Google TV, Sigh…

At the Adobe Max conference last month I, along with every other attendee were told that we will be receiving a Logitech Review, Google TV box. We are supposed to receive them sometime this month, but I have no idea when.

When I first found out I’d be getting one of these I was thrilled. I have held out huge hopes for what Google TV could bring to the table, and how it could be the opening salvo in impending the “Cut the Cable” war. The problem is, all of the major networks see the potential Google TV brings, and it has them running scared. Before I say any more, I want to be clear and say that I am not looking for Google TV to bring the entire PC/browser web experience to my TV set. I am looking forward to the opportunity to engage in light browsing experiences, and use the service to time shift and place shift my content consumption.

Since the launch of Google TV, there has been a steady withdrawal, and blocking of streaming content from all the major networks, and today broadcast giant Viacom joined ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox blocking even more content. Along with the major networks, streaming service Hulu is unavailable as well. Are we beginning to see a pattern forming? I think we are.

The problem all boils down to money. The big networks like the revenue model that is in place with cable. The Cable companies, while hating to pay the big networks for popular TV shows, know that they need the big networks in order to remain viable. Both see Google TV as a revenue threat which might explain why they are working so hard to block streaming TV content o the device. It’s a shame because there is so much potential here.

Last week Walt Mossberg, and David Pogue both gave mediocre reviews of the Google TV service, and frankly you can’t blame them. Google TV is rather limited right now, in both applications that are ready for it, and services that are available for it. Both Pogue and Mossberg feel that it’s not ready, not finished, and not well-integrated. This is true. It is version 1.0 for all the hardware and software that is out. The setup isn’t as easy as Apple TV, and the lack of services hamper the experience.

“Google TV is trying to do a lot, which is admirable, but doesn’t quite pull it off in a way that’s easy or understandable or fluid, and it doesn’t actually fulfill all its promises.” Walt Mossberg.

I am still holding out hope. I am hoping that Google can work out streaming content deals with all the major networks. I’m hoping that in the next few months as Google TV arrives on more sets, and on stand alone boxes that application developers will begin to create applications that truly extend the experience Google TV could offer. I’m ready for convergence. I’m ready to cut the cable. I’m ready for more than Twitter, Facebook, Netflix, Flickr, and Pandora, etc.

In the long run Google TV and services like it are the future of how we engage with our TV sets. At the Adobe MAX conference I heard in a session that by 2020 65% of all media will be consumed via streaming to a device like Google TV, rather than through traditional broadcast channels. That translates to 30 plus hours of media a week, per person, worldwide. That alone should be enough to convince the big four broadcasters to embrace this technology.

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