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Why Google should avoid set-top boxes

by David Mercer | Nov 22, 2007

Or at least, boxes that are provided, ie "managed" by traditional TV companies like cable, satellite and IPTV service providers. The rumours are rife that Google is planning an Android for the TV space, and should be no surprise since Vincent Dureau joined the company a couple of years ago, having been CTO at OpenTV, the interactive TV market leader. He isn't there to improve search, that's for sure... What commentators such as Techcrunch are missing is the critical distinction between a TV service delivered, managed and controlled by a set-top box as part of a vertical platform, and TV that is available through open systems. I'm sure Google can come up with plenty of cool interactive TV apps, but that is neither here nor there if the vertical service provider doesn't see them as a profit generator for themselves, not Google. Google's models, for the moment, depend on open technology frameworks, not getting into bed with vertical service providers. So the company should focus its TV efforts on pairing up with emerging web TV players like Akamai and Move Networks, which are forging a path towards Round the Back delivery of HDTV over the internet. It should also work with manufacturers of "Digital media devices" as its route the end user, ie TV plug-ins that get the web video straight to the big screen where people want to see it. What web TV lacks right now is a sound business model, and that may be where Google's advertising savvy comes in rather handy. Client Reading: Digital Disruption: Imminent and Long Term Threats to the Audiovisual Industry Online HD: Disney's ABC Throws Down Gauntlet To Competitors, and Access Providers Add to Technorati Favorites
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