Tag Archives: GoogleTV

What the Motorola deal means for Google TV

They’re a leading home device maker, and that’s also a big opportunity,” Google CEO Larry Page said of Motorola on Monday. “We’re working with them in the industry to really accelerate innovation.

By “accelerate innovation” Page means shoving free Google TV-enabled Motorola set-top boxes down the throats of consumers via the cable companies, and then claiming victory in market share over Apple.

They couldn’t sell the crappy Google TV to consumers, but that doesn’t mean they can’t bundle it to Comcast and Time Warner. Why improve the product into something people actually like when you can just buy the company that has all the licensing deals with providers? That way people will own a Google TV, whether they want one or not.

Same old Google.

Hulu Reworks Its Script as Digital Change Hits TV – WSJ.com

The free online television service has become one of the most-watched online video properties in the U.S. and a top earner of web-video ad dollars since its 2008 launch.

WSJ’s Sam Schechner reports on Hulu re-tooling its business plan to keep up with a changing digital world.

But its owners—industry powerhouses NBC Universal, News Corp. and Walt Disney Co.—are increasingly at odds over Hulu’s business model. Worried that free Web versions of their biggest TV shows are eating into their traditional business, the owners disagree among themselves, and with Hulu management, on how much of their content should be free.

Fox Broadcasting owner News Corp. and ABC owner Disney are contemplating pulling some free content from Hulu, say people familiar with the matter. The media companies are also moving to sell more programs to Hulu competitors that deliver television over the Internet, including Netflix Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc.

I had my worries about Hulu from the start, mostly because it was owned by a network (NBC). Never underestimate the power of a network executive to screw the customers.

In all seriousness, though, I think it was an unfair advantage, owning a significant chunk of content that you could then hold back from other competing services.

Two things that surprised me about Hulu’s success: First, the fact that people were willing to watch TV on their computer screens only. (When introduced, Hulu was strictly computer-only—there was no TV streaming option of any kind.) This continues to boggle my mind. The idea that you have a 42″ plasma tv in the living room, but you’re going to watch shows on a 15″ laptop with crappy speakers. Where’s the logic in that?

Second, the fact that it was ad-sponsored. The ads surprised me because I honestly thought people would not want to sit through ads anymore. (This was supposed to be a re-invention of TV, not a rehash of the old system.) Certainly, a dollar or two per episode was a better option than sitting though boring ads, right?

More importantly, I thought there was no way the ads on an Internet service would come close to making up for the difference in ad revenue on network television. In other words, as more people flocked to Hulu and ditched their traditional Cable TV viewing, the networks were going to lose money and figure out that web ads weren’t enough. Web ads are literally worth pennies vs. TV’s six-figure ad buys. The business model was not sustainable long-term.

That second part seems to be coming true. (Admittedly, I was wrong about the first. People really are freetards, when you get right down to it.) So now millions of Hulu users are going to be bait-and-switched into some new version of the service that costs them in some way. I wonder if they’ll be smart enough to revolt, or if they’ll just start coughing up the cash to feed their addiction?

I’m sure NBC will find some way to make the service completely unusable for everyone.

Microsoft TV – Another box running Windows (because that’s worked so well in the past)

Microsoft will reportedly announce a new Windows-based $200 set-top box using Windows Media Center as its primary interface, according to the
Seattle Times
. The company, which has been trying to put a Windows box in living rooms for more than 10 years with little success, is expected to make the announcement during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

I can’t believe that Microsoft’s strategy this year is going to be a box running Windows. Again.

When is someone going to fire Ballmer?

And the comparison here shouldn’t be Microsoft TV vs. Google TV. Both products are DOA. The set-top box battle is closer to Roku vs. Apple TV, but even in that case it’s way too early for anyone to have full success with this kind of product.

Jobs wasn’t wrong when he said that this category is never going to be a blockbuster market until someone kills the cable companies. That’s not going to be easy. And whoever does it is either going to have to partner with or buy Netflix.

Google TV in the Bargain basement bin

Sony’s price slashing promotion for its new Blu-Ray Google TV appliance indicates additional trouble for the Android-based device, following a content blockade imposed by television broadcasters, a rash of unenthusiastic reviews, and the fragmentation issues endemic to Android.

Sony announced a promotional $100 price cut on its $399 Google TV device, an unusually deep discount for a brand new product, especially for Sony. While the company offered a variety of Black Friday discounts on other Blu-Ray products, none approached the 25 percent off fire sale of its new Google TV box.

Sony’s combination Blu-Ray and Google TV device was just introduced last month, making the slashed price an indication that the devices weren’t garnering much attention despite the media attention focused on Google TV and its use of Android. As TechCrunch observed, “this doesn’t look so well for Google’s living room takeover plans.”

Funny, I don’t see many deep discounts on AppleTVs this year.

With the shift internally to the YouTube Division, the TV networks blocking almost all content, and now this steep discount, I’d say it’s just about time to add Google TV to the list of Google’s recent failures. Here’s the list, for those keeping score:

Nexus One

Wave

Buzz

Google TV

Hard to imagine any other company of this size making that many high profile mistakes in such a short span of time.

Google moves Google TV to YouTube Division

Google Inc. is shifting its troubled Google TV initiative to its YouTube division, The Chronicle has learned.

Some industry sources speculated that the move was a response to the surprisingly negative reaction to the new Internet television service among major media companies.

The Mountain View company declined to discuss the relocation of Google TV, but when asked, a spokesman said YouTube has realigned its content partnership efforts.

“Just like any rapidly growing organization, it is important for YouTube to evolve and grow in order to ensure future success,” he said.

Wow, that was quick. I’d say it’s still too early to tell if Google TV is definitely a failure, but this isn’t a good sign.

What’s more striking to me is that Google is making this move seemingly as a reaction to getting blocked by the networks. As if they didn’t expect that to happen. That’s either incredibly arrogant, or incredibly naive. Neither of which is good for Google’s stockholders.

And come to think of it, shouldn’t Google TV have fallen into the YouTube division in the first place?

So will Google TV join the ranks of the Nexus One, Wave, and Buzz as yet another in a long list of failed Google projects just in the past year? Again, I’d say let’s wait and see. It really has only been a few weeks since the thing was launched, after all. But internal moves within Google are most definitely not a sign that Google likes its own chances.

Google TV gets shut out by the major networks: Big surprise

If you were hoping to use your new Google TV device to stream full episodes of shows such as NBC’s The Office, CBS’ $h*! My Dad Says, and ABC’s Modern Family, you may be out of luck. The three major U.S. television networks—ABC, CBS and NBC—are reportedly blocking full episode video streaming from their Websites to Google TV devices. The three networks now join Hulu as holdouts for providing content to Google’s new set-top box. News Corp’s Fox and Viacom are not currently blocking access to Google TV, although Fox says it may still do so, according to The Wall Street Journal .

Anyone who is surprised by this isn’t paying attention. As I’ve said about a million times, the problem is with CONTENT availability. And the studios aren’t about to give it to Google any more than they were willing to give it to Apple, Amazon, Netflix, etc.

The Cable companies have way too much to lose. And the Cable companies are making the networks way too much money in advertising. Real advertising. Not crappy web ads that go for a few pennies.

Until the tech companies can make the studios enough money to fund huge budget sci-fi shows, the Cable companies aren’t going anywhere. Very simple.

So Google TV, as predicted, becomes another overpriced box sucking up power and getting you limited content. But least your remote has 45,000 buttons now.

Now, the last time the Powers That Be whined about Google trying to create a revolution (Remember the Nexus One?), Google ended up caving to their (carrier’s) whims. It’ll be interesting if Google can come up with something that will appease the TV studios, like maybe charging a ridiculously high price for episodes, or some other form of forced commercial content that makes the whole experience unbearable.

On the Sony integrated Google TV and Blu-ray units

On Tuesday night, Sony took the wraps off its “Internet TV” line of products which integrate Google TV software. The good news, at least for those considering an HDTV with integrated Google TV, is that the pricing is much lower than previously rumored. However, the set-top box with integrated Blu-ray player is still a little on the pricey side.

Many people are focusing on mocking that ridiculous remote control, suggesting that people don’t want to complicate their lives with a computer for a TV. They are all correct, of course, but my bigger concern is that integrating Google TV into a TV or a Blu-ray player will make it far easier for Google to claim more market share than they actually have.

When someone buys the Logitech Revue units, Google can rightfully claim it as a sale for Google TV. When someone buys a TV that happens to have Google TV integrated, is that a TV sale, or a Google TV sale? How do we know whether the user ever intends to use the Google TV part?

It’s a smart strategy for Google, but I fear it will lead people to false impressions.

Logitech Revue/Google TV – where to begin?

In the end, what Logitech unveiled is just a beginning. These are baby steps, and early adopters will pay for being first on the bandwagon. Yes, there’s a need for unifying the disparate content sources. The question still remains, though, how well that disparate content can be unified. This may be a tougher challenge than even Google can tackle. After all, even 20 years after reunification, Germany retains some of its long-standing divisions. The chaos in the living room may prove to insurmountable barriers, too.

$300 makes this device a non-starter. Having a keyboard in my living room makes it a non-starter. This thing is weaker than the Apple TV was three years ago, and people are talking about it as if Google is going to take over the world tomorrow.

I like Logitech products in general. But the whole concept of the Google TV is flawed from the start. No one wants to surf the web on a TV. We want to watch shows and movies. Period. And that can’t be done any better than it is now until someone takes the Cable companies out to pasture. And we all know how likely that is.

This product literally offers nothing that a cheap mini-computer hooked up to your tv can’t do. The five people (including myself) who were going to do that have already done it. So who is the audience for this thing?