Oct 22 AT 9:53 AM Nick Gray 34 Comments

Google TV hits a snag, television networks block online content

Anyone thinking about picking up the Logitech Revue or any of SONY’s Google TV products may want to hold off for a bit. The whole point of Google TV is to watch what you want when you want. But all that is a bit pointless when television networks block their streaming online content.

ABC, NBC, and CBS have already put measures in place to block any and all Google TV products from accessing their online libraries of shows. Currently, Fox is the only major broadcast channel that is still available, but there’s no guarantee as to how long that will last.

Reuters is reporting that Google is in negotiations with the three broadcast companies that have blocked access to Google TV. The hope is that an agreement is reached so that content from their websites can be optimized for Google TV just as sites like TBS, TNT, HBO, and CNN have.

How successful will Google TV be if online content is not available?

Source: Reuters

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. He started HTCsource.com (the first HTC blog) back in 2007 and later joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

    Most Tweeted This Week

  • http://Website Steve

    Nettops are still the way to got IMO…

  • http://Website Dave

    So I can still HDMI from my laptop and watch all my shows, hulu, and netflix? Why would I need a Google TV? Just saying. I think Google gets too excited to release a product they don’t even plan for content to be available. Huge fail. Sorry for those early adopters.

    • Alan Reboli

      It’s great that you have that. I do as well. But do you really think that the general public even knows how to set something like that up? It may be easy for us, but it isn’t for everyone. I think this is a fantastic idea.. but it will take a little time to sell the networks on it. Cable/Sat companies are soon going to be a thing of the past.

      • http://Website Sean LeRoy

        Yep, Cable co’s have been put on notice!

      • http://Website Dave

        What will make or break Google TV is content. If you have no content than you have no customers. Until Google has contracts with Netflix, Hulu, and the major networks I don’t see many people getting interested in Google TV.

    • http://www.thegwave.net Chris Lang

      @Dave, I am one of those early adopters, and I could care less about watching ABC, CBS or NBC, what I want is YouTube in the living room. I want my Podcasts on my TV. I want to watch GoToMeeting Webinars on my TV, in my living room, with my PA and my staff attending.

      The last thing I want to do is HDMI my laptop into my TV.

      I do not want to endlessly scroll thru my COX 400 channel cable guide and by the time I find something find out I have missed the beginning of the show. I want to use my GTV search to find what I want fast, if it is on in my viewing period and I want to use a real keyboard while relaxing on my big fat couch. Not with a hot laptop on my chest or on my coffee table.

      Or have an HDMI cable stretched across a 10 foot span from my couch to my TV 5 feet up on my wall. Loving my Sony box and my Google TV.

  • http://Website DROID Sam

    I don’t understand why content providers are unwilling to give internet TV a chance to succeed. Hulu is tremendously successful. I just don’t understand how they don’t see this as a benefit to their business.

    Hulu mentioned that their Hulu Plus service would be coming ot Android, so let’s hope that Google TV will be included in that. if Hulu get on board with Google TV, it really does not matter is the TV stations block their content.

    • Tebbe

      I think the networks do see internet distribution as a benefit, but the problem is the distribution contracts with cable providers. The networks are free to distribute their shows through the internet, but as soon as it’s convenient for the average user to watch it on a TV, it violates the contracts that the networks have with Comcast, Cox, etc.

      That’s just my guess, but I know Boxee had issues with Hulu, but know gets around it by using a Mozilla based browser that Hulu can’t distinguish from Firefox.

      • http://Website DROID Sam

        I don’t think that’s the case since NBC, CBS, and ABC broadcast their content themselves over the air. Yes, they have additional distribution through cable and satellite, but their content is free over the airwaves.

  • http://www.ericschuetz.com etschuetz

    The reason behind the issues of the major broadcast companies not backing Google TV right now with their online libraries boils down to ad revenue. Hulu, Fancast, ABC.com and TV.com all generate ad revenue for their respective companies due to the fact that they own the sites, the libraries and the ad spaces available for sale. There is also the issue of tracking. There is no tracking system in place to monitor viewing habits based on online viewing. (This I think is bunk, especially when a majority of Hulu users have a profile account to track their favorite shows!)

    When Google and the broadcasting companies can get something situated in regards to ad revenue, we will start seeing more content from those companies very soon.

    • http://Website Mike

      Google TV in basically just a web browser though. Those sites will still be showing their ads through it won’t they?

    • http://Website Nick

      Actually, web content can be tracked 1000 times better than actual TV. Advertisers embed cookies in their ads and can track exactly what your web surfing habits are and then can deliver an ad based on your habits.

      Ever notice how your ads change based on the sites you visit. Try surfing to ameriprise.com, geico.com, or even you your TV service provider’s site. Then hit your favorite blogs. You’ll find that ads from those companies will follow you throughout the day once you have visited their sites.

  • http://Website Carl

    The most likely scenario is that its all contractual… Just like they blocked Flash enabled mobile phones from accessing content, they are blocking Flash enabled internet devices in the form of television. Providers just don’t give this up without additional royalties to media outlets and eventually it would trickle down to you via subscriptions or more commercials.

    To be fair, why would they? If you pay for cable AND watch a ton of commercials, why should you get out of of nearly both just because you have fancy technology? Of course I want everything free, free, free especially when I already pay for subscriptions to anything I watch (but streamed or downloaded, never broadcast) but I bet this has a lot to do with it.

  • http://Website Davidf

    Can this be solved by changing the browser to identify as Generic as was put forth as a solution to the Hulu problem?

    • http://Website DROID Sam

      I doubt it since Hulu has already made a few tweaks to block that as well.

  • http://Website DmC

    I think it wrong for the networks to block content from google tv…all their shows are available for free on their websites and some on Hulu …google is most likely not making any money off hardware or software if they block google why dont they block any device that can get on web and watch their shows

  • http://Website Nick

    One thing to consider is the ad revenue that these companies are making. Yes, their online content still features ads, but since it’s main purpose is intended for single views though a computer, they receive a lot less money than they do for regular TV ads.

    I’m pretty sure that NBC, CBS, and ABC was to maximize their revenue and will want to set up a new ad model that better supports Google TV since it is more like traditional media

  • http://Website joeskie

    about as sucsessfull as helen keller was at being an air traffic controler.

  • http://Website CJ

    My revue is coming in the mail, and I was dissapointed to read all these articles about the blocked content. I found one article that said you could change the chrome browser to emulate Firefox and get around this. I will find out as soon as I get mine.

  • Sinanovski

    At $300 a pop, it will never catch on. You know what I did? Went to Walmart, bough $280 acer 10.1 inch netbook, plugged in my TV into it. Bought a $30 wireless mouse and keyboard. And if at any time I decide to not watch internet videos this way, I still have a decent laptop. Hulu has most of the stuff I watch anyway.

  • http://addicted-2-retail.com addicted

    Hulu desktop + xbmc > google tv . . . . Any day of the week . . . .

  • http://WWw.packonback.posterous.com Josh

    Tell Google not to list nbc abc and check in search.

  • http://WWw.packonback.posterous.com Josh

    Tell Google not to list nbc abc and cbs in search.

  • http://www.ategan.com RyanH

    It seems that a lot of people are making comments when they dont really know what Google TV is. Believe it or not its not just about online content. Hooking a laptop up to your TV is not a replacement for Google TV. Yes, you can watch online content…but what about surfing the internet from your couch while watching live TV in the corner of the screen, or searching content with your voice from your android phone to your TV, sharing a youtube video from your android phone to your big screen, performing a google search to find your home pictures and videos right from your TV, running pandora, netflix, etc….watch a few demos and see for yourself.

    • Sinanovski

      Or how about this.
      Get ANOTHER laptop to surf internet and watch TV on that netbook I was talking about?? If you are really watching TV, why would you want to surf internet? Wouldn’t that take your attention away from the episode you’re watching? Do a quick search you say…well ok, you can do the same “quick search” right on your secondary laptop, or just pause your program, new tab and search away. Have we really become that lazy that we have to go to the extremes like that? I mean, is it that hard to minimize and search if you wanted to search?

    • http://www.joeyandroid.com JoeyAndroid

      Well said, RyanH!

      Google TV is definitely for early adopters right now. Google TV is about the real convergence of TV and the Internet and if I can add, “The Computer”. TV content is necessary but the success will depend on the apps, i.e. the integration between the smartphones, tablets, Google TVs and whatever other Android(and Chrome) devices comes out. I can see a whole new way of doing video conferencing and 3D virtual worlds with Google TV. I’m sure by the time that the apps become more obvious then Google will have deals with the TV content.

      Also, I’m sure early adopters will find ways around the blockage. Add an indoor antenna?

  • http://Website Mark

    Ah! Don’t you just love capitalism? The media corporations are just mad because they aren’t making money directly from the Google TV.

    Anyway, I’m sure as hell not getting this new Google product. In an age where internet privacy is becoming vague and almost a laughing term to big corps, now they will have access to your viewing habits, what times you watch, what you watch etc. Thanks but no thanks.

    • http://Website George

      Hahaha the move to digital TV already allows them to track your viewing habits with far less protection of your anonymity than the internet does… after all, the cable and satellite tv companies sold you the equipment so they have all your info and exact address down to the room in which you set up your stuff. If privacy is your concern, we lost that battle years ago.

  • http://Website George

    How short-sighted of these networks. But their programming isn’t the only thing Google TV is usefull for, so I’m still going to go ahead and get mine.

  • http://Website LegalUser

    Well, when consumers can’t find legal way to watch their content, consumers have no choice but to torrent it. Way to go TV networks, forcing consumers to pirate stuff. Geeze.

  • http://Website JRB

    This is silly. If you already have a HD TV, just get a decent laptop with a very good video card and a remote laptop and mouse. I’ve been doing that for years. I can go to ANY website from my coach without worrying about who’s blocking what or needing some type of special App. Netflix works like a dream this way! I also stream internet radio, Pandora and iTunes seamlessly through the surround sound home theater that is already part of my system. .
    One very big positve is that my remote mouse is NOT attached to my remote keyboard. Most of the time I just use the mouse to surf and leave the keyboard on the coffee table or under a chair. Besides, it’s kinda tough to be that far away from the screen or laying back on a couch if you are going to be typing more than just a few sentences. I just use the mouse and visit all my favorite websites without needing to type a thing.
    Besides, the obvious glarring omission here is the lack of a hard drive for downloading and saving contact from the internet.

    • http://Website JRB

      Sorry, the first sentence in my comment should have read: If you already have a HD TV, just get a decent laptop with a very good video card and a remote “KEYBOARD” and mouse.

  • http://Website Matt

    If Google TV uses your existing cable/satellite service, the networks can’t directly block anything without legal proceedings. All Google needs, is the regional listing of shows. Then Google TV captures those shows right in your home while they stream.

    MythTV has been doing this successfully for years.

  1. SteveGuest 4 years ago

    Nettops are still the way to got IMO…

  2. DaveGuest 4 years ago

    So I can still HDMI from my laptop and watch all my shows, hulu, and netflix? Why would I need a Google TV? Just saying. I think Google gets too excited to release a product they don’t even plan for content to be available. Huge fail. Sorry for those early adopters.

    • It’s great that you have that. I do as well. But do you really think that the general public even knows how to set something like that up? It may be easy for us, but it isn’t for everyone. I think this is a fantastic idea.. but it will take a little time to sell the networks on it. Cable/Sat companies are soon going to be a thing of the past.

      • Sean LeRoyGuest 4 years ago

        Yep, Cable co’s have been put on notice!

      • DaveGuest 4 years ago

        What will make or break Google TV is content. If you have no content than you have no customers. Until Google has contracts with Netflix, Hulu, and the major networks I don’t see many people getting interested in Google TV.

    • Chris LangGuest 4 years ago

      @Dave, I am one of those early adopters, and I could care less about watching ABC, CBS or NBC, what I want is YouTube in the living room. I want my Podcasts on my TV. I want to watch GoToMeeting Webinars on my TV, in my living room, with my PA and my staff attending.

      The last thing I want to do is HDMI my laptop into my TV.

      I do not want to endlessly scroll thru my COX 400 channel cable guide and by the time I find something find out I have missed the beginning of the show. I want to use my GTV search to find what I want fast, if it is on in my viewing period and I want to use a real keyboard while relaxing on my big fat couch. Not with a hot laptop on my chest or on my coffee table.

      Or have an HDMI cable stretched across a 10 foot span from my couch to my TV 5 feet up on my wall. Loving my Sony box and my Google TV.

  3. DROID SamGuest 4 years ago

    I don’t understand why content providers are unwilling to give internet TV a chance to succeed. Hulu is tremendously successful. I just don’t understand how they don’t see this as a benefit to their business.

    Hulu mentioned that their Hulu Plus service would be coming ot Android, so let’s hope that Google TV will be included in that. if Hulu get on board with Google TV, it really does not matter is the TV stations block their content.

    • I think the networks do see internet distribution as a benefit, but the problem is the distribution contracts with cable providers. The networks are free to distribute their shows through the internet, but as soon as it’s convenient for the average user to watch it on a TV, it violates the contracts that the networks have with Comcast, Cox, etc.

      That’s just my guess, but I know Boxee had issues with Hulu, but know gets around it by using a Mozilla based browser that Hulu can’t distinguish from Firefox.

      • DROID SamGuest 4 years ago

        I don’t think that’s the case since NBC, CBS, and ABC broadcast their content themselves over the air. Yes, they have additional distribution through cable and satellite, but their content is free over the airwaves.

  4. The reason behind the issues of the major broadcast companies not backing Google TV right now with their online libraries boils down to ad revenue. Hulu, Fancast, ABC.com and TV.com all generate ad revenue for their respective companies due to the fact that they own the sites, the libraries and the ad spaces available for sale. There is also the issue of tracking. There is no tracking system in place to monitor viewing habits based on online viewing. (This I think is bunk, especially when a majority of Hulu users have a profile account to track their favorite shows!)

    When Google and the broadcasting companies can get something situated in regards to ad revenue, we will start seeing more content from those companies very soon.

    • MikeGuest 4 years ago

      Google TV in basically just a web browser though. Those sites will still be showing their ads through it won’t they?

    • NickGuest 4 years ago

      Actually, web content can be tracked 1000 times better than actual TV. Advertisers embed cookies in their ads and can track exactly what your web surfing habits are and then can deliver an ad based on your habits.

      Ever notice how your ads change based on the sites you visit. Try surfing to ameriprise.com, geico.com, or even you your TV service provider’s site. Then hit your favorite blogs. You’ll find that ads from those companies will follow you throughout the day once you have visited their sites.

  5. CarlGuest 4 years ago

    The most likely scenario is that its all contractual… Just like they blocked Flash enabled mobile phones from accessing content, they are blocking Flash enabled internet devices in the form of television. Providers just don’t give this up without additional royalties to media outlets and eventually it would trickle down to you via subscriptions or more commercials.

    To be fair, why would they? If you pay for cable AND watch a ton of commercials, why should you get out of of nearly both just because you have fancy technology? Of course I want everything free, free, free especially when I already pay for subscriptions to anything I watch (but streamed or downloaded, never broadcast) but I bet this has a lot to do with it.

  6. DavidfGuest 4 years ago

    Can this be solved by changing the browser to identify as Generic as was put forth as a solution to the Hulu problem?

  7. DmCGuest 4 years ago

    I think it wrong for the networks to block content from google tv…all their shows are available for free on their websites and some on Hulu …google is most likely not making any money off hardware or software if they block google why dont they block any device that can get on web and watch their shows

  8. NickGuest 4 years ago

    One thing to consider is the ad revenue that these companies are making. Yes, their online content still features ads, but since it’s main purpose is intended for single views though a computer, they receive a lot less money than they do for regular TV ads.

    I’m pretty sure that NBC, CBS, and ABC was to maximize their revenue and will want to set up a new ad model that better supports Google TV since it is more like traditional media

  9. joeskieGuest 4 years ago

    about as sucsessfull as helen keller was at being an air traffic controler.

  10. CJGuest 4 years ago

    My revue is coming in the mail, and I was dissapointed to read all these articles about the blocked content. I found one article that said you could change the chrome browser to emulate Firefox and get around this. I will find out as soon as I get mine.

  11. At $300 a pop, it will never catch on. You know what I did? Went to Walmart, bough $280 acer 10.1 inch netbook, plugged in my TV into it. Bought a $30 wireless mouse and keyboard. And if at any time I decide to not watch internet videos this way, I still have a decent laptop. Hulu has most of the stuff I watch anyway.

  12. addictedGuest 4 years ago

    Hulu desktop + xbmc > google tv . . . . Any day of the week . . . .

  13. JoshGuest 4 years ago

    Tell Google not to list nbc abc and check in search.

  14. JoshGuest 4 years ago

    Tell Google not to list nbc abc and cbs in search.

  15. RyanHGuest 4 years ago

    It seems that a lot of people are making comments when they dont really know what Google TV is. Believe it or not its not just about online content. Hooking a laptop up to your TV is not a replacement for Google TV. Yes, you can watch online content…but what about surfing the internet from your couch while watching live TV in the corner of the screen, or searching content with your voice from your android phone to your TV, sharing a youtube video from your android phone to your big screen, performing a google search to find your home pictures and videos right from your TV, running pandora, netflix, etc….watch a few demos and see for yourself.

    • Or how about this.
      Get ANOTHER laptop to surf internet and watch TV on that netbook I was talking about?? If you are really watching TV, why would you want to surf internet? Wouldn’t that take your attention away from the episode you’re watching? Do a quick search you say…well ok, you can do the same “quick search” right on your secondary laptop, or just pause your program, new tab and search away. Have we really become that lazy that we have to go to the extremes like that? I mean, is it that hard to minimize and search if you wanted to search?

    • Well said, RyanH!

      Google TV is definitely for early adopters right now. Google TV is about the real convergence of TV and the Internet and if I can add, “The Computer”. TV content is necessary but the success will depend on the apps, i.e. the integration between the smartphones, tablets, Google TVs and whatever other Android(and Chrome) devices comes out. I can see a whole new way of doing video conferencing and 3D virtual worlds with Google TV. I’m sure by the time that the apps become more obvious then Google will have deals with the TV content.

      Also, I’m sure early adopters will find ways around the blockage. Add an indoor antenna?

  16. MarkGuest 4 years ago

    Ah! Don’t you just love capitalism? The media corporations are just mad because they aren’t making money directly from the Google TV.

    Anyway, I’m sure as hell not getting this new Google product. In an age where internet privacy is becoming vague and almost a laughing term to big corps, now they will have access to your viewing habits, what times you watch, what you watch etc. Thanks but no thanks.

    • GeorgeGuest 4 years ago

      Hahaha the move to digital TV already allows them to track your viewing habits with far less protection of your anonymity than the internet does… after all, the cable and satellite tv companies sold you the equipment so they have all your info and exact address down to the room in which you set up your stuff. If privacy is your concern, we lost that battle years ago.

  17. GeorgeGuest 4 years ago

    How short-sighted of these networks. But their programming isn’t the only thing Google TV is usefull for, so I’m still going to go ahead and get mine.

  18. LegalUserGuest 4 years ago

    Well, when consumers can’t find legal way to watch their content, consumers have no choice but to torrent it. Way to go TV networks, forcing consumers to pirate stuff. Geeze.

  19. JRBGuest 4 years ago

    This is silly. If you already have a HD TV, just get a decent laptop with a very good video card and a remote laptop and mouse. I’ve been doing that for years. I can go to ANY website from my coach without worrying about who’s blocking what or needing some type of special App. Netflix works like a dream this way! I also stream internet radio, Pandora and iTunes seamlessly through the surround sound home theater that is already part of my system. .
    One very big positve is that my remote mouse is NOT attached to my remote keyboard. Most of the time I just use the mouse to surf and leave the keyboard on the coffee table or under a chair. Besides, it’s kinda tough to be that far away from the screen or laying back on a couch if you are going to be typing more than just a few sentences. I just use the mouse and visit all my favorite websites without needing to type a thing.
    Besides, the obvious glarring omission here is the lack of a hard drive for downloading and saving contact from the internet.

    • JRBGuest 4 years ago

      Sorry, the first sentence in my comment should have read: If you already have a HD TV, just get a decent laptop with a very good video card and a remote “KEYBOARD” and mouse.

  20. MattGuest 4 years ago

    If Google TV uses your existing cable/satellite service, the networks can’t directly block anything without legal proceedings. All Google needs, is the regional listing of shows. Then Google TV captures those shows right in your home while they stream.

    MythTV has been doing this successfully for years.