Will Google TV 2.0 embrace cord cutting?

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Geek.com just published a few photos of Google TV’s Fishtank development hardware — a device that has been given to a limited number of developers to get a head-start on app development for the next iteration of the Google TV platform. It’s a pretty nondescript piece of hardware, which comes with the standard Logitech Google TV keyboard, but there’s one detail that caught my attention: The back of the unit features two antenna ports, suggesting that the next iteration of Google TV could embrace cord cutting.

Google has long tried to align its TV platform with pay TV operators, emphasizing it’s complementary to and not a replacement of, cable. That belief was also part of the design of the Logitech Revue Google TV set-top box, which gets access to live TV by inserting itself into the HDMI chain between your cable box and your TV.

The Revue didn’t feature an ATSC tuner, which would have made it possible to watch free over-the-air HD TV. The Fishtank hardware, on the other hand, does seem to have such a tuner, as well as the antenna input to go along with it. This could mean that users of the device could get HD broadcast programming and augment it with Google TV content and apps without paying for a TV subscription.

The caveat to all of this, of course, is that this is just development hardware, which doesn’t necessarily reflect how the final products will look. Heck, for all we know, Logitech could be sticking with its current set-top box design for years to come.

However, there will also be new Google TV devices from other manufacturers, and the fact that Google has decided to add the antenna port to the developers box could reflect that the important of over-the-air TV for Google TV is growing — be it through ATSC tuners integrated in TV sets running the platform or through dedicated antenna ports on next-generation Google TV boxes.

A Google spokesperson said that the company wasn’t able to comment at this time on Fishtank.

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