It seems GTVHacker has done it again, this time bringing Sony Google TVs a software root that will allow access to restricted content from Hulu, NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, and others. While the root can be filed among the gentler GTVHacker solutions, it still required some extra effort: try four USB drives with at least 5121MB of storage space, and a month of the GTVHacker team’s time.
The rooted version of the software, achieved for Sony’s NSX-GT1 HDTVs and the NSZ-GT1 Blu-ray player, will make the warranty void, but can be reversed. It’s modified Flash plugin by-passes the locks that sites restricting content have placed on Google TV and opens the door for future alterations including a possible adblocker for the browser.
Be advised that messing with your Sony Google TV could certainly have disastrous consequences, but with the tantalizing toys that Sony is releasing in 2012, it might be worth the risk!
[via The Verge]
It’s official: Google isn’t ready to give up on Google TV. In fact, additional footwork is presently being laid to more widely implement and distribute Google TV—in Europe. Google chairman Eric Schmidt has very recently been in Scotland, where Google TV may be released next year, at the Edinburgh International Television Festival where he is giving attendees there a limited peek at what the next generation may hold for Google TV. Schmidt said that Google TV has yet to find the widespread success they had hoped for because it is integrated with a limited selection of TV’s, an appliance which we don’t tend to update more than once or twice a decade, and he suggested that more hardware and content partners will be coming soon, including the possibility of Google TV showing up on Motorola cable boxes as a result of the recent Google-Motorola buy-out. However with major networks like ABC, NBC, and CBS still unwilling to allow Google TV access to web- based content, a great deal of doubt still exists as to Google TV’s potential. We will keep you updated as to whether Google TV makes waves when crossing the Atlantic.
Just when we thought the war between Google and the networks was hitting a catastrophic level, there is now some light at the end of the tunnel. Reports are coming in that Disney and Google are back in talks over getting ABC.com content unblocked on Google TV, which would be a step in the right direction for ending the streaming content embargo.
Disney is still concerned primarily about piracy, stating that Google TV doesn’t fully block pirated content. There’s no word yet as to how close the two sides are to an agreement, and there is no indication as to when they might be complete.
All this hoopla over the what is now the four major networks (NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox) blocking Google TV has got a lot of people talking about the future of the platform. CNET’s Greg Sandoval is certainly thinking about it, and has published a piece today asking what the future holds for Google TV. When Google TV was first announced back in May, many people saw it as Google’s attempt to do away with traditional cable and dish television. Well, now the tables have turned and many people see the networks trying to do away with Google TV.
Since word got out that the networks were first blocking Google TV, Google’s talking points have shifted somewhat. When asked whether or not Google sees the platform as an alternative to cable, the standard answer seems to be that Google TV is not trying to do away to cable, but simply add to it.
We are all very familiar by now with the ongoing saga that is the major networks blocking Google TV devices from streaming full episodes of content from their websites. However, we are starting to understand more about how they are accomplishing the ban, and what hackers are trying to do to work around it.
It seems that now, instead of banning Google TV’s Chrome user string, they are now blocking the Flash Player ID that is unique to the version of Flash on Google TV devices. Hackers are going to continue to find workarounds, and the networks will likely to continue to axe those workarounds. What this ultimately does is show the networks how big the market is for Google TV, and may help encourage them to work out some kind of deal with Google, or adapt to make their streaming content more profitable for users who want to access it this way (like more ads).
Something tells me this is far from over, so stay tuned for the latest in the conflict between Google and the major networks.
Update 11/5 : Hulu has axed this one too.
Well, let’s see how long this one lasts. It would seem that Comcast’s Fancast (aka xfinity.tv), which allows you to stream content from major networks like Fox, NBC, and ABC (sorry no CBS) works just fine on Google TV using the same user agent trick that used to work with Hulu.com.
So yes, it does in fact work and you can watch all the content found on Fancast on your Google TV, which ironically seems to be pulling almost entirely from Hulu.com. However, the quality leaves a lot to be desired, and in many ways is unwatchable.
So for now it seems that if you REALLY REALLY want to watch this content on Google TV, the option is available to you. I would advice against it though, really.
During his keynote address at Streaming Media West yesterday, Google TV project lead Rishi Chandra trumped any notions that Google TV was attempting to end traditional cable and satellite for good. I was able to catch the second half of the presentation, including the Q and A session, and one of Chandra’s final discussion points was that cable and satellite is not going away any time soon. “We are not looking to replace cable,” said Chandra, ”our goal is not to replace it but to add to it.”
He also reiterated that Google TV is just a platform, and that Google currently has no plans of getting into the communications business and become the next version of a cable provider. Hollywood execs are “misunderstanding” what Google TV is meant to be, according to Chandra, but their argument is that the ad potential on Internet TV versus a traditional desktop browser is not as great, hence the networks banning Google TV devices.
Yesterday’s Q and A was rather short, so I did not get a chance to ask Mr. Chandra what Google was planning to do if they are unable to come to an agreement with the major networks. In answering another question, however, he did mention that they are still working on their negotiations with Hulu, which may ultimately be their only chance at getting some of the major network content back on Google TV.
After reviewing Google TV, it would appear that The Washington Post is not completely sold on the search giant’s foray into TV. The article wastes no time in making the comparison to devices like Apple TV and Roku, and states that “Google TV has a difficult job to do. And it does it poorly.”
The author cites a lack of overall intuitiveness during the setup process, something we also expressed during our initial impressions of the Logitech Revue. The article does praise the menu layout and navigation of the Google TV interface, but complains that it does not go far enough in that (unless you are a DISH customer) you do not have a means of exploring your DVR content through Google TV, and are forced to navigate your provider’s hardware interface.
What a week. First the SF Chronicle featured an article that network woes had caused Google to restructure the Google TV project to operate under YouTube. Then, VentureBeat posted that a Google spokesperson was denying the whole thing and that Google TV was not operating under YouTube. From the VentureBeat article:
A Google spokesperson has issued the following statement denying claims made by the San Francisco Chronicle today that Google had transferred management of its Google TV operations to its YouTube subsidiary
Now, it would appear that eWeek has a new story to tell, which is that Google TV was moved under YouTube during the company’s restructuring over a month ago, and before Google TV was officially on sale to the public. They do concur with VentureBeat that the move had nothing to do with Google’s recent issues with the networks, but the two sources clash on whether or not Google TV is operating under YouTube.
Yesterday we told you about the problems Google is currently having with some of the major networks. For those of you who need to catch up, ABC, CBS, and NBC are all blocking Google TV devices from accessing the video content on their websites, and Fox is considering doing the same thing.
Boxee CEO Avner Ronen thinks this is bupkis, which is not all that surprising considering these same networks might just consider giving Boxee the same treatment when their Boxee Box is released next month. Ronen had the following to say on the subject:
“We think that it makes much more sense for the business model to be based on the content and not on the device or the screen size. If someone paid for a video (or is watching the video with ads) it should not matter which device (or) browser he is using.”
It will certainly be interesting to see how this whole Google vs network TV fiasco plays out, and if Boxee is met with the same fate.
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