Google set to bow TV service in U.K.

Smart TV service set for int'l roll out

LONDON — Google is bowing its smart TV service in the U.K. on July 16, the first time Google TV will be available outside the U.S.

In a partnership with Sony, Google TV will be available on some Internet-ready TVs and via a set-top box costing around £200 ($311).

Google’s head of global TV distribution Suveer Kothari said launches will soon follow in France, Germany, Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Brazil and Mexico.

Competing head-to-head with Apple, Google TV enables viewers to access Apps and websites while also watching broadcast TV. Google-owned video-on-demand service YouTube will be a key component of the initiative. YouTube has been beefing up its content offer in the U.K.

Kothari said, “We think there’s going to be huge benefits from bringing the Internet to TV. “Google TV attempts to address the problem that there’s not really a great experience to access the Internet on your TV screen, which is a similar problem we saw in the smartphone market five years ago.”

Like Apple’s offering, Google TV can be controlled via a smartphone.

Google’s move into TV in the U.S. has not been glitch free. Critics said it was too expensive and some TV networks blocked it from accessing their web content.

Smart TV in the U.K. has been slow to take off and many believe it needs the launch of the BBC-backed YouView, which will provide a lot of free content, before the market begins to grow.