plans to watch those missed new episodes of Chuck on
new Google TV may have to be put on hold. ABC, NBC,
and CBS have all blocked Sony's new HDTVs that pack Google TV from
accessing their treasure trove of online episodes that are accessible
from the PC for free.ABC, owned by Walt Disney Co., and NBC,
a unit of General Electric's NBC Universal, both still allow the
Google TVs to access free teaser clips. CBS, a part of CBS
Corp., does not appear to even allow access to teaser clips.Other
television providers have clearly come out in support of Google.
Among those who provide Google TVs with optimize content include Time
Warner Inc.'s HBO, Turner Broadcasting networks, and -- ironically --
NBC Universal's CNBC.Still other providers like MTV Networks
and Fox, a piece of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp empire, remain on the
fence with content still accessible, but no official endorsement has
been announced yet. A Fox spokesperson is quoted
Wall Street Journal as
saying, "A firm decision has not yet been reached."It
appears that ABC, NBC, and CBS are blocking Google TV both out of
fear that they'll draw less ad revenue from the online episodes, and
out of anger at Google's unwillingness to apply filtering to its
internet search results. Google TV says it has "optimized"
its built in search to show legal episodes first, though illegally
uploaded episodes may still pop up.The internet firm has long
clashed with networks on the topic of piracy. Viacom,
owners of Comedy Central and other television channels hoped to
spearhead the issue bringing a blockbuster suit against Google.
That suit ended in disaster for Viacom when Google exposed that
Viacom employees had been secretly
uploading video clips to YouTube under fake usernames,
seeking to incriminate Google. The case was quickly
dismissed after that revelation.A Google
spokesperson delivered a
tersely worded response on the topic to Reuters,
commenting, "[Google TV] enables access to all the Web
content you already get today on your phone and PC, but it is
ultimately the content owner's choice to restrict users from
accessing their content on the platform."Despite its
frustrations, the largest internet company in the world says that it
is continuing to actively negotiate with the networks to try to
restore the content.Ultimately Google's official statement
seems apt -- the biggest losers in this mess are the customers.
And the blocking networks have plenty of cause for concern. If
Google TV gains enough traction, they may find viewers switching to
watch TV episodes on more open networks like Fox (assuming Fox
doesn't decide that it wants to block too, of course).Google
TV is a specialized version of Android OS optimized to run on Intel's
new consumer electronics hardware. The hardware and OS can be
incorporated into Blu-Ray players, or directly into flat-screen TVs.
Past internet-access options relied on an extra set-top
box. Google makes no money directly from
televisions sold with Google TV. However, it does gain ad
revenue from ads that are served when the user searches for content.
It also is using the OS to help funnel more traffic to its property
YouTube, which is currently the web's most-visited source of
video.The platform is open to any TV product manufacturer,
but thus far only Sony has embraced the operating system.