology clearly exists. I can get programs galore on Netflix, Amazon on Demand, and Hulu. It had the added bonus of instant Pandora.

But the real promise of Google TV is that they were going to strike deals with ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, Hulu, and others. In other words, they were going to let to buy all those channels individually and in packages. No crappy cables. No extra boxes. No extra remote controls.

Now, after almost a year, . . . I got nothin.

Netflix works great. I pay for that separately. Manage it through my computer. But I could be watching Netflix over the Internet with my Wii. So I don't need Google TV for that.

Hulu hasn't struck a deal with Google.
ABC hasn't struck a deal with Google.
NBC hasn't struck a deal with Google.
CBS hasn't struck a deal with Google.
Fox hasn't struck a deal with Google.
MS-NBC hasn't struck a deal with Google.
Turner hasn't struck a deal with Google.
ESPN hasn't struck a deal with Google.


I can't event browse to those places with the built-in Chrome browser and watch their Free over-the-Internet programming because they block it from that device. You can hack the device, but they keep figuring out the hacks and blocking again. Spy vs. Spy.

The bottom line: Google has quietly died while no one was watching (so to speak).

Their blog is dead. Their support forums are abandoned.

Netflix is easier on the Sony Blue Ray box than on the Wii, but not enough to justify owning it.

Like Microsoft TV before it, Google TV just couldn't put it all together. The funny thing is, delivering TV by the old method makes absolutely no sense in the 21st Century. So this kind of technology just has to win eventually.

My suspicion is that it will work perfectly as soon as

1) "Internet TV" is pushed by a major cable company
2) They start selling into territories owned by other cable companies

Current law prohibits that. But that law was created to please the cable companies. The law that replaces it will have the same lobbyists on staff.


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