Will Google TV 2.0 embrace cord cutting?


Geek.com just published a few photos of Google (s GOOG) 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 (s LOGI) 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.



Davis is right on the money as always. I also wonder if this connects with the recent SageTV purchase, to push DVR capability. A big company really pushing OTA HD/DVR and streaming content as one integrated package could be a great option for people looking to cut the cord without having to jump through to many technical hoops.

Davis Freeberg

Hmmm, very interesting. How hard would it be for Google to harness existing hard drives on computers to record that content locally and then store it on a remote DVR Cloud? Doing so would set a ceiling on how much the studios could charge Google for on demand content, to just the technical costs they would need to spend to pull this kind of service off. With a fair use way to get TV, the studios would be much more likely to accept lower payments for Google’s cloud services. Cablevision has already set the precedent for RemoteDVR, Google will just be the 1st one to do it with an over the air antenna. Maybe a bit speculative on my part, but I think this is more proof that Google is gearing up for a bare knuckle brawl with Hollywood and that Hulu on GoogleTV is already a permanent casualty of the war.

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