When Google TV first launched about a year ago, traditional television ran for the hills: major networks blocked Google TV users from accessing web-based content in the fear that free online episodes would eventually make live, paid television obsolete. Now, Google TV is marrying catch-up streaming with paid traditional television by offering Google TV apps for major networks like TNT and TBS that require pay TV authentication. These apps, which showed up on the Android Market briefly a few weeks ago and have since been taken down (presumably for further tweaking), have an option for paid TV subscribers to log in with their cable subscription credentials so that they can then access full episodes the day after they air and play older episodes from an extended catalog.
Network apps requiring pay TV authentication will likely smooth over relations and encourage other networks to embrace Google TV, but its a bit contradictory to what most consumers expect when they think of an internet enabled TV. Stay tuned to see if Google TV has succeeded in playing nice with traditional TV, or if this new relationship with major networks scares off consumers.
More possible good news for the future of Google TV (be still my beating heart!): Netgear is evaluating Google TV as a possible avenue for its media streaming plans. With its NeoTV streamer being released later this month, Netgear’s present verdict in regards to Google TV is that “as a platform it’s not there yet,” and that Google TV appeals to a different audience than NeoTV. But alas, every shortcoming leaves room for opportunity. For those of you who are still rooting for Google TV, I’d say that it’s in a great position to attain the come-back of all come-backs, what with Honeycomb on the verge of release, talk of Google TV heading over seas, and the Google-Motorola buyout paving the way for a distribution scheme. Perhaps Netgear (and consumers) will soon start to take Google TV a bit more seriously.
A second leak of the Honeycomb build for the Logitech Revue indicates that things are coming along nicely: it appears that the beta bugs have been worked out and Netflix functionality is back (hallelujah!). Word is that it runs better, too, and users have reported that Google TV specific apps are finally hitting the Android Market. Looks like things are finally on track such that the next “leak” may be official. Stay tuned for more details as we move ever closer to Honeycomb’s release!
It looks like we may be getting closer to the official Honeycomb release date (perhaps the end of September, as Logitech sources have told us), as Sony is finally showing off it’s new Google TV hardware which sports a near-release ready version of Honeycomb. Word is that there still isn’t much to see, but alas they can’t have kept us waiting ALL summer for nothing. Keeping our fingers crossed that the projected end of summer release of Honeycomb is being pushed to the limit with good reason, we’ll wait for the final version to pass any judgements.
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