It’s been a long time since I posted something on my blog. and then, a twitter discussion with a friend sparked this thought in my mind. I am no expert on Google TV but given the nature of my job, i feel that I understand TV industry in some way now.
My friend questioned the existence of current TV technology in future as he thinks that Google TV is coming in as a killer for TV technologies.
I feel that Google TV might seem to be promising as a technological advancement for the TV software industry but it is still far fetched from the content distribution model.
To remind you, Google TV is just one of a software solution and it does not act as a content aggregator & distribution agent.
Even if you have a Google TV / STB at home, it does not mean that you’ll be able to watch live TV unless all the actors including content owners, content providers & content distributors reach a consensus and agree to a common content distribution standard like DVB being supported on to Google TV. The broadcasting industry is a tough nut to crack as they cannot afford to deviate from standards.
Developing Google TV in labs is one task but deploying in already existing market is another mammoth task.
1) Broadcasters cannot force users to change/upgrade Set Top Boxes/TV sets, So, for deployment, they’ll ask for backward compatibility, which Google TV cannot provide as they do not adhere to any kind of metadata/content distribution standards. This is needed as non compliance to standards means Broadcasters have to change headend systems resulting in multi million dollar investments sending the industry into a nascent stage again.
2) With opening the world of Apps on TV, Google might get into issues of security. Please note that the whole broadcasting industry is based on conditional access, be it, Satellite, Cable or IP TV. This conditional access protects the interests of broadcasters and enable them to make money by letting them control the content on user’s box. I could not find any strategy of this sort being announced with Google TV.
3) Watching TV and browsing simultaneously is definitely a good idea and developers/techies including myself love this but remember that, majority of the TV viewing eyeballs wish to watch TV in peace without interruptions of internet world. TV is a mass medium of communication so, the solution should appeal to the people living till the last mile.
4) Google TV technology is there but broadcasters is still far away from embracing it. I know the trials are on, and Sony has announced the Google TV production but then, I still did not find a business model where people can buy and still have a seamless TV viewing experience with their existing broadcaster.
5) The most important thing is that this is all about TV & broadcasting business which is a ground of traditional businesses and not of Internet. The last thing you want is that the world comes to know “what do you watch on TV after midnight” and Google just apologizes for mistakenly capturing the data in Google servers like their StreetView solution.
In short, I am not against Google TV or any other new digital TV technology. In fact, i am eagerly waiting to Google TV happen as a game changer, the only thing thing is I am still being skeptical given the way the whole Digital TV industry runs. and also, keeping the mind that the traditional digital TV solution providers have already internet enabled TV/STB running in market.
Google TV might not be a threat or a killer but definitely, is something worth to watch out for in future.
Quote of the Day:
"The unplanned organism is a question asked by Nature and answered by Death. You are another kind of question, with another kind of answer." -Morpheus