Can Google TV be Saved?

As of yesterday Logitech has been offering their Revue Google TV set top box for $99. I was at Logitech’s media day where they launched the Revue and I remember the mumblings from the media and analysts when they announced the price of $250. It was as if everyone knew that Logitech clearly priced themselves out of the market. $250 is quite a lot to spend on a product that was truncated at launch.

I was also at Google IO where they first announced and demonstrated Google TV. I remember at the time thinking that this product had potential but that it also had a good deal of hurdles to overcome. The experience from the first Google TV reminded me of many experiences I had with early products in the digital media adapter segment. Many of the products worked to a degree but did not necessarily nail the overall experience.

In fact i’m yet to see a product in the connected TV / Smart TV sector that nails all that a connected TV should be. If I was to nail down what I feel the biggest hindrance to connected TV moving forward it’s Hollywood.

I worked and consulted with the entertainment industry very shortly but long enough to understand how hard it is to work with Hollywood. Ask anyone who has been serious about looking into connected TV solutions and you hear constantly that lack of content is the biggest missing piece.

We are yet to see an offering in the connected TV space that has the depth and breadth of content as our cable or satellite service provider. The main reason for this is because they pay Hollywood and the network studios a massive sum of money to have the rights to broadcast their content.

Generally speaking the Internet is not yet a fully functional substitute for a cable or satellite service provider. Some consumers depend less on things like real time news and sports and can therefore come closer to being able to replace their service providers. Others have no problem waiting days, weeks or month’s to watch their favorite TV shows after they have aired. In some cases you can have your programming needs met from the Internet. Those situations however are the minority not the majority.

For the technology industry to bring to market a full connected TV solution that can replace a TV programming service provider is going to require the help from Hollywood.

For more interesting reading on the subject check out Jared Newman’s article at Techland called “How Google TV Can be Saved.”

Tech + Media – The Honeymoon Between GoogleTV and Logitech Ends, but the Marriage Continues

The marriage of tech and media is definitely a rocky one at times, and Web TV is no exception.  Despite all promises, like all relationships things are always evolving between tech and media – and sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t. The latest tech / media couple in trouble appears to be Logitech and Google.  With the rocky start to Google TV (the biggest player in Web TV so far), Logitech is also hung up in every way possible. Why?  They supply the tech end of Google TV with the Revue Google TV set-top box.

Google TV is a pretty cool product – and quite possibly the future of ALL television – or at least a glimpse of it, providing access to live TV, on-demand programming, recorded shows, pay TV, online video clips and, of course, the web.

Will Web TV replace regular TV any time soon? Probably not.  But don’t count Google (or Logitech) out of the running.  Someone’s going to nab the real estate on Web TV, and for their part, Logitech is willing to continue the union.  In fact, they’re lowering the price to make the hardware accessible to almost anybody.

Losing the market share before one is really created is obviously not an outcome that Logitech will go for. In fact Logitech’s Chairman, Guerrino De Luca, was quoted this week as saying:  “There was a significant gap between our price and the value perceived by the consumer.”

Market share is the moral of the story for both the data and the technology side of the equation right now.  Any day now Google TV should be accessible by Android, and with 130 million users, that is a big deal. For now, Logitech has chosen to bite the revenue bullet and get more customers.  That means a lower price in order to boost the real estate for Google.

It’s hard to imagine Apple or Sony supporting the music industry by lowering the price of hardware to encourage market participation, but if this is an indication of what might work, then Blu-Ray may actually still stand a chance.