Parks Associates Blog

Monday, November 29, 2010

More Thoughts on Google TV

What's your take on Google TV?
It asks a lot from the end-user in terms of the ways in which we are supposed to interact with our TVs. I’m just not convinced that Google searches are the way in which most of us want to experience television, choosing instead 1) search features that rely still on simple “up/down/left/right” commands with a remote controller; and 2) more “push” recommendations about programming, video, and entertainment instead of an active keyboard-like search. After reviewing the product for a few hours, I was literally exhausted by the keyboard strokes and the back-and-forth required. I think that the integrated online/broadcast/pay-TV convergence is going to be much more subtle, with programming choices and recommendations embedded into an existing guide/user interface that doesn’t require the user to pull up a search box every time.

Also, having just gotten an iPhone 4 within the past few weeks (my first true smartphone), I wonder why the Internet searching and content finding wouldn’t be done on a separate device like the smartphone/tablet computer anyway? First, it’s much faster. Second, I don’t incur the wrath of the family by having my searches and Web experiences on the same TV screen with the program they are trying to watch. I did this yesterday while we were watching an NFL game – I split the screen so I could track my fantasy football score. I’d rather have my iPhone fantasy football tracker app open and not disturb my family.

Are the studios afraid of Google; too much of an outsider?
Google makes its money monetizing search, pure and simple. The studios don’t trust Google because they have a well-established advertising model, and there has been no proof that what Google is doing can increase revenues and profits for EVERYONE, not just Google. And, what the industry is learning is that the standard search-based advertising that has made Google rich doesn’t work the same way on a video screen. You still need video-based advertisements. So, there is no evidence that what Google brings to the table improves interactive video advertising.

Are the recent price cuts the death knell, or just a warning shot?
I actually like the idea of having the Google TV embedded into a device that I’m likely to buy anyway, which is a new Blu-ray player to replace my existing DVD player. It’s not going to force me to find another spot inside my entertainment console for yet one more “black box,” and the configuration should be simple – simply unhook the existing DVD player and plug everything straight into the Blu-ray player. The challenge for this model is simply that Blu-ray players themselves are so darn inexpensive. Sony doesn’t have a prayer of selling many Google-capable Blu-ray players at $399 or even $299 when standard BD players are going for under $100. Even connected Blu-ray players providing access to Netflix and other apps (even Sony’s own Netflix-enabled BD player) are sub-$150 and even sub-$100!

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