Google TV Getting no Help from Networks

Google’s Google TV system is supposed to bring that same open, Android experience to your television. Unfortunately, that is not exactly the case. Google TV is supposed to allow you to do everything on your television that you can on a smartphone or even your computer to some degree. The only problem is, content providers don’t like it.

Fox has added itself to the list of networks that block Google TV from accessing its streaming, online content. This is in addition to ABC, NBC and CBS. That’s all the major networks in the US. What good is a Google TV if every content provider is blocking it? Hulu is as well, making this thing nearly useless if using it to watch television was your real reason for picking one up.

The complexity of Sony’s Google TV controller is also another reason to pay close attention before picking a Google TV unit up. Long story short, this thing is half-baked and Google is stepping on too many networks’ toes with it. Did Google really expect to enter a new market and not expect some fierce, unfair competition retaliation from the companies that actually make the stuff you want to watch on your Google TV?

With the quickly dwindling number of companies supporting Google TV (you’ve still got YouTube of course but Google owns that) I’ve got a suspicion that the Apple TV might actually be in a better position. Sure, the Apple TV is a pretty limit unit that only can stream media from iTunes with rental fees, but would you rather buy  a $99 box that streams what you actually want, or a much more expensive Google TV device that is having all of its media sources cut off?

Watching TMZ yesterday (okay, a guilty pleasure that I’m a little embarrassed admitting), the show had a segment where the Google TV from Sony was showcased when bringing up a YouTube clip for the show. The guy operating it obviously expected it to be as simple as using YouTube on his PC. Unfortunately, the whole process was a bit slow and complex. Long story short, Google TV doesn’t look ready for primetime. I can just plug my smartphone into my television or use a much cheaper hack (a modified, original Xbox) and get 720p out via Ethernet connected to my home server. The Xbox might be running Linux or some custom media server software but it works a heck of a lot better for a heck of a lot cheaper than the Google TV.

Until Google gets its Google TV problems sorted out with broadcast channels and better integrates the system into satellite and cable boxes, I’ll pass. I love the idea behind the Google TV, but right now, it is all just too half-baked to be a viable alternative to a computer/TV setup.

Agree with me that the Google TV isn’t ready for primetime yet or think that it’s the next greatest device to be released? I have no doubt that Google TV and products like it will find a strong spot in the market eventually, but until then, I would recommend passing.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

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