The battle over who will control the interactive TV biz is heating up now that Google is readying the launch of its Google TV service over the next several weeks.
The first set-top boxes that will connect flat screen TVs to the Internet to get Google TV up and running will be revealed next week by Logitech, with Sony following that up with its own press event next week to introduce a line of Android-enabled TVs and other hardware.
The service essentially turns your TV screen into a clickable screen of simplified applications for entertainment and other programming, much of it already found across the Internet.
The decisive factor in the growing competition to provide Web functions on the TV screen may all come down to the price of Google TV and Apple TV. Most content owners are hedging their bets and making sure their programming is offered across all new digital platforms so that they don’t have to wait and see which ones consumers ultimately embrace. In the meantime, they’re collecting any digital dollars they can.
A flurry of content partners, including Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, HBO, CNBC, Turner Broadcasting’s channels, the NBA and Vevo, have already said that they will offer up programming to Google TV users starting later this month.
The announcements follow Apple’s own list of content deals for Apple TV, revealed in early September, and in stores now.
Turner Broadcasting is adapting the video on its websites for TBS, TNT, CNN, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim to be viewed on Google TV. A CNBC Real-Time application to access business news feeds and follow stocks, while NBA Game Time will offer real-time game score and HD-video highlights. HBO Go, available to subscribers of the pay cabler, will also appear on Google TV, offering movies and TV shows on demand. HBO has been aggressively making deals to make sure its VOD service is available online, on Apple’s various mobile devices, through cable operators and new offerings like Google TV as a carrot to draw new subscribers.
YouTube, Twitter and music services from Pandora and Napster will also be available via Google TV. Android apps that appear on Google-powered cell phones, will be on Google TV next year.
Google has already started rolling out an online ad campaign, with the Google TV logo above a TV that shows a graphic of a screen filled with various clickable apps, similar to Apple’s iPhones or iPad. An official website launched today.
Ironically, Google is promoting a service for which it has yet to reveal a pricetag. Google revealed its plans for the TV screen in May, but hasn’t revealed any details on its launch plans.