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Google TV–Show me the content

March 19, 2010

I was in the midst of writing a post about Google’s recent announcement that they are coming to a TV near you–and then found FastCompany has just published essentially the same post that I was writing. So in lieu of going into depth about it, I’ll simply summarize my thoughts–and they are pretty straightforward:

It’s all about the content. Everyone so far has been talking about the technical specs of the device, whether it will run Android or ChromeOS, what chip it will have in it, etc. They are all missing the point. There is no shortage of other people building settop boxes that bring the internet to  your TV. Boxee is my current favorite (and based here in New York, to boot!). The trick here is that it has to be more than that–to really succeed, users need to be able to quickly watch their favorite shows on the device. Unfortunately, content creators and the networks that own the content have not been enthusiastic about this (for good reason–they get paid better through their existing distribution agreements). If Google can convince them to license their content to the box, it could be a smashing success–as well as wiping out Boxee and its competitors. If not? It’s just one more box attached to the TV.

Now, I’m a believer in the power of Google to do things that mere mortal companies cannot. Do not underestimate them. But quite frankly, this plays more into the hands of Apple, who has existing relationships with the content owners and networks. Apple has yet to be able to get them to adequately license the content for Apple’s own settop box. Will Google be able to do so? Given Google’s current lawsuit with Viacom over YouTube, I’m not sure–but like I said, never count them out. I’d love to see them break the stranglehold of cable television, and if they can, I’ll be one of the first subscribers.

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From → business, technology

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