“Consumer want to plug and play easily and want the product to just work,” says Derek Baine of SNL Kagan. “When it doesn’t do so, they tend to just put it back in the box and return it.”
The decision of content providers to stand in unison against Google TV comes as the consumer electronics industry gears up for its annual convention in January.
Initially, there were plenty of hints and whispers that Google TV would be integrated into a number of devices. Recently, though, that talk has quieted noticeably.
It’s unclear whether manufacturers are going into a silent mode or are concerned about the reaction Google TV is receiving and backing off of their plans. But the reception has certainly erased the sense of urgency surrounding the service.
“Delaying this [integration] is not a bad thing,” says McQuivey. “Say you’re LG and wanted to do something before Samsung, the number one set manufacturer, did. Suddenly, you don’t have that need to rush. If everyone says that, then there’s no press rush and Google TV suffers another setback.”
The irony, of course, is that even critics of Google TV are fairly enthusiastic about the device’s concept. Instead of having to search multiple places to find their content, people can quickly find what they’re looking for in a single interface, without having to scroll through long channel lists.
The service’s plans to add an app experience to television are also widely praised.
The problem is Google’s reputation. When the company bought YouTube in 2006, it was widely accused of ignoring the concerns of content providers, who saw the service as a haven for piracy. Though that division now has a cordial relationship with content providers, they’re still wary of the company.
They’re even more afraid of cord cutting—users canceling their cable subscriptions and instead watching programming online. A possible way around that would be to integrate Google TV into cable set-top boxes—but analysts say that’s not likely to happen soon.
“Cable operators want to be in charge of the interface, I think,” says Baine. “There have been a lot of other battles with other companies that are doing programming guides. Most of the operators have been very slow to roll out things like Tivo boxes that have their own interfaces, providing someone other than them with the opportunity to make a lot of money.”