Print 36 comment(s) - last by wordsworm.. on Nov 23 at 8:53 PM

Viacom has banned Google TV from accessing its episode's stations with nary an explanation.  (Source: Engadget)
Google isn't getting much love from the television industry

Google TV seems on a roll.  Powered by Android, the specialized software has already popped up in Sony's new Internet TV hardware and should be showing up in Samsung sets early next year as well.  

Standing in its way is a bizarre blockade from the television industry that appears to be taking its frustrations on internet video out against the new platform.  ABC, NBC, CBS, and most recently FOX have banned the platform from accessing their television websites.  And now Viacom, who recently lost a long and protracted court war with Google web-video subsidiary YouTube over piracy, has joined the merry band of banners.

Customers visiting the websites of MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon were rudely greeted with denials when trying to access TV episodes via their Android-powered internet TVs.

The decision to ban Google's TV platform seems baffling.  Customers could simply step a few feet to their computer and access the episodes.  And why did the networks put the episodes up in the first place if they didn't want them to be viewed?  The question hot on the minds of many -- why are networks pulling such a seemingly illogical and glaringly anti-customer move?  

At the end of the day it likely has some sort of vague basis in reality -- perhaps television providers are fearful of customers switching from viewing live TV to online episodes, which reportedly earn less ad revenue.  However, the boat seems to have already sailed on this front and the TV networks help cast it off, in fact, by putting legal episodes for their most popular shows up online.

Ultimately, the move will likely accomplish exactly what the networks least want -- driving more customers away to piracy and web video.

At the end of the day what seems particularly egregious is the fact that none of the networks will even talk about their decision to block the device.  Customers deserve an explanation, but networks seem determined not give them one.  Any worthwhile business man can tell you -- treating customers with disrespect is the greatest error any business can make.

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The explanation...
By xpax on 11/22/2010 12:36:03 PM , Rating: 5
... is simple. The big TV networks don't mind giving you the shows on your PC, where most people don't want to watch them. On the TV in your living room without a cable company raping you from behind? Uh, no. No can do. Sorry, that'd be convenient and then our big cable partners wouldn't be able to continue posting record profits.

RE: The explanation...
By zelachang on 11/22/2010 12:41:37 PM , Rating: 2
It seems like more and more people are just using laptops now though, and those laptops generally have HDMI outputs making it a simple 5 dollar cable to watch internet shows on TV. If internet TV really is the future, I doubt that banning streams to googleTV is really going to change much.

RE: The explanation...
By xpax on 11/22/2010 12:45:44 PM , Rating: 2
For a great many people that solution is too complicated. Plus the navigation and usability of this setup isn't anywhere near the simplicity of Google TV. They want something as simple as their cable box, without the cable.

Myself, I haven't had cable for years and just download TV content and use a custom-built interface for watching it.

RE: The explanation...
By Samus on 11/23/2010 1:56:10 AM , Rating: 1
I'd also like to note (like anybody doesn't realize this already) that Comcast has the worst customer satisfaction of any currently-operating privately held company OR government agency in the United States.

But what may shock people, is that their "official" response to critics is that they don't even give a shit!

RE: The explanation...
By sprockkets on 11/22/10, Rating: 0
RE: The explanation...
By rdawise on 11/22/2010 8:13:29 PM , Rating: 3
@xpax you are right on the money.

These companies have deals with Cable companies. They get a piece of the pie when you pay your cable bill. If Google TV catches on, their fear is that they can no longer screw you through you cable tv bill (thus can no longer hold Cable companies hostage). These companies could make a deal with Google, but fear their product would be "undervalued" which is crap-talk for the customer would actually pay a reasonable price. It's a fear change (RIAA) coupled with technological bias-ness. In other words BS!

RE: The explanation...
By Solandri on 11/22/2010 8:49:11 PM , Rating: 2
The crazy thing is that IP-based TV would give the media companies exact and instantaneous marketing figures on how many people are watching what. Right now they have to rely on Nielson ratings (Nielson uses a combination of devices attached to cable boxes and paper surveys). Those ratings are essential to setting prices for the ads broadcast during shows.

But Nielson is a known risk to the media companies. Google TV is an unknown. So they're hiding their head in the sand and sticking with the known.

RE: The explanation...
By TheRequiem on 11/22/2010 9:24:51 PM , Rating: 3
It's funny, I just canceled my Cable TV today... I am charged $87 a month for 3 shows that I watched every week. I now use Netflix and Hulu Plua on my PS3 for the same thig, in HD, for $16 a month. As soon as I saw Netflix switch to a $7.99 streaming only option, that was it for me. I can watch Netflix already on my Tablet, TV and Cell Phone, and hell, more to come from what I can see. It makes sense to me. However, I still am using high-speed internet from Cox, so all I did was increase the speed to their highest rating. A mere $13 more and twice as fast.

I see and hear a lot of people switching to Internet TV. The only thing I can imagine cable partners doing now is offering channels by group and having consumers in the future only pay for what they want to see. It's their only hope, because it's catching on.

RE: The explanation...
By maveric7911 on 11/22/2010 10:21:07 PM , Rating: 1
Not to call BS..... but your not paying 20 some dollars a month for the highest speed cable on COX. However quite bluntly that's a load of BS. I hate paying a ton for cable and internet too, but once you add in all your subscriptions and the real price of your cable you are no where near what you say your paying right now.

RE: The explanation...
By Boze on 11/23/2010 1:32:53 AM , Rating: 2
He never said he was paying $20 a month... he said he was paying "$13 more for the highest speed".

He's paying:
x + $13, where x = some unknown amount.

I don't think there's anything unreasonable about what he's saying.

change is hard
By muhahaaha on 11/22/2010 1:27:37 PM , Rating: 3
Big media (RIAA, MPAA, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, etc.) know that their business model is failing, and are grasping to hold on to the old ways. Can't make money selling crappy music and infinitely remade movies, etc. ? Start suing the masses. FU big media, can't wait to see you die.

RE: change is hard
By tmouse on 11/22/2010 1:56:57 PM , Rating: 2
What does “making money selling crappy music and infinitely remade movies, etc.” have to do with anything? Google is not becoming a producer of anything. There will also never be a huge outgrowth of quality home spun content. Didn't happen on cable will not happen on the net.

I'm guessing here but maybe Google had plans to cut out their ads and insert their own? That certainly would not go over with the networks.

RE: change is hard
By muhahaaha on 11/22/2010 2:34:27 PM , Rating: 3
Oh come on Rupert Murdoch, stop trolling.

RE: change is hard
By tmouse on 11/23/2010 9:55:08 AM , Rating: 2
You couldn't be further from the truth there. For reasons I will not go into here I can tell you if Rupert Murdoch's mouth cought on fire I wouldn't pee in it to put out the flames.

RE: change is hard
By Jaybus on 11/22/2010 3:47:23 PM , Rating: 2
It has everything to do with it, particularly for live TV. Fewer and fewer people want to watch live TV. Watching the same ads over and over during the far too frequent interruptions makes live TV more annoying and less entertaining. It wasn't always like this, but live TV has evolved into a practically continuous infomercial with occasional breaks for a few minutes of actual TV show.

Live TV has very little entertainment value to me anymore, and it is due to formatting designed to force ads down our throats. The shows that I probably would otherwise watch are, for me, rendered unwatchable by the formatting. As a result, I watch mostly Netflix and BD/DVDs. I plug an iPod into my car's receiver while driving and never listen to the radio anymore. I know I'm not unique in that regard, so have to conclude that fewer and fewer people are watching live TV (or listening to radio). It's not necessarily the "crappy" content, but rather that even really good content is made annoying by the "crappy" formatting.

RE: change is hard
By tmouse on 11/23/2010 9:52:20 AM , Rating: 2
Did you even bother to read what the OP said?

He was ranting against the content providers

FU big media, can't wait to see you die.

My point was this has absolutely nothing to do with the content per se, it’s about the transmission so his rant is meaningless in this regard. If they die there is no content for Google either.

My guess is Google would like to link directly to their transmissions and bypass their advertisements; which is their source of income. I cannot blame them if this is true. Even if it is not they are probably planning to mine viewing interests for ad sales like Google is planning to do so again since its their content, it’s their right. If the viewer information is all shunted through Google they probably would not be able to get that information.

As for the formatting you have a choice of ads or pay to view, you like to put your money up front, that’s fine. In many countries you have to have a license or pay a fee to get television then it MAY be ad free. Either way you pay.

RE: change is hard
By gorehound on 11/22/2010 4:54:27 PM , Rating: 2
I am looking forward to seeing the RIAA,MPAA, and BIG CONTENT die !!!
I agree with the poster.MAFIAA should die.
We really need to have a boycott big content day where no one buys any big content or go to the theater.Show the MAFIAA we also have power.

RE: change is hard
By wordsworm on 11/22/2010 9:28:36 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with your scenario is that these are the organizations who invest the most heavily in the entertainment that everyone takes for granted.

The world would be much better off without the pirates who continually steal the work of others.

Time for Google to...
By wordsworm on 11/22/2010 8:29:30 PM , Rating: 2
start its own TV network, make its own movies, etc. But I guess that's not as easy as just linking to pirated versions of others' content.

RE: Time for Google to...
By Boze on 11/23/2010 1:25:08 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think any industry would want Google to do that... as much as they tend to turn market segments on their ear, you'd see some tremendous crybabying from the major players... as they start to die off one by one.

RE: Time for Google to...
By wordsworm on 11/23/2010 5:42:40 AM , Rating: 4
To be perfectly frank, I weary of reading all the trollish comments which come from these types of blogs from the writers, and the chorus that they sing for regarding media content conglomerates and organisations.

They think it's easy entertaining people, maintaining a business, etc. But it's really quite difficult. Even taking your run-of-the-mill B rated flick, ie something that Steven Segal is in, requires an awful lot of skill and investment to accomplish.

Once upon a time, I thought it would be easy to put together a kids book. But I can tell you, writing the words to go in the book was the easiest part. Everything else I've had to do has been a much greater challenge.

Armchair critics of the entertainment industry often decry how terrible a given film often is. However, if they think it so simple to come out with an original and highly entertaining flick, why don't they do it? The answer is simple: it's not easy, not by a long shot. It's not easy to make a book, record an album, or shoot a movie, despite the fact that there's an awful lot of technology out there to help that wasn't there even twenty years ago.

Even if Google wanted to get into the entertainment business, it would have the hell of an uphill battle. They have billions to throw at it, I'm sure, but money doesn't necessarily equal success.

Thus far, they have done some pretty nifty things: the search engine that could has chugged its way all the way to the top. It's got Google Earth, which is a marvellous accomplishment, Google Sketchup, and the online library project (though they clearly needed to have their lines established firmly by a multitude of governments). However, they have never made a movie, a TV show, or even a CD. Let them make content for once, and stop living within the shadow of content providers by simply providing an infinite number of links.

RE: Time for Google to...
By Boze on 11/23/2010 1:29:50 PM , Rating: 2
I have a completely different viewpoint on this subject.

Its very easy to produce a work of art. Kids can do this. Young adults are doing this with the tools we have available now. What's difficult, if you want to call it that, is to produce an original and thought-provoking work of art.

The Walking Dead on AMC comes to mind. The series is enjoying nearly universal acclaim from all critics and viewers. AMC doesn't have the financial capital to make a House, M.D. or Dancing With The Stars (I cannot understand how 17 million people watch this), but what they do have was a good story from good writers that came from excellent source material.

Are you going to tell me that AMC is using the world's best equipment, the most highly regarded names in the entertainment industry, and the absolute best locations to make this show? I highly doubt that. I'd be shocked if The Walking Dead costs more per episode than Stargate Universe ($2 million per episode).

Do you think Google could purchase equipment, build a studio, hire talent (directors, actors, etc.), and then spend $2 million an episode to make a good show? I'd wager they could...

RE: Time for Google to...
By wordsworm on 11/23/2010 8:53:46 PM , Rating: 2
You're telling me that kids came up with $2,000,000 per episode and put together "Walking Dead"? Even if the script came from a 10 year old, I'd be pretty impressed. Are they working the cameras? Because so far, the only kid I've seen in the show has a very small part.

I wonder if a workaround
By SpinCircle on 11/22/2010 1:12:10 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if a workaround is as simple as changing the userAgent string in the browser settings?

RE: I wonder if a workaround
By Brainonska511 on 11/22/2010 1:25:00 PM , Rating: 2
People tried that originally to get around Hulu's blocking, but I think they quickly fixed that problem.

RE: I wonder if a workaround
By theArchMichael on 11/22/2010 2:32:55 PM , Rating: 2
Hulu and these other services probably use Flash to detect the browser and environment settings. I'm sure there's a way around it in Flash 10.1 but I doubt that it is something google would deliver with their TVs since I'm not even sure its legal or if it would violate their ethical code. Maybe an app... "Skyfire" is a browser app in the marketplace that supposedly can play Hulu videos from one's android phone.

RE: I wonder if a workaround
By leexgx on 11/23/2010 12:09:53 PM , Rating: 2
the google TV box needs to be rooted or replaced with your Own OS on the box so you can use an generic flash player (seems to be the flash player on the Google TV box it self is the problem as it has its own ID that only google TV use for flash player, changing the Borwser ID will not work in this case)

By kattanna on 11/22/2010 12:29:43 PM , Rating: 2
back in the day.. i remember a time when MTV actually played music videos, and heavy metal ones at that.

By rstrohkirch on 11/22/2010 12:56:15 PM , Rating: 2
Near the beginning of this year they gave up the descriptor "Music Television".

Net neutrality?
By foolsgambit11 on 11/22/2010 3:41:58 PM , Rating: 2
Would an action like this violate net neutrality rules, as currently conceived in the long-awaited guidelines the U.S. government has yet to produce? Or do those guidelines only cover the service providers, and not the content providers?

On the one hand, I don't like that the media companies are doing this, but on the other hand, perhaps they should have the right to refuse service to anyone (or in this case, any platform).

RE: Net neutrality?
By tmouse on 11/23/2010 10:08:33 AM , Rating: 2
I highly doubt net neutrality has anything to do with this. Whether we like it or not they pay to have the content made. They are starting to use the internet as a distribution system. In doing so they are realizing people do not want ads in the middle of shows like television, so unlike Tv where there is no other way (if you put the ads in the beginning people will have an easier time to by pass them, even with my DVR I sometimes forget and realize I do not have to watch the ads) they can could come up with ways to find demographical viewing information for ad sales instead of buying limited samples from companies like Nielsen. Google plans to do the exact same thing, so that makes them competitors. If you use your computer to access their site they are getting exclusive information, if you use a Google device either the information will not be exclusive or the possibility exists that Google could strip out the information by acting as a middle man, they are the only company with the resources to pull something like that off.

Business acumen
By BailoutBenny on 11/22/2010 4:07:36 PM , Rating: 2
Any worthwhile business man can tell you -- treating customers with disrespect is the greatest error any business can make.

The ad companies are the customers. The networks are catering to their customers. The ad viewers (us) are the product.

Network shows bring in viewers who will then hopefully be watching the ads that air during a show. This is the model of ad subsidized television.

HBO and other premium services don't have ads because they have subscribers who fund their content. They were forced to innovate and produce shows like The Sopranos because people got tired of watching the same lame movies over and over again.

People who want a la carte programming will have to pay HBO subscription prices per channel if they want the content when it "airs" or pay for netflix to get it 6 months to a year after the content airs, assuming netflix can obtain licenses to the content. HBO et al. may not renew streaming licenses in favor of direct distribution to subscribers. HBO is also owned by Time Warner Cable, who may withold licensing to try and keep cable subscribers.

RE: Business acumen
By rdawise on 11/22/2010 8:18:58 PM , Rating: 2
@BailoutBenny, you are correct, but correct me if I'm wrong but don't they display ads during the online episodes as well?

They can find a way to bombard you with the same amount of ads if they want to. Their ad revenue will find a way. But the fees they charge the Cable companies would take a hit. There's where your problem lies.

By rennya on 11/22/2010 6:36:58 PM , Rating: 2
It must be the EZTVDroid Android app (free) that is available at the app marketplace.

Can the Google TV Android uses the same applications too? If yes, then the bans are immaterial...

By mooty on 11/23/2010 6:56:50 AM , Rating: 1
We just have to wait for someone coming up with a patch, masking the fact that a googleTV device is asking for a stream, and then all this shit is over... Unless ofcourse you live in a country where these streams are not available anyway...

By mdogs444 on 11/22/2010 12:19:16 PM , Rating: 2
Any worthwhile business man can tell you -- treating customers with disrespect is the greatest error any business can make.

Perhaps. But any successful businessman will also tell you that all customers matter...but the customer is not always right.

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
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